MAKE no mistake, on his best day, Daniel Geale is one of the best middleweights in the world.
In the iconic surroundings of the famed Hordern Pavilion, the former unified IBF/WBA middleweight champion put on a vintage performance – punishing local rival Garth Wood in an attacking display that might go down as one of his best yet.
It was fast, it was calculated and it was at times brutal, as Geale punched his ticket into the Gennady Golovkin sweepstakes with a sixth-round technical knockout after Wood’s team admirably withdrew their charge, who failed to answer the bell for the seventh round – despite his plea of having ‘one more round’.
Many in the sell-out crowd at the Hordern Pavilion, a staple in Australian boxing folklore, came to see Wood – the clear underdog – attempt another upset of Cinderella Man like proportions, but it wasn’t to be as they instead witnessed a one-sided domination. Wood, 35, (now 12-4-1, 8 KOs) was badly shaken up in the first round from a Geale right-hand and never really covered as he struggled to land anything of significance.
Geale, 32, clearly unimpressed with Wood’s trash talking in the fight’s emotional and tension filled build-up, characteristically did his talking in the ring, silencing Wood with an opening round knockdown, which could have ended the contest – providing it had taken a place a minute or so earlier.
At times, Geale (now 30-2, 16 KOs) rocked Wood from one side of the ring to the other, regularly catching his counterpart off guard with his right-hand which couldn’t miss in the fight’s early stages. Wood’s left-eye verified this with bruising evident almost immediately after the opening stanza came to an end.
Warning signs were ominous when a puzzled Wood asked his corner what round it was after returning to his stool at the conclusion of the second round.
Geale seized control of the fight, almost immediately after the opening bell and had Wood’s trainer Lincoln Hudson not forced his pupil into taking a knee and the mandatory eight-count that comes with it, Geale could’ve closed proceedings inside of a round. This makes for impressive reading, considering Wood’s knockout of mutual predecessor Anthony Mundine, who later avenged the loss via a close points verdict.
Before Wood could set, parry or even attempt to throw punches, he was either being hit or forcing to protect himself – such was the brilliance of Geale on this particular night. The vocal fans who had come to cheer for Wood were being silenced in brutal fashion, many expected Geale to win, but not like this.
When Geale floored Wood for a fourth time with a swift left-right combination, albeit third officially, after Geale was falsely deducted a point for a perceived low-blow, the end was clearly near as Geale strutted off with the confidence of a man who knew victory was a near formality.
“I knew things were going to happen and my punching power is improving all the time,” Geale said. “Things didn’t go according to plan but I was happy with my performance.”
With the win, talk now turns as to who is next for the Tasmanian-born Geale, who seeks to earn back his versions of the middleweight championship, owned partly by WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, who is arguably the most feared man in boxing and Felix Sturm, who owns the IBF middleweight strap.
“We will go back and see if we can arrange something, whether it is Golovkin or Sturm, there’s even talk about Martinez at some stage,” said a victorious Geale post-fight. “They are all there, I’m just waiting for my chance to get in there with them.”
“Hopefully he (Golovkin) will be my next fight,” Geale said. “The reason we fought Garth was because he is a strong and powerful guy, and I knew with my movement it would be difficult for him to hit me. I can’t wait for the chance to fight Golovkin and bring a world title fight to Australia.”
Geale was originally slated to face the Kazakhstan-born Golovkin on April 26th, with HBO formally approving Geale as an opponent. However, with Australian pay-per-view arm Main Event already committing the particular date to a UFC card, Geale was forced to decline the opportunity. Although it isn’t finalised, it is expected Irishman Andy Lee will take Geale’s place.
“I will do whatever it takes to regain my status as the middleweight champion of the world. With Wood out of the way, the doors have opened for other big fights. I believe Gennady Golovkin and I would make for a great fight.” Geale continued.
“If HBO can bring that fight to fruition then I’m all for it. Golovkin needs to fight someone of my calibre to be considered elite. The fans deserve a great competitive fight and that’s what Golovkin and I bring to the table.”