When we asked for the predictions of North East boxing’s prominent figures (and ones we knew were likely to respond) we knew asking one man was a risk. Peep Magazine frontman, Phil Lindsay, is rarely lost for words. While he was the last to reply, it was certainly worth the wait. So much so that we had no choice but to publish his opinions as a separate article entirely. They have published some of our pieces on their fantastic online magazine so it was great to be able to return the favour. Continue reading to hear his unedited views on the biggest fight of the new boxing season.
“When this fight was first made, I had the same disbelief as I had with the Canelo v Khan match up. Although in some ways it is not so much a mismatch, the similarities are still there and the smart money is obviously on Golovkin catching up to Brook eventually. Brook may not have the same fragility around the chin, however Golovkin’s freakish power brings the two fights back to more of a parallel.
In the previous ‘mismatch’ the game plan was for Khan to stay on the outside and use his speed, avoiding shots as a top priority. They hoped his speed would be decisive and that he could nice a points win. Almost all of Golovkin’s opponents have had the same game plan and it has never worked. If Brook was to employ the same tactic, I don’t give him any chance.
Golovkin is my favourite current fighter and unlike many GGG fans it is not his spectacular knockouts that draw me to him. Of course, they are a great bonus but boxing is all about effective pressure, for me and Golovkin is the best in the business at imposing his pressure on opponents. I’m sure many of his previous victims have gone in there with lofty ambitions of standing their ground but it is never long before they find themselves moving back and from that point on, they are under constant pressure and their own shots have less devil in them and from then on things tend to run to script.
There are similarities between Canelo v Khan but there are also some notable differences. Khan’s weight at 155 was similar to Nathan Cleverly when he fought at cruiserweight. They both bulked up but neither had the strength at the weight. Brook at 160 is a genuine physical specimen and although he is moving up 2 divisions, realistically it’s more like 1 division as he is a light middleweight who manages to boil himself down to welter.
One factor Khan was missing in his ambitious challenge was punch power. Brook has genuine power in both hands and also has one of the stiffest jabs in the business. People talk about Golovkin as a beast but he is far from a big middleweight. Both Golovkin and Brook get their power from excellent technique and for this reason it is reasonable to assume that Brook will bring decent power up to middleweight. Golovkin has a superb chin but no man is indestructible and although Golovkin has justified confidence in his punch resistance, he gave David Lemieux the respect his record deserved. If Brook can show his power and timing in the early rounds, like Frampton did against Santa Cruz, then that could give Golovkin more to think about on the way in and educated boxing fans know that is the key to beating a bully.
Boxing snobs are scoffing at anyone who gives Brook a chance but this is the fight game and there are so many factors that can play a part in the outcome. Brook goes in there knowing it’s the fight of his life so even when he feels Golovkin’s power it won’t be a surprise. If Brook has the right mentality, conditioning and confidence as well as the ability to keep his excellent boxing together, then how does Golovkin react when Brook is still in there looking strong at the halfway point?
Neither man is lightning quick. They both have world class timing and although Brook has demonstrated the better defence in his pro career, a lot of that is down to Golovkin’s willingness to trade and take a shot in order to get his own off. Golovkin has showed good evasive skills when he has decided to. You could say that neither of them are prolific inside fighters. Both men tend to keep their opponents at range and dominate from the outside. People are saying Brook has no chance of taking Golovkin’s power but when you look back at Brook’s career, he hasn’t taken many shots when fighting against faster men. Who is to say Golovkin is guaranteed to land?
Like most world level fights, this one is going to come down to game plans and who can execute theirs the best. Both men have managed to dominate all of their previous opponents, Golovkin more convincingly. Golovkin will go in there and do what Golovkin does. The way the fight pans out is all down to Dominic Ingle’s game plan. From what I’ve heard in the build up, Ingle seems to have the right idea. He knows Brook can’t go back in straight lines and he also can’t sty on the ropes. Unlike Canelo v Khan, Ingle will send Brook in there to hurt Golovkin. I’m not talking taking a gamble and throwing bombs but Brook will not be looking to throw the type of fending-off punches that Amir Khan threw against Alvarez.
Brook will look to box like he normally does and hold his ground with the weight on the back foot ready for powerful counters. He will move and look to use angles but when he throws his shots, Brook will have hurtful intent in them the key to his survival is getting the balance right and still having his defensive game on point at all times. The only boxer I have seen giving Golovkin trouble is Kassim Ouma. In that fight Ouma stood his ground but did so cleverly, landing his faster shots on the inside and smothering a lot of Golovkin’s work. He kept changing the angles and Golovkin was visibly frustrated at times. Golovkin’s incredible punch output eventually wore Ouma down in the 10th round but it showed that there is a way to have success against Golovkin and if you are to use this as a game plan, you need excellent timing, footwork and speed. Brook has all three.
Despite being able to see success for Brook in the fight with those tactics, especially with him being a more spiteful puncher than Ouma, Golovkin is a much more refined boxer now and he rarely wastes punches like he did back in 2011 when he fought Ouma. Watching that fight I could see where Golovkin should have been targeting the body more and I think that is something he is going to do against Brook. I think Brook will land more shots in the early rounds and will box well but even if Golovkin is losing the first few sessions he will be making Brook work all of the time and if he focuses on the body then it’s only a matter of time before any man’s body will start breaking up. Then goes the focus from defending up top and it just takes one opening for Golovkin to finish proceedings.
As a devil’s advocate, I will say that I expect Brook to hit Golovkin harder than he has ever been hit in a pro ring. Some may scoff at that but I refer back to where both men get their power from their superb technique. Golovkin may have been in with bigger punchers but none of them were able to connect with their best shots. If Brook goes in there with belief and retains it when the bell goes, then his timing and technique is enough to deliver the shot to KO anyone at middleweight, given the right opening.
Many have tipped Golovkin to win early and if he lands clean, then that’s possible with any fighter. I expect a fairly cagey opening from both men as they battle for early dominance on the outside. If Brook can counter smartly and hold the inside of the ring, then it’s going to be a great fight to watch for as long as it lasts. Canelo v Khan was very predictable, this one not so much. The end outcome may still be the most likely outcome but I believe we will get there via a different journey and a much more exciting and entertaining spectacle is on the cards. Khan had next to zero chance but Brook has a squeak and sometimes in boxing, that’s all some fighters need. I could go into a lot more detail but I decided to make this a short one. I never give a 100% prediction before the weigh in but at this stage I would expect a late stoppage from Golovkin between rounds 9-12. I will be checking out the odds for GGG on points because some part of me believes that Brook has the smarts and the unbeaten mentality to be able to survive in there til the death and he could still have enough danger in him to keep Golovkin honest.
Enjoy the fight and one last shout out to all the keyboard warriors out there. Anyone who criticises any of these men for doing what they do is an absolute muppet and needs to have a look at themselves in the mirror. It may be the most corrupt sport in the world but it’s also the best. These men put so much on the line and make so many sacrifices. You don’t have to respect the man but respect the fighter. Phil Lindsay out….”