While we strive to be as well-informed, immersed, and knowledgeable as possible, it is still no substitute to actually being a fighter.
Therefore we are happy to introduce our readers to a special new guest columnist Brian ‘The 5 Point Pundit’ Daly. A former Senior College Champion, Brian has huge experience at all levels of boxing, including fighting, coaching, refereeing, judging, and even ring announcing, affording him a unique perspective.
This week Brian takes a look at the recent Gennady Golovkin v Kell Brook fight from each viewpoint.
Golovkin: The Kazakh didn’t find two major things. First, his usual rhythm was upset, due to Brook’s boxing skills. Golovkin’s undeniable power is only as good as his ability to time the shot, and timing requires you to set a rhythm, which takes time.
Secondly he didn’t find his big shots, less due to Brook and more due to his slightly mixed tactics of looking for big shots without finding his range first. There were many times GGG was within range and didn’t unload, and many times he was out of range and tried to unload. So this means it was less due to Brook and more due to Golovkin, making it an unforced error.
GGG was looking for big shots, and wanted a brawl at the same time and these two things actually contradict each other. There’s a smart way to get a brawl going, and this isn’t it. You box your way into a brawl. You don’t start a brawl by looking for one big punch. He should have put together some combinations to close the distance bit by bit and only then begin brawling, and throwing his big shots, once he was within range and the exchange was ongoing.
By trying to start a brawl with one big shot, GGG was putting the cart before the horse. I wouldn’t say Golovkin got his tactics wrong, he just delivered them in the wrong order.
Brook: Was very clever, but not very dominant. Even though he was dominating the score cards, he could have done more to dominate in terms of ring craft. For example, there was a missed opportunity for Brook to dominate by setting pace. Dominating the pace doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the pace. Even if you are slowing the pace, you are in charge. A slower pace every so often, during each round, would have suited Brook’s boxing skills and speed, and frustrated GGG even more as he was looking for a brawl. Then once the pace was increased, it wouldn’t matter as Brook was more than able for that anyway.
If Brook continued to only dominate in terms of points, he wouldn’t have lasted 12 rounds. Especially not with a damaged eye socket. So he should have added more areas of domination to the fight. He had the option to set the pace once he was ahead on points, but didn’t take it.
Brook wasn’t smart about his injury which he kept touching. This took his mind off the job at hand. And focuses Golovkin’s mind on his weak point. If you touch an injury consistently for 3 rounds, you are asking to get stopped.
When a fighter comes back to your corner, you have to convey a lot of information to them as quickly as possible. You haven’t got time for waffle. So you break it down into what your boxer needs to START, STOP, and KEEP doing. The boxer knows what to expect before they get to the corner, and you’ll know what to say.
Start – Moving his head. A serious weakness in GGG, more apparent here than anywhere before. Start putting together combinations to change the fight from a boxing match, which he was losing, into a fight which he could win.
Stop – Looking for one big punch, until the range is found, or the brawl has started.
Keep – Unloading when Brook is in close range, against the ropes or he’s in a corner, those are risks worth taking.
Start – Slowing the pace, but only if he’s still winning on score cards. Start feinting, not only with punches, but with footwork too. Pretend to move one way, then move the other. This will start to create better angles, now that GGG is not finding his range. These angles will increase Brooks power and speed. Start attacking in 2 phases. Once one combination has landed, take a step to your left, pull your right eye injury further away from GGG, and throw again.
Stop – Touching your injury. Every time Brook pawed at his swollen eye, it reminded the referee, the judges, his coach and worst of all, Golovkin, that he was suffering.
Keep – Using that jab to disrupt Golovkin’s range and timing. Keep letting him know you’re there with your own power shots.
Another item in terms of coaching, a small criticism, but important because safety is involved. Dominic Ingle was fully right to throw in that towel. But, if he was genuinely concerned about his boxers safety, then waving the towel, while the referee has his back turned isn’t good enough.
If he was a coach in my club, I’d have a quick word, just to make sure of it next time. I know the emotion of throwing in a towel, and it’s always done with an element of hesitation, because you know your boxer won’t be happy. But you can’t hesitate where safety is concerned. It’s called “throwing in the towel”, not “waving the towel behind the ref’s back.”
If the towel hadn’t been thrown in, the fight was less than 20 seconds from being stopped anyway. Put yourself in the referee’s shoes. It’s round 5. Golovkin has knocked out 22 people in a row. Brook has been touching his swollen eye socket consistently for 3 rounds. Golovkin has landed 8-10 shots, around half of them landing, Brook is against the ropes, hands down, one hand even resting on the ropes for a moment, which is against the rules, he’s not throwing any shots in return. Your main concern is safety. If that towel wasn’t thrown and Golovkin landed 4-5 more shots, any referee would have stopped it. The towel came a moment before the stoppage.
The referee Marlon Wright, did a good job. He only interrupted the action when fully necessary like when heads were too close. Other than that, he called break and let the action flow. Brook did a small bit of holding, not as much as some people are saying, and certainly nothing to warrant too much attention from the referee.
Very straight forward fight. Easy for most boxing fans to read. Not much to say.
Golovkin: Slightly more aggressive, even if his big shots weren’t landing it still counts for something in terms of scoring.
Brook: Ahead on all cards. Ahead on my card.
Overall, a fight like this, with a serious injury so early, rarely gets left to the judges to decide.
I watched the fight back twice, once with the commentary on, once with it off.
Over the top commentating from Sky. For example in round 1, both boxers were getting settled, then you hear a commentator excitedly saying “When was the last time Golovkin was backed up?” That’s the sound of someone reaching, and stretching the facts. Golovkin did back up in that exchange, but every fight he’s been in, he’s been backed up momentarily, it was nothing new.
I understand the commentator is there to make the fight interesting and entertaining, but there were enough truly entertaining parts to this fight that didn’t need any exaggeration, so the consistent exaggeration was unnecessary, and some might even say lazy.
The biggest talking point in terms of commentating wasn’t mentioned in the footage I watched, or the interviews afterwards. It’s something that’s obvious to true boxing fans, Kell Brook, the welter, is now one of the best middleweights in the world. Brook could more than hold his own against any middleweight that Golovkin has faced. And that’s very exciting for the middleweight division and for fight fans.