After successfully finishing off a brash challenger, WBA and IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin gave himself a perfect score and declared who he wants to fight next.
"I give myself a grade of a 10," Golovkin said after stopping Curtis Stevens at the end of the eighth round Saturday night. "I am ready to fight anybody, but specifically I want to fight Sergio Martinez."
A spokesman from K2 promotions said Golovkin’s next fight is scheduled for Feb. 1 in Monte Carlo against an opponent to be determined. Martinez holds the WBC middleweight title and might fight Miguel Cotto next year.
Golovkin won in front of 4,618 fans at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, improving to 28-0 with his 25th knockout. He retained his titles for the fourth time this year and successfully defended a title for the ninth time as a professional.
The end came with a dominating display in the eighth. Golovkin used his right hand to pound Stevens under his swollen left eye. The round ended with a series of body shots and Stevens’ corner stopped the fight.
Golovkin won all eight rounds on Michael Pernick’s scorecard. On the other scorecards by Max DeLuca and Tom Schreck, Golovkin won every round but the fourth.
Golovkin dominated the statistics, connecting on 293 of 794 punches, including 108 jabs and 185 power punches. Stevens (25-4) connected on 97 of 303 punches, 23 jabs and 74 power punches.
"Stevens was tougher than we thought he was going to be," said Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer. "There are still things we need to work on as far as Gennady’s patience and setting up his punches, but the good part is we got the win and have stuff to work on.
Despite being dominated, Stevens didn’t lose any of his confidence.
"I have nothing to be ashamed of," said Stevens, the Brooklyn fighter who had won four straight bouts. "I’m better than anybody gave my credit for. I’ve shown more in a loss than most people show in a win. This is not the end for me. I will learn from my mistakes and I’ll be back.
Early it seemed that Golovkin might have a short night as he dropped Stevens with 25 seconds left in the second round. Golovkin knocked down Stevens with consecutive left hooks, finished the round with combinations near the ropes and referee Harvey Dock appeared hesitant to let the fight continue.
"I was not surprised he got up," Golovkin said.
Golovkin was only threatened slightly in the fourth and fifth when Stevens hit him with a series of left hooks and a standing left hook that appeared to slightly hurt Golovkin.
Golovkin, however, showed little effects and, after an early charge by Stevens in the sixth, he countered with several right hands and finished the round with 41 punches.
"I was able to use my right punches that we worked on in the gym to break him down," Golovkin said. "He was strong and I was a little cautious of his strength but I felt comfortable in there and never felt I was in any trouble."