Gennady Golovkin stops Daniel Geale

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NEW YORK -- Gennady Golovkin's already burgeoning legend will continue to grow after what he did to Daniel Geale on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Golovkin retained his middleweight world title for the 11th time as he blew away former middleweight titleholder Geale in the third round for an explosive ending to yet another dominant performance.

Geale was supposed to represent the stiffest test of Golovkin's career but proved no test at all. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) dropped Geale (30-3, 16 KOs) in the second round and then dusted him in the third with a right hand. Geale made it to his feet, but he was all over the place on unsteady legs, and referee Michael Ortega stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 43 seconds.

"I walked over to Golovkin after the fight and I said, 'Whatever anyone said about you, you are better than that,'" said Gary Shaw, Geale's promoter. "In all my years in boxing, he's the best 160-pounder I've ever seen. He has all the tools and all the moves. I thought Geale could take him to a decision. The better man won tonight.

"There's nobody in 160, 154 and I'm not sure there's anyone at 168 who could be competitive with him for 12 rounds except maybe [super middleweight champion] Andre Ward."

Golovkin scored his 17th knockout in a row and has not had to go the distance since winning an eight-round decision in 2008.

Golovkin also raised his knockout ratio to 90 percent, best among the active titleholders in boxing as he electrified the crowd of 8,572 in his first main event in the Garden main arena after filling the smaller MSG Theater twice before.

"Tonight was a big step fighting in the arena and I'm happy to perform for the fans," Golovkin said. "I was patient in the first round and part of the second round, but once I figured him out I was able to attack aggressively. I knew it was a matter of time."

Then Golovkin made his intentions clear: "I am very happy and now I only want unification fights. I want [Miguel] Cotto."

Cotto, essentially the house fighter at the Garden for years, became the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes when he moved up to middleweight and stopped Sergio Martinez in the 10th round to win the lineal world championship at the Garden on June 7.

Like he usually does to his opponents, Golovkin, 32, of Kazakhstan, pressured Geale immediately by swinging right hands and left hooks as Geale tried to move side-to-side and basically do anything to avoid his power.

He had extra time to try, because for some reason, the first round lasted for four minutes instead of the standard three.

Geale, 33, of Australia, couldn't avoid Golovkin in the second round, getting knocked to the canvas under the pressure of a flurry of punches, including a left and a right that landed cleanly in the final seconds of the round.

Golovkin also opened a cut over Geale's right eye during the overwhelming second round.

It was just a matter of time until Golovkin was going to get him, and he got him in the third, landing a powerful right hand in an exchange right after Geale landed a right hand to Golovkin's forehead.

Geale beat Ortega's count and he tried to jog around to get his legs back under him, but he could not control his balance, and Ortega really had no other option but to stop the bout.

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