Gennady’s sickening hook to the liver takes the fight right out of Matthew Macklin
Kazakh looks like he could claim many more titles
Matthew Macklin: his future has to be plotted all over again after his title fight with Gennady Golovkin ended in a third-round knock-out defeat. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
The punch that sent Matthew Macklin crashing to the canvas in the third round of his third middleweight title fight is destined to go down as a reference point in modern boxing. Gennady Golovkin’s precise and masked left hook to the liver caught the Birmingham-Irishman unawares and although it took a split second for the acute pain to register, it was clear his ambition of relieving the Kazakh of his WBA/IBO crown was gone.
Golovkin’s putative opponents – and nobody of note is clamouring to get into the ring with him – must have winced as they watched Macklin fold.
In a long career, Macklin had defined himself through his courage and his ability to brawl. But he had no answer to Golovkin’s relentless and accurate punching and the pressure began to tell on his features from the opening minute of the first round.
After spending a couple of minutes winded on the canvas, Macklin was back on his feet, a cut adorning his right eye but the happy-go-lucky-grin intact as he conceded Golovkin had the game to match the hype and paid tribute to the body shot which had sent him reeling.
“It’s one of my favourites so I was probably due one,” he told the crowd at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, the fans torn between appreciation of the extraordinary punch which had ended the fight and disappointment that the main event was over so quickly.
Afterwards, Macklin spent several hours in hospital, during which his camp had time to ponder his future.
“He’s certainly broken hearted,” admitted promoter Brian Peters. “He’s a proud warrior and he’s had a few heroic performances. That’s what he’s known for and that’s why HBO put their hands deep into their pockets.
“What they were trying to do was see how really good Golovkin really is, and he is very good. You’re talking about a guy who could well beat Andre Ward, pound-for-pound and [Floyd] Mayweather stuff.
“Just the way he cut off the ring, Matthew just said he was so strong, he couldn’t keep him off. I suppose the sickening part is Matthew never really got into it.
“Even when he traded with him, he didn’t really catch him. There was a little bit of an exchange there but he didn’t really catch him at all and that’s probably what’s more sickening and more heartbreaking. He didn’t get to empty his tank.
“He’s a great fighter, best of luck to him, and a gentleman. A credit – there was a couple of times in the ring where he brought gentleman-ship to new extremes.”
And it is true Golovkin elected to stand off after he caught Macklin with a glancing head shot which caused him to stumble against the ropes.