Gennady Golovkin’s ring return went entirely to script as he beat up and stopped Steve Rolls in four rounds at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
In his first fight in nine months the former world middleweight champion looked rusty early on before coming alive in the fourth frame and putting his opponent to the sword.
Fighting at a catchweight of 164-pounds in front of a crowd of 12,357 people, Golovkin got off to a slow start with the unheralded Rolls snapping the Kazakh bomber’s head back with his straight lefts and finding a home for his counter right hand in rounds two and three.
In his first bout under new coach Jonathon Banks, Golovkin worked the boy well and showed improved defence.
Golovkin found his rhythm in the fourth round, landing hard shots that Rolls had little answer for. Switching southpaw mid-exchange, Golovkin landed a clever left hand that Rolls 19-1 (10) never saw coming. The 35-year-old Canadian toppled face-first to the canvas and was unable to beat the count.
The time of the stoppage was 2:09.
“I love knockouts and I love New York. It was a great night all around. I’m ready to come back in September,” said Golovkin, 39-1-1 (35), whose lone career blemishes came at the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Asked who he wants to fight next, Golovkin, 37, smiled.
“We know who the fans want me to fight next,” said Golovkin.
Coach Banks, who was a student of the late Emanuel Steward and took over the training reigns for world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko when he passed, was pleased with the result but said there was still more to work on.
“It’s always good to get a knockout. I like what I saw in the ring for the short amount of time we had in camp, but we can do better when we have a full camp,” said Banks.
“But we’re going in the right direction.”