Friday Night Fights: Golovkin vs. Szeremeta
By Robert Ecksel on December 16, 2020
“GGG is a great champion, one of the best in history, but it is time for a replacement.”
“You always say I’ll quit when I start to slide, and then one morning you wake up and you’ve done slid.”—Sugar Ray Robinson
On Friday, December 18, in a fight streamed live in the US and Canada on DAZN from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs), the IBF/IBO middleweight champion from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, will defend his title against undefeated Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs), his IBF mandatory from Bialystok, Poland.
Golovkin is 38 years old and on the downside of his career. He may no longer have what it takes to defeat elite fighters at 160. But he’s a fighter first and foremost and can dig deep when it’s required. And if he defeats Szeremeta, as expected, Triple G will break the record for most middleweight title defenses he currently shares with Bernard Hopkins.
“It’s difficult to say if I’m in my prime or not, but it is very important because it’s a record-breaking defense,” said Golovkin at the final pre-fight presser. “It’s very exciting for any athlete to set a new record. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 21st defense or some other number. It’s the fact that you’re setting a record is something that pleases you.”
Szeremeta is younger than Golovkin. He is faster than Golovkin and may be a better boxer. But with only 5 KOs in 21 fights, he may lack the needed firepower to keep Triple G off him.
“GGG is a great champion, one of the best in history,” he said, “but it is time for a replacement. Thank you for the great chance. I must take my opportunity to be the first world middleweight champion from Poland.”
Golovkin peaked six years ago, but especially since his two fights with Canelo Alvarez in 2017 and ‘18, the superlatives used to describe him have decreased in number and volume.
“We know we cannot cheat time, and we know his prime is behind him,” said Szeremeta, “but he’s still an extremely dangerous fighter and I have to remember this all the time.
“I don’t care what people say. I’m prepared for the best version of Golovkin.
“There is no pressure on me. I’m just going into the ring to beat him.”
Golovkin is fighting Friday. Canelo is fighting Saturday. Both fights are on DAZN. It’s possible that the two men will fight a third time. But it’s also possible that the scheduling is a tease.
“All that matters is Friday night with Kamil Szeremeta,” said Triple G. “In terms of the selection of the opponent, when you’re a champion, you have to make mandatory defenses.”
So what about another fight with Canelo, who seems disinclined to fight Golovkin another time.
“Who knows what the future holds?” said Eddie Hearn provocatively. “Szeremeta is the mandatory defense, he’s an undefeated fighter, he’s a very good fighter ready for the challenge, and he’s very hungry.
“The Canelo stuff, that’s the future. What matters is Friday night, defend his title, make a record-breaking defense, and get business taken care of.”