Dominating the early exchanges, the Kazakh landed twice as many punches as his opponent, clearly eager to finally justify the massive hype surrounding him.
Ultimately, though, when yet another right uppercut lifted Macklin’s guard and opened him up on his right hand side, Golovkin pulled the trigger on a left hook to the ribs which levelled the challenger.
Macklin writhed around in agony as the requisite count brought the curtain down on what could yet prove to be his last bid for a world title.
“He never really let me get started,” Macklin said afterwards. “It was a great shot he landed. I tip my hat to him. He’s a great champion. He has plenty of clubbing, solid power, and you can feel the weight of every punch.”
Golovkin now boasts a record of 27-0 while he’ll add a 24th knockout — his 14th in a row — to a CV which might prove a little too impressive for the other top middleweights such as Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward who will have watched this one with interest and a little trepidation. Indeed, Ward was ringside at the MGM Grand to witness a knockout which will live long in the memory.
Macklin had gamely tried to smile away the punishing combinations he had found himself on the end of, shaking his head at the champion early in that decisive third round but not convincing anyone in attendance that he would be able to withstand the Kazakh’s infamous strength.
“It was an easy fight for me,” Golovkin said. “I felt great in the ring. He never hurt me. I was very happy with my performance.”
Macklin was taken to hospital as a precaution and trainer Buddy McGirt said his fighter described how he was unable to breathe in the immediate aftermath of the knockout.
“It was a perfectly placed shot,” McGirt admitted. “It’s not like he got beat up for 10 rounds and then got knocked out. He got hit with a body shot, there’s nothing you can do about that.
“He didn’t get a chance to get in his groove because once this guy put the heat on him, he felt he had to do something. When a guy’s hitting you, that’s when you got to relax. That’s what separates the regular fighters from the elite fighters.
“I don’t want to take away from Golovkin’s victory, the champion did what he had to do, but Matthew’s still learning… the best fighters are the calm practitioners. Mayweather, always calm, Ray Leonard, Ray Robinson, Ali — those are the best fighters. Why? Because they stay calm under pressure. When the guy puts you under pressure, you’ve got to be calm, believe it or not. If you push the panic button that’s when you make mistakes and you’re caught.”
Meanwhile, promoter Brian Peters was upbeat about the next steps for Macklin.
“When you aim at the top shelf, there’s another shelf underneath it where you have the Darren Barkers, the Martin Murrays, the Andy Lees, those fights are always there... Matthew will be back, I believe I’ll get him back and get him back on HBO.
“At the end of the day, I’m trying to get him as much money as he can and get out of the game with faculties intact so he can enjoy life. Obviously the landscape’s a lot different after (the defeat to Golovkin). Coming into this, his reputation was built on (Felix) Sturm and (Sergio) Martinez and that’s why HBO wanted to see if Golovkin could walk through him and I’m afraid he can.”