Gennady Golovkin was born in Kazakhstan, lives in Germany and would love to make New York his boxing home. Well, he made quite an impression Saturday night at Madison Square Garden's Theater by turning back the challenge of Brooklyn's Curtis Stevens.
Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) dominated the game Stevens (25-4, 13 KOs), defending his WBA middleweight title with a TKO at the end of Round 8. Stevens' corner asked referee Harvey Dock to stop it after Stevens withered under a blistering attack near the end of the round.
"I graded myself a 10," Golovkin said after the fight. "The punches I threw are the ones we work at in the gym. I am ready to fight anyone. I want to fight Sergio Martinez next."
Golovkin, 31, dropped Stevens in the center of the ring with a perfect left hook late in Round 2. Stevens was able to reach his feet and managed to weather the storm but was never really in the fight. Golovkin was cruelly efficient in his attack, stalking Stevens with his jab and then digging left hooks to the body.
The pro-Golovkin crowd chanted "Kazakhstan" throughout each of the first four rounds. The announced attendance was 4,618, two seats short of a sellout.
Stevens, 28, fought his way out of a corner at the close of Round 4 for the best action of the fight. Then a solid left hook by Stevens in Round 5 seemed to momentarily stun Golovkin, which drew chants of "USA" from his Brooklyn following. But the champion finished the round by forcing Stevens to the ropes with his jab.
After the early knockdown, Golovkin never relented, calmly following Stevens around the ring and dissecting him with his wide arsenal of punches.
"New York is the capital of the world," said Mark Taffet, senior vice president of HBO Sports, which has televised Golovkin four times. "Great talent from all over the world is appreciated in New York. New Yorkers love people who have passion, who perform with passion. I think New Yorkers relate to Gennady because he fights with such passion. In the ring, he delivers in a way that all fans love."
In a heavyweight co-feature, Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) outslugged Magomed Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KOs) over 10 rounds for a unanimous decision. The official scores were 97-92 twice and 95-94 for Perez.
Long Beach light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan was in attendance Saturday night and will be fighting at the Theater on Jan. 25.