Golovkin vs Stevens: Will tasteless taunts tether and topple GGG?Written by Leroy Cleveland
Golovkin vs Stevens Time: 10 PM ET
Date: Saturday, Nov. 2
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Mind Games Galore
Is Curtis Stevens in way over his head?
He's been talking a titalwave of smack and even staged a mock 'GGG' funeral setting for Golovkin, equipped with a coffin and fake body parts.
The Kazakhstan native is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous punchers in the sport as only 3 of 27 opponents have survived the distance.
And, apparently, the usually unassuming, happy-go-lucky fighter was outraged and insulted by Stevens' taunts and vowed to punish Curtis in the ring.
Conventional wisdom says it may have been a bad idea to get 'under the skin' of Golovkin before the bout; But given Gennady's murderous style, does Stevens really have much to lose?
Not knowing any better, one would assume each of Golovkin's last four opponents insulted Gennady and his entire family, based on Gennady's relentlessness, thunderous punching and proficient dismantling of each foe.
Insults or no insults, Golovkin's plan is - and always was - to punish Stevens.
If Stevens and GGG were as warm and respectful towards each other as Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov (pre-fight) a few weeks ago, would it change Gennady's demeanor in the ring?
Rest-assured, it certainly didn't alter Provodnikov's ferocity.
Did Stevens have anything to lose by enraging Golovkin?
Obviously, Curtis' graveyard antics insulted some fans who, and rightfully so, believed it was in poor taste given the violent nature of the sport.
But Stevens is focused on winning the WBA Title, not a popularity contest.
GGG has been so patient and surgical in his battles, unnerving him prior to the bout was probably a wise move. Maybe - just maybe - Golovkin will snap in the ring and allow his emotions to get the better of him.
If you're Team Stevens, you're hoping Golovkin enters the ring with a personal vendetta.
Keep in mind, a fighter named Manny Pacquiao also entered the ring with a personal score to settle against Juan Manuel Marquez 11 months ago. Hell-bent on unleashing fury on his opponent, PacMan became a victim of his own aggression and was knocked out.
There is only one way Stevens' taunting will backfire.
If Golovkin is a blood-thirsty gentleman - and he may very well be - he'll look to assert his dominance early and carry Stevens for a few rounds, inflicting punishment without going for the knockout right away. Fighters do this on occasion, delaying the inevitable knockout in order to humiliate and physically torment their opponent as much as possible to exact revenge for pre-fight comments and/or actions. However, there's always a risk when carrying an opponent, especially when his hands are as heavy as Stevens.'
Will Gennady go for the early KO if given the opportunity or will he take his chances and opt to punish Curtis a bit longer?
Golovkin has almost every conceivable advantage heading into this bout, including size, overall experience, technique, amateur pedigree and punching power.