By Robert Brizel, Head RCM Boxing Correspondent
Former International Boxing Federation World Middleweight champion Daniel Geale scored a sixth round stoppage of onetime contender and fellow Australian Garth Wood at Hoard Pavilion in Moore Park, New South Wales, Australia, on February 19, 2014, when Wood’s corner stopped the bout after the sixth round. Geale knocked down Wood in the first, fifth and sixth rounds, and was way ahead on the cards with scores of 59-51, 58-52, and 58-52 in the scheduled 12 rounder at the time of the corner stoppage.
The comeback bout was Geale’s first since losing his IBF World Middleweight title to Darren Barker by split decision in 12 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in August 2013. In defeating Wood, Geale won Wood’s World Boxing Association Pan African title, as well as the vacant International Boxing Federation Pan Pacific Middleweight title.
Geale, age 32, now 30-2 with 16 knockouts, Mt. Annan, New South Wales, Australia, is currently ranked fourth in the world by the World Boxing Association, and is ranked in third the world by the International Boxing Federation. Having already beaten the current IBF World Middleweight champion Felix Sturm, by decision in Oberhausen, Germany in September 2012, a rematch with Geale does not serve any useful function at the this point in the game.
The inside and outside fighting Geale, short but with magnificent boxing skill, jab penetration and ring movement, is a throwback to the late great World Middleweight champion Les Darcy of Australia a hundred years ago. Geale appears short at 5’10”, but Darcy was only 5’6”. Geale is a skilled technical boxer. How would he fare against Gennady Golovkin?
Of the challengers available, Geale appears most desirable to fight Golovkin next over 26-1 WBA Interim World Middleweight champion Martin Murray of Great Britain, 12-0-2 Dmitry ‘Night Wolf’ Chidinov of Russia, 18-1 WBA International champion Jarrod Fletcher of Australia, southpaw WBA and WBO Inter-Continental and 22-0 WBC Silver Middleweight champion Patrick Nielsen of Denmark, and 27-0 Mexican southpaw Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez of Sinaloa.
Geale remains at the top of the ratings as perhaps the most consistent middleweight today. GGG is unlikely to get a big payday shot at Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sergio Gabriel Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Erislandy Lara, Saul Alvarez, or Peter Quillin very soon. GGG has continued to fight the remainder of the iddleweight pack. Geale’s WBA Pan African belt put him at the top of the heap in the mix to fight Golovkin next.
GGG should beat Geale, who coiuld prove to be his most significant title challenge yet. Like GGG, Geale is a smart fighter, who knows how to fight where and when in the ring, and who converts on golden opportunities. Geale’s style cannot be read, which could confuse Golovkin and give him trouble, perhaps even for all 12 rounds. Geale’s work rate, while significant at the world class level, cannot surpass that of the superb Golovkin, though. Geale’s ability to remain an elusive target could give Golovkin heaps of trouble. In the end, Golovkin will defeat Geale by either a later round stoppage or an easy 12 round decision.
Geale has power, but he would have to take too many chances to get inside on GGG. One advantage Geale has is his always changing boxing style cannot be read like other fighters, and could prove most confusing to GGG. Geale is also hard to box from the outside, and hard to contain once he gets inside. It will take GGG more time than he would with other fighters to work Geale over and eventually break him down.