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Gennady Golovkin cruised to a seventh-round stoppage of Kamil Szeremeta in Florida on Friday, surpassing Bernard Hopkins’ record for consecutive title defenses and setting up a potential blockbuster rematch against Canelo Alvarez.

Kazakh champion Golovkin floored his formerly undefeated Polish opponent four times before the fight was stopped in the seventh, with “GGG” dominant throughout in what was a record 21st defense of his middleweight title just 24 hours before his old rival Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s own return to the ring against unbeaten Englishman Callum Smith.

Golovkin has openly stated his ambition for a third fight with Alvarez after having scored a draw and a loss in their prior two meetings but faced questions as to the status of his much vaunted knockout power, given that the 38-year-old hadn’t competed in well over a year. 

Any concerns were unjustified. Golovkin was ferocious throughout and served notice of what was to come when he sent Szeremeta to the canvasin the first round with an uppercut to left hook combination.

And still the baddest man on the planet… Gennady Golovkin Good call to stop the fight GGG Canelo III run it back pic.twitter.com/6idnwO5EGg

History!!! 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻 #My21https://t.co/AtZhhLFpWQ

GGG is just destructive. #matchroomboxing

Smelling blood, Golovkin amped up his aggression even further in the second and dropped Szeremeta once again but the gritty – if outmatched – Pole wouldn’t go away.

He was down again in the fourth and by the seventh, Szeremeta was spent. The referee mercifully called the fight when he was dropped by a jab – the fourth such time he had become intimately acquainted with the advertising on the ring canvas. 

The win for Golovkin was a crucial one. He faced questions about potentially being a spent force after laboring to a decision win against Sergiy Derevyanchenko last year, but Friday night in Florida proved that there is still more than enough gas in the tank to maintain his status as the one of the world’s pound-for-pound best.

It was a lot of fun,” Golovkin said afterwards. “I told you I would come back after the Canelo fight.

Give me triple G vs anyone in a 15 roung

That was simply the best Gennady Golovkin we’ve seen since 2018. The Devrychenko fight many suspected he was done but maybe more should be read more into the illness he had at the time. A machine, has every right to have a 3rd fight and a 3rd GREAT fight with Canelo.

‘Parallel Worlds’ is the latest docu-series from DAZN that connects global sporting icons from different disciplines to discover what they share in common. Here are Cristiano Ronaldo and boxer Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin in the 1st episode. pic.twitter.com/CFWy1X73gY

My performance was so good. I could have given more, I just needed more time to feel back. I’ve had a long break. But I am very proud of my team.

This is a small step for my legacy. My next fight, I want to show more.”

And as for that next fight, “GGG” says he will be a very interested viewer for Saturday night’s fight between Canelo and Smith.

I’m excited to see who wins,” said Golovkin. “I want these guys.”