Sometimes, the absurdity of boxing's worst business practices result in simple cruelty in the ring. That was the case with Gennadiy Golovkin being forced to face mandatory IBF middleweight title contender Kamil Szeremeta on Friday night. After seven lopsided rounds that saw Szeremeta knocked down four times, the referee was finally forced to call off the fight, giving Golovkin the TKO victory and keeping the IBF title firmly in his grasp.
Any mystery over if Szeremeta could hang with Golovkin and make the fight competitive was gone in the opening round. Golovkin quickly established his powerful jab, smothering Szeremeta's attempt to throw the same punch and led to no meaningful result of his own. Golovkin followed his jab with a thudding right hand that opened up his power punches, and a winging left hand put Szeremeta down in the opening frame.
Szeremeta would go down again in Round 2, this time from a clubbing Golovkin right hand. Szeremeta again managed to beat the count, but without the power to turn the tide -- Szeremeta only had scored five knockouts in 21 pro fights against lower-tier opposition -- Golovkin was given no reason to take his foot off the gas.
Golovkin would score two more knockdowns, in the fourth and seventh rounds, before the referee had seen enough and waived the fight off as the fighters sat on their stools between rounds. It was a merciful end for Szeremeta, whose toughness was not on par with his skills in this outing.
"Respect to Kamil's trainer and corner," Golovkin said of the stoppage. "They're very smart because he was done. Come on, guys."
All told, Golovkin outlanded Szeremeta 228 to 59 in total punches landed, including a 94-10 advantage in his jabs. Adding to the bad news for Szeremeta in the punch stats, Golovkin landed 56% of his power punches through the fight.
The obvious play for Golovkin would be a third fight with Canelo Alvarez after their first fight ended in a draw and the second in a narrow majority decision for Alvarez.
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Alvarez fights Saturday night, taking on Callum Smith for a pair of super middleweight titles. Golovkin was coy after the fight when asked about the potential trilogy, suggesting he was open to it, but not fully committed.
"Absolutely, I'm open for anybody," Golovkin said. "Best opponent for me, for business, for DAZN, for people? We'll wait for tomorrow. I hope tomorrow is a great event. Who wins? I'm open."
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Friday. Be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Fight card, results
- Gennadiy Golovkin def. Kamil Szeremeta seventh-round TKO
- Hyun Mi Choi (c) def. Calista Silgado via unanimous decision (97-93, 99-91, 98-92)
- John Ryder def. Michael Guy via unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 96-94)
- Carlos Gongora def. Ali Akhmedov via 12th-round TKO
- Reshat Mati def. Dennis Okoth via sixth-round TKO
GGG vs. Szeremeta scorecard, live coverage