Gennady Golovkin solidified his reputation as the sport’s most dangerous puncher while Nicholas Walters made an impressive introduction to U.S. fight fans and also showed that his fists carry significant impact.
The established champion and emerging newcomer scored impressive knockout victories in their respective title fights late Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Golovkin barely broke a sweat, knocking out Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio in two rounds to retain his multiple middleweight belts. The native of Kazakhstan also extended two impressive streaks. In addition to his 10th consecutive successful title defense, Golovkin now has knocked out his last 18 opponents.
“I like fighting, I don’t like dancing,” Golovkin said.
Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) applied immediate pressure on Rubio, who failed to make the 160-pound weight limit the day before the fight and re-hydrated to 181 pounds the day of the bout. Despite Rubio’s larger frame, Golovkin immediately pressured his challenger with left hooks and straight rights to the head.
Early in the second, Golovkin tagged Rubio (59-7-1) with a left hook to the head and right uppercut. Golovkin followed with additional combinations to the head and eventually floored Rubio with a left hook to the top of the head.
It appeared as if Rubio was going to remain on the canvas for the duration of referee Jack Reiss’ count. Rubio eventually made an effort to reach his feet but Reiss already had reached 10, ending the bout at 1:19 of the round.
“He’s a good fighter, I respect him,” Golovkin said of Rubio. “I think he could have gotten up.”
With a growing fan base, thanks to his knockout wins, Golovkin, 32, now yearns for the opportunity to cross into pay-per-view events. Golovkin singled out Miguel Cotto, an established pay-per-view performer and recently crowned middleweight champion for a title unification match.
“I have three belts, I want to fight everybody,” Golovkin said. “Next year I want to fight great champions - first Miguel Cotto.”
The first established champion Walters fought was among the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters as recently as two years ago. But Nonito Donaire’s previous standing and championship pedigree would not prove sufficient in Walters’ breakout performance.
A native of Jamaica, Walters established the pace early with a lead left jab to the head. Walters experienced a brief scare late in the second round after Donaire staggered him with a left hook to the head right before the bell to end the round.
Walters (25-0, 21 KOs) recovered and continued out-pointing Donaire with left jabs and rights to the head that opened cuts above Donaire’s eyes. Walters also was effective with body shots.
Late in the sixth, Walters slipped a left to the head and countered with a right to the side of the head that sent Donaire (33-3) to the canvas. A dazed Donaire staggered to reach his feet before the 10-count but referee Raul Caiz Jr. spared him from additional harm and stopped the bout at 2:59 of the round.
With the victory Walters, 28, captured the WBA featherweight belt.
“I invited him to me,” Walters said of his fight-finishing punch. “I got away from the shot and then I countered.
“We worked hard for this victory. Knowing we were fighting Donaire, we thought it was going to be a tough work because he’s a super-super great boxer, a great champion.”
A world champion in five weight classes, Donaire, 31, praised Walters’ dominance and will analyze whether he will continue his career.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Walters,” Donaire said. “I was at my best. I’ve never trained this hard. I knew exactly what kind of punching power and the person that he is inside the ring. He came out as tough as I thought he would be.
“He overwhelmed me and knocked the [expletive] out of me. No matter what I did, I succumbed to his size and power and overwhelming aura inside that ring.”
▪ Former super-middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez won a lopsided unanimous decision over Miami resident and Haiti native Azea Augustama on the undercard of Saturday night’s fight. Rodriguez (25-1) frustrated Augustama (17-2) with left jabs and rights to the head and combinations to the body throughout the 10-round light-heavyweight match. Two judges scored the bout for Rodriguez, 100-90 and the third also had him winning, 99-91.
▪ Timothy Bradley will make his first ring appearance since losing a rematch against Manny Pacquiao in April. Bradley will face Argentina’s Diego Chaves Dec. 13 in Las Vegas.
Bradley won a disputed split decision against Pacquiao for a welterweight title in their first bout two years ago. The former junior-welterweight titleholder made two successful 147-pound defenses before Pacquiao avenged the loss to Bradley with a unanimous decision.
Friday (11:30 p.m., Telemundo-Ch. 51): Edwin Rodriguez vs. Ricardo Rodriguez, 10, junior bantamweights.