Gennady Golovkin, denied Canelo rematch, destroys Martirosyan in two

The Kazakh knockout artist, denied his rematch with Canelo lvarez, instead knocked out Vanes Martirosyan in second round on Saturday night

With or without Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, Gennady Golovkin put on a show on Cinco de Mayo.

The 36-year-old unified middleweight champion finished late-replacement challenger Vanes Martirosyan, securing his 20th middleweight title defense by khockout, matching Bernard Hopkins defense record at 1:53 of the second round.

Martirosyan let his hands go from the opening bell, using his length to score stiff jabs that quickly reddened Golovkin’s face. The champion was willing to stand and trade, knowing his power would be there when he needed it. Then the bell sounded for round two and GGG unleashed a torrent of punches.

The finish was explosive, as GGG pinned Martirosyan against the ropes and unleashed a stream of power punches that snapped back his challenger’s head before he crashed to the canvas and referee Jack Reiss counted him out at 10.

“Second round is all business,” Golovkin said in front of 7,837 fans who watched the Kazakh fighter for the first time at the StubHub Center since 2014.

Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) was originally scheduled to rematch Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a 5 March blockbuster.

Their first bout, a heavily debated draw last September, marked the first time in Golvkin’s career that he left the ring without a win. However, it did big business, selling 1.3m pay-per-views and pulling a live gate of $27m, the third largest in boxing history, and positioned GGG as one of boxing’s biggest stars.

Following two failed drug tests for clenbuterol, a banned substance, Canelo was pulled from the fight. The Nevada state athletic commission, which had jurisdiction over the contest, suspended Alvarez until 17 August, clearing the way for a September rematch.

“I’m ready any time,” the champion said when asked if he hoped to fight Alvarez next. “I”m still champion of the world. Nine years.I have 11 belts. Come take my belts now.”

Martirosyan (36-4-1) stepped into the ring with GGG on less than three week’s notice, agreeing to fight Golovkin after Irish middleweight Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan passed on the opportunity in favor of keeping a 4 May contest with Puerto Rico’s Berlin Abreu in Los Angeles, which he won without any trouble.

After the fact, the 32-year-old Aremenian-American boxer, who had been out of the ring for two years after losing a 154lb world title fight to Erislandy Lara, called Golovkin the hardest puncher he has faced. He is hardly alone on the list of Golovkin opponents to have felt this.

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