The stoppage was the 15th straight knockout win for Golovkin.
Ringside Report by Resolution Sports
Nobody who witnessed the main event of HBO Boxing After Dark on Saturday night can question the heart of Brooklyn native Curtis “Showtime” Stevens, nor can they deny the fact that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is a truly special talent in the boxing game.
With his IBO and WBA World Middleweight Championship Belts on the line, the hard-charging and even harder hitting Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) put on an overwhelming performance against a very game Stevens (25-4, 18 KOs) in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, the same place that he battered Philadelphia challenger Gabriel Rosado this past January to retain the same titles. While Stevens willingly stood up to the Kazakh power puncher and even found some seldomly available holes to attack, Golovkin would eventually prove to be too much for the Brownsville boxer, forcing trainer Andre Rozier to call a halt to the bout after the eighth round.
After the fight concluded, Golovkin told HBO commentator Max Kellerman that he would take on any comers, mentioning by name fellow world middleweight champions Sergio Martinez and Peter Quillin.
Before the action even got underway for this feature bout of the evening, the atmosphere in the arena was absolutely electric, with both fan bases competing for control of the venue. Once the opening bell finally got the fight underway, Stevens came out employing a strategic high guard, and he also used head and body movement to counter the aggressive nature of Golovkin.
In the second frame, Golovkin began to sneak in the lead jab and straight right hand, throwing directly down the middle whenever Stevens temporarily loosened his tightly compacted guard. Late in that round, Golovkin consecutively landed two vicious left hooks, with the second blow sending Stevens crashing to the canvas. The shot was the type of damaging punch that would leave most men on the floor much longer than the 10 seconds necessary to count them out, but the gritty Stevens showed his incredible will by getting back to his feet and making it to the bell.
After Stevens used the third stanza to get his feet back under him, Golovkin spent the majority of the fourth frame walking him down before an eruption from the hometown fans lit a fire under the native New Yorker. While protecting himself from a flurry that was being delivered by the champion in the neutral corner, Stevens awakened and began throwing furious combinations in the direction of his opponent and gained his greatest momentum of the night.
In the fifth round, Stevens continued to have success landing some clean power shots, briefly backing up Golovkin when he was able to hit him flush. The Kazakh fighter returned to an aggressively active demeanor in the ensuing stanza, once again tossing hard punches with intense accuracy. At this point in the bout, the champion continued to turn up the tempo, repeatedly walking down Stevens with relentless pressure and never allowing him a moment to breathe or find space for any type of counter attack. Still, the Brooklyn native did all he could to keep himself in the fight, tossing his lead jab in an effort to re-establish some space, but Golovkin was simply not allowing him any room to work.
While the heart and will of Stevens was never in question for a single moment in this bout, Rozier was forced to step in and intelligently stop the fight at the conclusion of the eighth frame. With the outcome, Golovkin held onto both of his titles and also extended his consecutive knockout streak to 15 straight contests.