What did we learn from Gennady Golovkin's points win over Danny Jacobs?
Reflecting on GGG’s inability to stop Jacobs, and the repercussions that may have
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 20/03/17 6:15am
Gennady Golovkin’s knockout streak was ended, but his unbeaten run remained intact after meeting Danny Jacobs on Saturday night. So have chinks been exposed in Golovkin’s armour?
"Nobody from 154 to 168lbs can go 12 rounds with him," Gennady Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, said matter-of-factly after last September's five-round win over Kell Brook. Such unwavering confidence that Sanchez's man could lose weight, or step up a division, and maintain his knockout power was wrecked by Danny Jacobs on Saturday, who was still trying to edge the scorecards in the 12th round.
Jacobs, in the end, was not favoured by the three judges in Madison Square Garden but hearing the final bell with his consciousness intact represented somewhat of a moral victory, if such a thing exists. Golovkin's ferocious aura, despite beating a fellow world middleweight champion, has taken a painful punch.
Perhaps for the first time, Golovkin appeared to be the smaller man in the ring and that made his bullying, aggressive style difficult to implement. Add in Jacobs' skilful elusiveness, and he had a clear recipe to avoid the knockout even if he couldn't win the decision.
Golovkin, in the first half of the fight, was reduced to looking like a head-hunter desperate for one big shot. He likely lost three consecutive rounds before finally landing his right hand, causing the only knockdown, and re-establishing some kind of parity on the score-cards. It was an over reliance on his power against an opponent who proved he could handle the heat in the kitchen.
Jacobs had intentionally foregone the IBF's check weight (after meeting the 160lbs middleweight limit, the organisation require a second weigh-in to ensure neither boxer has gained more than 10 percent of their weight). In doing so, Jacobs sacrificed a chance to win the IBF belt but arrived in the ring much heavier, an intentional ploy to withstand Golovkin's punching. It worked.
Brook, last year, offered a glimpse into how Jacobs might prevail against Golovkin. Brook's feet were too fast, and his hands even faster - he repeatedly landed flush on the Kazakh whose constant forward motion does not lend itself well to effectively protecting his face. Brook's natural weight was his undoing, but he showed that a more experienced middleweight with similarly fast hands might have success against Golovkin.
It is worth remembering, however you scored the fight yourself, that Golovkin still won. A run of 23 knockouts ended, harking back to a 2008 eight-rounder, but he is still unbeaten and undisputed. So if Jacobs' size and weight coupled with his defensive skills wasn't enough, who might beat him?
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, the dream opponent, might have been discouraged by Saturday's fight rather than interested in Golovkin's struggles. Mexico's Alvarez is three inches shorter than Jacobs and nowhere near as naturally heavy, having still not boxed as high at 160lbs.
Golovkin and his team had told Sky Sports about stepping up to super-middleweight to face James DeGale but, with the Kazakh approaching 35-years-old and currently ruling his own division, challenging himself against a much bigger opponent could be folly.
Lineal middleweight champion Golovkin was exposed as merely human on Saturday by Jacobs. But perhaps his victory without the trademark knockout makes him scarier than ever before.