Two of the hardest hitting men in the in the sport square off in a bid to unify the middleweight division at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend. In a combined seventy professional fights, only in six has a stoppage proved an elusive conclusion to proceedings such is the dynamite that both men possess. Kazakh wrecking machine Gennady Golovkin faces the ‘Miracle Man’ Daniel Jacobs on March 18th.
GGG. The phonics that are beginning to carry serious tonnage within the sport of boxing. There is an aura of invincibility about Golovkin at this present moment in time that makes him the apex predator and he is now generally considered to be top of the pound for pound list.
It might be considered as a perfect paradox that the most destructive fighter in the sport finds his boxing home in the snow topped serenity of Big Bear Lake, California. But Gennady is only following in footsteps of some of the greats that have embraced the mountain wilderness such as Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley to name a couple.
For a long while now the word in the boxing gyms has been that Golovkin is nothing short of the real deal and this was even before his record lacked any superstar opponents. However slowly but surely the Kazakh has been fulfilling prophecy by dismantling the opponents brave enough to stand up to the challenge that he presents.
GGG has shown us that he has dynamite power but critically he has demonstrated that he has a granite chin. He has demonstrated this after taking shots from the likes of David Lemieux and Kell Brook and showing no signs of impact. The purists look at him and see chinks in his armour. He can be easily hit, easily exploited with slick movement, angles and rapid combinations. Whilst this was something that Kell Brook managed to prove in fleeting patches, ultimately he was overpowered and blasted out on his feet before the fight had even reached the middle rounds. The injury was unfortunate for Kell and undoubtedly hindered his vision but you can’t take away that the injury was caused by Golovkin’s punches and not by some accidental headbutt. Therefore the injury cannot be used to detract from Golovkins performance. It is all too easy to pick holes when you are frantically searching for signs of weaknesses.
Golovkin cuts off the ring so well, piling on torrential pressure at key moments so exploiting these potential weaknesses is very difficult for even the slickest of operators. He is also underated in terms of his technicality. Sure, he loves a tear up but his stellar amateur pedigree proves that he is more than a power house. He rarely lost a bout even when he couldn’t get the knockout over the short three round format.
Daniel Jacobs, hails from the same mean streets of Brownsville, New York City, that once were home to the one and only ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson. He comes into the fight on the back of a highly impressive run of knockout victories that have looked Tysonesque. He has more than a couple of showreel knockouts to his name. Whilst his resume does not boast a large number of top calibre opponents, he has recently knocked out the highly rated and previously undefeated ‘Kid Chocolate’ Peter Quillin via way of a first round TKO. He, much like Golovkin has the killer instinct required in the best fighters to finish off a man when he is hurt.
Whilst he may not have matched the incredible amateur career of Golovkin he still achieved a lot before turning over. He was junior Olympic champion, national and golden gloves champion as a youth and entered the pro ranks with a fierce reputation in the boxing fraternity.
Jacobs is not as slick of a mover and boxer as Kell Brook but he is a naturally bigger man who hits even harder, and is generally more willing to get on the front foot. I am not sure that he will be able to dictate the fight with his jab or be effective on the backfoot but he throws mean uppercuts and fast combinations. It will be interesting to see how much success he has in the exchanges and how willing he is to trade in the centre of the ring because Golovkin will provide him with opportunities to land.
His strength of character is well highlighted by his triumphs in overcoming health problems outside of the ring and he will need to call upon every ounce of it if he is to compete with Golovkin. He has one solitary blot on his record a brutal knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog. It was a very bad knockout defeat and although it was back in 2010 it still casts doubt over his ability to withstand a heavy shot. Many fans won’t be familiar with Pirog. He was an undefeated russian fighter who exited the sport after suffering from a debilitating back injury.
Similarities can be drawn between Pirog and Golovkin in the fact that they both have the fundamental schooling of the Eastern European boxing style. Pirog was also a pressure fighter was constantly on the front foot cutting off the ring. Golovkin is a slightly less rangy but more compact version of Pirog and looks to have even more punch power.
I believe the pattern of the fight will be very similar to the Pirog versus Jacobs fight. Golovkin will force a front foot fighter like Jacobs into retreat. Danny has come on a lot since the Pirog defeat and is a seasoned professional at the age of thirty but he will have to take calculated risks if he is to stand any chances of getting the W.
It would take an almost virtouso back foot boxing performance to beat Golovkin on the scorecards but it would take a fighter on Floyd Mayweather’s level to be able to pull it off. Jacobs will have to engage in spots in the way Kell Brook did in order to catch the judges eyes but he will also have to avoid being caught clean and punished. He has the punching power to compete but he will have to endure hellacios attacks.