Gennady Golovkin staggers David Lemieux with a left to the head in the eighth round of their middleweight title unification fight at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday. (Rich Schultz / Associated Press)
Gennady Golovkin takes David Lemieux's IBF middleweight belt by TKO.
All that time Gennady Golovkin dedicated to training in the solitude of Big Bear, waiting for the night where all of boxing turned its eyes to him came Saturday.
In a precise power-punching exhibition that showcased why he's viewed as the sport's nextgreat fighter, the unbeaten Kazakhstan product recorded an eighth-round technical-knockout victory over Canada's David Lemieux.
"I feel great … I was strong tonight and my punches hurt him," Golovkin said.
Golovkin (34-0, 31 knockouts) added Lemieux's International Boxing Federation middleweight belt to his World Boxing Assn. title with the victory at Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin is the mandatory challenger to whoever wins the Nov. 21 World Boxing Council title fight between Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in Las Vegas. Golovkin will attend the fight, and said plainly, "I want all the belts. Now I have two. I'm staying at [middleweight] until I have all the belts."
Referee Steve Willis stopped Saturday's bout 1 minute 32 seconds into the eighth round after Golovkin parlayed the pain he subjected to Lemieux (34-3) with two combinations by pounding a left hand to the body that made the Canadian ache and back away.
Golovkin surged to deliver another right to the head, and Willis stepped in, to the chagrin of the loser and some in the sellout crowd of 20,548.
"When he stopped it, I wasn't event on the mat. I can keep going," Lemieux said.
But really, after Golovkin won each of the first seven rounds on each of the judges' scorecards, the outcome was merely a formality.
"I had to do something," Willis said. "David is a very competitive fighter, he was going to keep on trying, but his chances of winning were decreasing as the fight went on.
"Against a guy like that, he was going to get really hurt. ... I couldn't let him continue to receive punishment. It was over."
Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, applauded the showing of his dedicated student, who came to the U.S. with more than 300 amateur fights and a world title.
"We saw Lemieux [31 pro knockouts] was trying to throw big bombs, but he never hurt Gennady and Gennady systematically broke him down," Sanchez said.
Golovkin opened the bout with impressive jabs that discouraged and hurt Lemieux. Golovkin landed 170 jabs to Lemieux's 35.
By the second round, Golovkin was throwing his big right hand sharply at Lemieux's head, and soon the jabs transformed to hard lefts that led Lemieux's right eye to swell.
It was a left to the body that led to Lemieux's delayed knockdown in the fifth round. Golovkin tried to finish him in a neutral corner and didn't because of the bell. But the damage was adding up.
"I have a lot of respect for Golovkin as a fighter," Lemieux said. "We prepared well for this fight, but I feel like I waited too long to take some shots tonight and that really hurt me."
Golovkin connected on 280 punches to 89 for Lemieux.
Earlier, flyweight world champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez continually slugged veteran former two-division world champion Brian Viloria, an onslaught that paced him to a ninth-round TKO victory.
Trained by his late Nicaragua countryman and former champion Alexis Arguello as he developed, Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) has elevated toward the top of most mythical pound-for-pound rankings after last month's retirement by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He showed why in a relentless performance against Viloria (36-5), who praised "Chocolatito's" quickness and labeled him as the best fighter he has seen.
Gonzalez first dropped Viloria with a short right hand in the third round and sought to finish him with a right-left-right combination.
His continued punching to the body and head clearly fatigued the proud Viloria, 34, who absorbed 200 punches and dished out 131 through six rounds.
He got buzzed by Gonzalez punches in the eighth round, then was battered in Gonzalez's corner, only to retreat to the ropes toward his left, where more damage ensued.
A hard left to the head closed the assault, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stopping the bout at 2:53 after a hard left to the head wobbled Viloria.
Gonzalez finished with a 335-186 punch advantage.
Unbeaten heavyweight Luis Ortiz impressively posted his 20th knockout in 23 fights, decking Argentinian Matias Ariel Vidondo (20-2-1) at the 17-second mark of the third round.
In the pay-per-view opener, Tureano Johnson of the Bahamas twice knocked down Ireland's Eamonn O'Kane in the first round en route to a unanimous-decision triumph.
Johnson (19-1) claimed the IBF title eliminator victory despite losing some of the zest of his powerful right hooks, slowing especially in rounds five through seven as the proud O'Kane (17-2-1) slugged through the shock of his rough start.