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Golovkin vs. Jacobs: Gennady on the verge of superstardom

Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin Golovkin vs. Jacobs

By Dan Ambrose: By beating Daniel Jacobs this Saturday night, middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) could take his career to next level by becoming a superstar. Golovkin is poised to put himself in the place at the top of the pack at middleweight. All he needs is to defeat Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) to get to show the boxing world that he deserves to be viewed as the No.1 guy.

Some fans think that Golovkin won’t be seen as the No. 1 guy until he beats Mexican star Saul Canelo Alvarez. I don’t think that’s going to be needed. Canelo is more of a catch-weight fighter, who seems reluctant to settle down in any one division. Canelo and his management at Golden Boy Promotions are very selective in the fighters they take on as well. Golovkin doesn’t need a win over Canelo to show that he’s the best in my opinion. Just beating Jacobs will do the trick.

Golovkin will be fighting Jacobs in 6 days from now on March 18 on HBO pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York. Not only is this a great fight for Golovkin to show that he’s the best fighter in the middleweight division, but it also will let the boxing world and Canelo see what kind of PPV numbers he can pull in.

Golovkin’s only PPV effort to date was his fight against former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux in October 2015. That fight brought in 150,000 buys on HBO PPV. Those are respectable numbers for a foreign fighter making his debut in PPV. Golovkin didn’t have the benefit of fighting a highly popular fighter like Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao on PPV. Canelo fought Mayweather and Cotto on HBO PPV in the past, and not surprisingly the fights brought in good numbers.

You can argue that Canelo was able to get Mayweather and Cotto to fight him because he was viewed as a good but flawed fighter without the one-punch power to put either of those fighters in serious danger. If Mayweather and Cotto had chosen to fight Golovkin, they would have been risking being knocked out. Even if they made Golovkin miss with many of his punches, he’d still eventually land something that would put them at risk of being knocked out.

“It’s a tremendous matchup,” said Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to “Both guys have a lot to gain. Gennady can beat the clear #2 middleweight in the world, cements his position as best middleweight in the world. Danny Jacobs can, in one night, rocket to the top of the boxing world. Not just top of the middleweight division – to the top of the sport of boxing. He beats GGG, he takes all his titles and becomes The Man,” said Loeffler.

There’s no question that Golovkin will be the No.1 fighter in the middleweight division if he beats the 29-year-old Jacobs this Saturday night on March 18. Golovkin, 34, is already seen as the top fighter in the middleweight division today by the boxing public. However, there are still a number of doubters who don’t believe that Golovkin rates to be the top fighter at 160, given that his best scalp in his collection of 36 scalps is the very flawed David Lemieux. That’s probably the best fighter that Golovkin has beaten in the middleweight division today. But by beating the 6’0” Jacobs, Golovkin will shut down many of his critics, who will be forced to admit that he’s the best fighter in the 160 lb. division today. That doesn’t mean that the critics won’t continue to aim their sights on GGG and say that he still hasn’t beaten Canelo. Nevertheless, by beating Jacobs, Golovkin will show that he can beat the perceived No.2 fighter in the 160 lb. division.

Canelo is more of a hybrid type of fighter, who floats through different divisions to look for fights. Canelo isn’t fighting in just one division right now, and I suspect that won’t change in the future. Even when Canelo settles into the middleweight division, I think he’s going to continue his habit of fighting 147 and 154 lb. fighters at catch-weights. I wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo drags these fighters up to the full weight of 160 lbs. once he calls the middleweight division his home.

“Many people think that Danny is the most difficult test for Gennady,” said Loeffler. “Jacobs is physically much bigger than Gennady; he’s got great power and hand speed. According to many people, if anyone can beat GGG, Danny has the best chance. The world will be watching on March 18,” added Loeffler.

