With cruel, calculating efficiency, Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin ravaged Poland’s Grzegorz Proksa en route to a fifth round TKO in their middleweight bout at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Golovkin (24-0, 21KO), was originally slated to face Dmitry Pirog in a much-anticipated rumble for validation by American audiences. When Pirog withdrew due to injury, Proksa (28-2, 21KO), signed up for what proved to be a courageous but painful night’s work.
The first round began with Proksa firing southpaw jabs, hands at his waist, while exploiting a foot speed advantage to remain barely beyond Golovkin’s fists. Golovkin spent much of the round measuring both distance and his opponent’s attack, looking to throw counter left hooks over Proksa’s jab. With about thirty seconds remaining in the round, Golovkin delivered a hurtful counter left hook as Proksa holstered his jab. Golovkin followed up with an assault that sent his foe to the canvas. Proksa found his feet at the count of eight, and after gesturing unconvincingly to referee Charlie Fitch that he had slipped, established a strong enough dialogue between his brain and legs to survive the remainder of the round. Golovkin, seemingly aware of Proksa’s rate of recovery, and comfortable in the knowledge that he could revisit such damage upon him, stayed measured in his pursuit and was unable to end matters prior to the bell.
Toeing the line for the second round, Proksa increased the diversity in his unconventional attack. Translating superior hand speed into success with his jab, lead lefts, and uppercuts, Proksa looked to fight his way back into the contest. In a moment of sober commentary, Kellerman correctly observed that Golovkin was hardly difficult to hit. Proksa landed cleanly on his opponent, but for a fighter who had stopped thirteen of his previous fourteen opponents, the product of those scoring blows was surprisingly meager. This may be a commentary on his level of opposition; but it is more likely that the discouraging prospects of Golovkin’s counter volleys dissuaded Proksa from loading up, and that the Russian fighter—who routinely spars with much larger men—takes a good shot. Regardless of the explanation, Golovkin pursued Proksa confidently, ever ready to unleash something evil.
After a relatively slow third, the fourth frame saw a faster tempo have disastrous consequences for Proksa. The fighters took turns bouncing shots off each other’s faces before Golovkin unleashed a brutal assault—bookended by a left hook to the body and a right hand to the head—that had Proksa staring up at the lights. Willing himself to his feet by the count of six, Proksa employed a combination of crowding, holding, and desperate punching to survive the round.
Golovkin steamrolled Proksa in round five, mauling him along the ropes before landing two whipping right hooks (an unusual staple in his arsenal) and a left hook that left his battered foe face down on the canvas. Proksa again found a way to his feet, but Fitch wisely saved him from his own remarkable bravery. The official time of the stoppage was 1:11 of the fifth round.
In the aftermath, a lustful Max Kellerman turned the hyperbole to eleven, applauding Golovkin for obliterating a destroyer of world-class fighters. Proksa has a few recognizable names on his ledger, with the rest just as likely to appear on Chichikov’s list of dead souls. But he was game and skillful, if woefully outgunned by the superior fighter. Why not just say that? Of course, hyperbole is nothing for a network that readily combines eye of newt and toe of frog in the creation of their stars.
Golovkin expressed a willingness to face anyone fighting between 154 and 168 pounds. He could find his potential opposition responds with less avidity.