Gennady Golovkin vs Vanes Martirosyan (GGG VS VANES )  fight card, predictions, HBO boxing, odds

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GGG’s pursuit of record-tying middleweight title defense could prove to be surprise entertainment

This certainly isn’t the Cinco de Mayo pay-per-view blockbuster that boxing fans had in mind.

Following a pair of failed drug tests from Canelo Alvarez, a subsequent tainted beef scandal and the insistence from unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin that the show must go on — boxing’s Super Bowl weekend is here with a fight that should exceed the almost barren expectations it has been stamped with.

Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) managed to secure a somewhat formidable foe to keep his date and attempt at tying Bernard Hopkin’s middleweight title defense record when he signed off on a bout with Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) just over a month ago.

Adding in their combined craft and penchant to come forward, however — not to mention the mecca for action fights that is the StubHub Center as the backdrop — Golovkin’s pursuit of a new record has the potential to be entertaining theater for the Carson, California, crowd (HBO, 11 p.m. ET).

The knocks against Martirosyan, 32, are certainly clear and present: A career junior middleweight, the native Armenian hasn’t fought in two years. He also hasn’t won a fight since taking a majority decision from Ishe Smith in 2015.

But the 2004 U.S. Olympian has also been in an almost perpetual training camp over that time after three straight fights fell apart. Martirosyan is also a large junior middleweight who may end up being the bigger fighter come fight night against “Triple G,” who is considered a small middleweight.

“[Martirosyan] is a good fighter, I remember him in 2004 [Olympics] in a couple of fights and he was good,” said Golovkin, who won a silver medal for Kazakhstan. “He has a very strong chin and he is a little taller and has a longer reach. He has a lot of good experience. He has fought a lot of good boxers. I know my style and it matches up good with his but my style is much more interesting.”

Saturday is a fun day for boxing. We’ve already outlined the David Haye vs. Tony Bellew rematch – now we switch gears to HBO and Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1; 33 KOs) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1; 21 KOs). This was originally scheduled as GGG vs. Canelo II, but some drug testing issues for Canelo changed those plans. The fight is for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC (and IBO, but who cares?) Middleweight titles. It takes place this Saturday, May 5 at the StubHub Center and airs live on HBO with a fight time of 11:00 p.m.ET.

Gennady Golovkin spent the past few years crushing overmatched opponents at every stage. And they weren’t always overmatched because of cheap, gimme matchmaking – they were overmatched because Golovkin was that much better. Last September he finally got the big Canelo fight he had long been angling for. GGG took that fight to Canelo, seemed to win, but managed to only walk away with a draw, because boxing. He was ready to right that wrong here, but has to settle for Martirosyan instead.

Vanes Martirosyan is a tough fighter with 13 years pro experience. He’s been in there with some high quality opposition, and his losses only come against top level fighters: Demetrius Andrade, Jermell Charlo, and, in his last fight, Erislandy Lara. But he has some real deficits here – he’s never beaten a fighter at that level, with his biggest wins coming against Ishe Smith and Willie Nelson, and he’s been inactive for two years. He’s also training under Edmond Tarverdyan now. Yes, you read that right.

This is a sort of pre-Canelo throwback fight for GGG. He’s expected to roll through Martirosyan here, and he likely will. That said, it’s worth noting that Golovkin did not look his absolute best against either Brook or Jacobs. He got the job done, but those fights made it clear he was past his very best – you have to go back to Dominic Wade in April 2016 to see the full power of super-destroyer GGG. At 36 years old, the time will come soon when Golovkin falls, and probably falls hard. But it’s highly unlikely Martirosyan is the one to make that happen.
Prediction: Gennady Golovkin, KO R3