The bloody brutality of boxing – Daniel Geale

The amount of force delivered by Rocky Marciano was enough to break concrete an inch and a half thick.  Men are not built to take punches that hard.


Back in 1963, the US Testing Company measured Marciano’s power.  Its conclusion is compelling.


Marciano’s knockout blow packs more explosive energy than an armour-piercing bullet and represents as much energy as would be required to spot lift 1000 pounds one foot off the ground.


The frontal bone, or forehead can withstand between 1000 to 1600 pounds of force, more than it takes to break concrete.


Bones on the side of the head can tolerate between 700 to 1900 pounds of force.  The back of the skull can handle around 1400 pounds of force.  Cheek bones and the jaw can only withstand between 280 to 520 pounds of force, which is why Marciano aimed for the jaw instead of the forehead.


A heavy blow to the jaw and the cheeks causes more damage than a blow to the skull.  The brain sloughs within the skull cavity, leading to dizziness, disorientation or unconsciousness.


It is rare, though not uncommon, for boxers to die in the ring or in hospital, from injuries sustained in a fight.


About sixty percent of fighters will suffer from pugilistic dementia, permanent brain injury, during or after their careers.


Boxing is bloody brutality.  Boxers are aware of the risks.  Still they fight.


On Sunday, Daniel Geale will fight Gennady Golovkin for the WBA and IBO middleweight championship.


Golovkin doesn’t punch as hard as Marciano, but he is undefeated, with 26 knockouts from 29 fights.  He has 16 consecutive knockouts and hasn’t gone the distance since 2008.


Born in Kazakhstan, Golovkin is 32 and in his prime.  He is a devastating, exciting puncher, to the body and head and he takes a good shot.


If he doesn’t knock out an opponent early he caves in their body with heavy hooks and shatters their will with accurate, hammering hooks to the face.


Geale is taking a massive risk.  He is a rank underdog.  He has never faced a fighter like Golovkin.  Geale obviously isn’t interested in easy fights.


He isn’t ducking anyone.


He knows the danger.  No one gives him a chance.  Still he fights.


Geale is a busy mauler, skilful without aesthetics.  His record, 30 wins and two defeats, is good but his most notable opponents are Anthony Mundine and Felix Sturm.


Only one of Geale’s last eight fights ended early.  He swarms and punches from angles, relying on output for victory.  He has stopped 16 opponents but doesn’t have knockout power.


Crucially, Geale has never been knocked out.  It’s been seven years since he was knocked down.  Those aren’t his only advantages.


Golovkin, for all his power and hype, has never fought anyone like Geale.  That’s not to suggest Golovkin has been protected, but his record carries few recognisable names.


His last nine opponents had three or more losses.  A closer look shows Kassim Ouma with seven defeats before he fought Golovkin.  Makoto Fuchigami had six, Gabriel Rosado had five and Nobuhiro Ishida had lost eight times before they fought Golovkin.


Golovkin is being brought along slowly and he is hittable.  In several fights he has been marked up, swollen eyes and cheekbones.  Geale, with his messy accuracy, should land enough punches early to make a competitive fight.


Given Geale’s dedication to fitness and punch output, if he can drag the fight into the late rounds, he might be able to cause an upset.  He can box and move, slip punches and slide side-to-side.  He can go the distance without any noticeable decrease in output.


Geale comes prepared to fight twelve hard rounds.


He’s got to keep moving so Golovkin can’t whack him to the belly with hooks from the hip.  Geale must keep his hands high and jab Golovkin’s chin when he winds up.


Geale has to send the right cross behind the jab when Golovkin is trying to get inside and use uppercuts at short range.


Tap him on the eyes and make him swell.  Hit him on the break and belt him to the body.


Geale must be the bully to win.  There is no other way.


Forget about punches that can break concrete.  Forget about the pounds of pressure various skull bones can withstand.  Forget about losing dignity and cuts and swelling and all the risks associated with long term damage.


Forget about it.  Let Golovkin worry about those things…



About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Gregor Lewis says

    Spine-tingling write-up Matt.

    I think you are being a bit kind to Marciano. He was the epitome of non-discrimination when it came to punch destination.

    He would hit ya (legally & illegally – just ask Roland la Starza), as hard and as often as he could until he could get through with ‘Suzy Q’, his right-hand blockbuster.

    Golovkin is relatively untested – not for want of trying – and I think Daniel Geale can box WITH him. I just hope he rediscovers that relentlessness he normally musters down the stretch, which was strangely absent versus Barker.

    (i think he spent most of Rounds 7-11 in disbelief that Barker got up from that body-shot).

    The problem is Golovkin ‘en extremis’ is the ultimate complete fighter. Though his fights generally end one way – KO VICTORY – he doesn’t have only one way to win.

    He makes sure he leaves every door open so that whatever room his opponent walks into, only pain is there to greet them. I just genuinely believe Daniel Geale is tough, seasoned and still fresh enough, to endure through that.

    It’s a matter of whether he finds it within, as he endures the pain, to fight to win.

    I think he can.


  2. Great boxing piece. Golovkin is hittable. That makes him beatable. Unless he’s another Marciano. Beale is a pretty good show if he boxes and doesn’t brawl.

  3. Your intro is impressive Matt. I had to peek between my fingers when reading it. Stomach churning.
    Hope the AMA doesn’t read it or you’ll become the poster boy for the ban boxing movement.
    Go Daniel.

  4. Patrick O'Brien says

    I’d be in big trouble if someone whacked my belly with hooks from the hip. Which is why I never stepped in the ring, I guess.

    I once sat next to a boxer on a flight from Brissie back down to Melbourne. He’d fought the night before on the Sunshine Coast – ring, not street – and had won. But jeez he looked like his whole body was in absolute agony, not just the closed eye as purple as a Dockers scarf, and said as much. Spent the whole flight sipping whisky, necking the sort of paracetamol that’d stun a horse and pretending he’d chosen an easier career path.

  5. As George Foreman once said,”It’s not just about hitting the other guy,it’s about not being hit yourself.” Foreman was probably the heaviest hitter in boxing.After one Ali-Foreman fight ,Ali couldn’t raise his arms above his shoulders for a month.
    Golovkin uses his whole bodyweight to hit with.Geale has to sideslip and hit him then.As an amateur boxer in my youth,I preferred opponents who gave punches everything.It gave me the glimmer of a chance.Geale has more than that

  6. But still not enough

  7. Andrew Starkie says

    I can still feel DG’s pain. Great piece matt.

  8. A brave effort by Dan. He got dragged into Golovkin’s game plan and got caught.

    As Mike Tyson once said “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit”

  9. What a puncher. Can’t wait to see where Golovkin’s career goes. Geale needs to be very careful about backing up after that mighty one “right on the button”

  10. Golovkin is one dynamic fighter.

Leave a Comment