It might have been a triumphant Sergey Kovalev in the ring on Saturday night but it was another eastern European fighter with a greater cause to celebrate.
From being potentially the most avoided man in boxing, Gennady Golovkin’s next 12 months are suddenly looking quite exciting.
Somewhere around the time Kovalev was busy rearranging Nadjib Mohammedi’s face, it was announced that a deal had been struck for Golovkin to face Canada’s David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden on October 17.
It’s a fight that has already got the boxing world abuzz with it pitting two of the sport’s most destructive, aggressive and fan-friendly fighters.
Both Golovkin and Lemieux can deliver stunning one punch knockouts and only look to fight on the front foot. Putting them together guarantees fireworks – 61 of their combined 69 fights have ended with a KO victory.
The 33-year-old Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) has knocked out 20 opponents on the bounce and owns the WBA and IBO middleweight titles.
The 26-year-old Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs) dropped Hassan N’Dam four times in June on his way to a unanimous decision and picking up the IBF belt.
Golovkin has long talked about unifying the division and now he has the chance to add one more strap to his collection.
Golovkin vs Lemieux is going to be a great fight. And we get to see how GGG can do as his own PPV headliner.
— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) July 27, 2015
A confident Lemieux has other ideas, however, and summed up why fight fans are so thrilled when he said: “This is the fight that all the fans and the world wants to see. I hope and expect this will be the best fight of the last five years. There will be blood. It’s going to be exciting.”
Aside from unifying a big chunk of the 160lb division, this bout is significant for both men for various other reasons. For one, it will be the first time either has headlined a pay-per-view card in the US.
And with the WBC recently awarding Golovkin their ‘interim’ title, whoever triumphs will emerge as mandatory challenger to the winner between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and full WBC champ Miguel Cotto, who are expected to announce a date for their fight in the coming days.
The good news didn’t stop there for Golovkin, though, as evidence of Andre Ward’s eagerness to face him arrived by way of Kovalev’s manager, Kathy Duva.
Duva said they had approached Ward about making a fight with Russia’s light-heavyweight world champion, but the team of the super middleweight king Ward had rebuffed them, saying they were focused on building towards a fight with Golovkin.
That logic adds up. Ward likes to give himself every possible physical advantage – ask Chad Dawson – and he would have none against Kovalev. With the paydays being comparable, you can be sure he’d rather face the smaller man in Triple G.
And while Golovkin’s prospects suddenly look a lot brighter, sadly, it’s not such positive news for Kovalev, with ‘Krusher’ struggling badly for opponents.
— Boxing News 24 (@boxingnews24) July 26, 2015
That led to him defending his three versions of the 175lb title against a hopelessly overmatched Mohammedi, who was absolutely destroyed inside three rounds.
The middleweight division finally looks to be coming together with some meaningful bouts but the situation at light heavyweight remains depressing.
Kovalev holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles; Adonis Stevenson has the WBC crown. One fight would unify the division but it won’t happen as Kovalev has an exclusive contract with HBO, while Stevenson is with Al Haymon’s PBC brand. The two sides aren’t doing business.
Kovalev’s fellow Russian, Artur Beterbiev – a man who beat him in the amateurs – has also been talked about but, again, he is with Haymon. Kovalev is expected back in action on November 28 in a Moscow homecoming. It could be quite a short one if it’s just another Mohammedi across the ring.
Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony plan to attend the upcoming USA Basketball minicamp in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. Anthony, however, isn’t expected to take part in any on-court activities as he’s still recovering from a knee surgery in February which ended his season.
A perfectly timed photo of Blake Griffin and Paul Gasol smiling at the camera pic.twitter.com/YUxg7C8sBs
— Sports Pics (@AmazingSprtsPic) July 26, 2015
The New York Knicks frontman will be joined by Griffin, as well as four members from the NBA champion Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, according to ESPN.
Last summer saw a number of big names withdraw from USAB in the lead-up to the FIBA World Cup, including Griffin who pulled out due to a back fracture a week before Paul George suffered his gruesome leg injury during a team scrimmage in August.
While this summer’s minicamp runs from August 11-13 with an intrasquad scrimmage on the final day, the event has been touted as more of a summit of the 34 players in the USAB player pool than a serious competition.
Nevertheless, the minicamp is mandatory for players that want to be on the team’s roster for Rio next year.
“I think it’s important for those who want to continue with us and be under consideration for ’16 to be with us in Las Vegas for a couple days,” USAB managing director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.
“It’s going to be low key. Light workouts, no contact and then play an all-star game. No concern about competitiveness. We’re not evaluating anyone.”
It is regarded as the routine that defines their magnificent careers on ice and earned them gold Olympic medals in Sarajevo in 1984.
British pair Christopher Dean, who turns 57 today, and Jayne Torvill entered the record books for their passionate and moving dance to Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.
The pair became the highest scoring figure skaters of all time (for a single programme) receiving twelve perfect 6.0s and six 5.9s which included artistic impression scores of 6.0 from every judge.
Both are from Nottingham, England, where the local National Ice Centre is accessed through a public area known as Bolero Square, in honour of the pair’s Olympic achievements.
They turned professional following their 1984 triumph, regaining amateur status briefly ten years later to add Olympic bronze to their gold.
1975: Alex Rodriguez (below), infielder for the New York Yankees and considered one of the greatest ever (40).
1987: Marek Hamsik, attacking midfielder and captain for Serie A side Napoli and Slovakia (28). 1988: Ryan Tannehill, American football quarterback for the Miami Dolphins (27).
1993: Max Power, midfielder for League One side Wigan after spending 13 years with Tranmere Rovers (22).