It’s definitely true that Jacobs has the best chance of anyone in the middleweight division to beat Golovkiin, and that’s based on his size and speed advantage over him. Jacobs is basically a super middleweight that boils down to fight in the middleweight division. He rehydrates into the mid-170s for his fights, and looks huge for his fights against middleweights. Jacobs’ weight advantage over Golovkin on Saturday is going to likely be substantial.

Golovkin doesn’t fight a lot of guys that are huge and fast like Jacobs. There’s a chance that Jacobs might have too much size and speed for Golovkin. There are limits to what even a good fighter like Golovkin can handle. If he doesn’t have the size to deal with the super middleweight like frame of Jacobs, then we could see him taste defeat for the first time in his career. However, Golovkin is considered to be the clear favorite to win this fight.

If the match goes beyond 6 rounds, the fighter will favor Golovkin to win by a knockout in the 2nd half. The reason for that is all the weight that Jacobs has to lose for him to get down to 160. He was weighed just 30 days ago at a solid 174 lbs. He wasn’t fat. This was an in shape Jacobs. Last Saturday, Jacobs weighed in at 167.8 pounds for the World Boxing Council’s mandated 7-day weigh-in for the fight. This is Jacobs after he dehydrated down in weight. Jacobs still has to take off close to 8 lbs. by this Friday’s weigh-in. While some boxing fans think that’s nothing, I disagree. When you’re still 8 lbs. away from making weight with just 6 days ago, it’s telling. It shows that you’re coming into the fight heavy. Whether that’s a tactic for Jacobs to try and use to beat Golovkin with size is unclear. But it’s going to be difficult for Jacobs to drain down the last 8 pounds by Friday, and then put all the weight back on to fight Golovkin at around 175 or heavier on Saturday. That weight is going to likely make Jacobs sluggish from the very start of the fight. If the match does go beyond 6 rounds, then Jacobs will likely start to fade and take punishment from GGG. Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez thinks that Jacobs is making a mistake by coming in heavy the way he is. He believes that it’s going to make him slower, and not as quick and elusive as he needs to be for this fight. Sanchez is very open with his views on Jacobs. Normally, you don’t get trainers giving their opposing fighters’ helpful advice the way that Sanchez is doing with Jacobs. But I guess he wants Golovkin to beat the best version of Jacobs possible without him having an excuse later on about him being too heavy for the fight.

Jacobs likely has no choice but to come in heavy for the fight, because he’s fought over 20 of his fights as a pro in the super middleweight division. Jacobs has only fought at 160 a little over 10 times during his pro career. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes criticism for him failing to make the 168 lb. limit for several of his fights in the last 4 years, but Jacobs has fought the vast majority of his fights during his career over the 160 lb. limit, and this is with him fighting in the middleweight division. I don’t think Jacobs finds it easy for him to make the middleweight limit, because he’s such a big guy.

If Jacobs isn’t weight drained on Saturday, this could be the biggest test of Golovkin’s career. The Jacobs that beat Peter Quillin by a 1st round knockout in 2015 would be a difficult test for Golovkin in theory. That was 2 years ago though. Jacobs has had it easy since then with just one fight against the aging 36-year-old Sergio Mora last September, and that was a needless rematch. Mora had no punching power at all, and it was a fight that did little to prepare Jacobs for a fight against Golovkin. It also did nothing to improve Jacobs, because Mora has much of his career at 154. Even in the junior middleweight division, Mora was a light punching fighter, who won his fights based on being slick.

You couldn’t pick a more different fighter than Golovkin if you tried. There’s no comparison between the two of them. Jacobs is coming into the Golovkin fight on Saturday night with little real preparation You can’t consider Mora as preparation for a fight against Golovkin, and you definitely can’t consider Quillin. The only fight on Jacobs’ entire resume that you could consider as a fight that would prepare him for Golovkin is Dmitri Pirog. That fight was 7 years ago in 2010, and Jacobs lost it by a 5th round knockout.

Golovkin’s trainer Sanchez tries to give Jacobs the benefit of the doubt in his loss to Pirog by saying that he was being held down by the referee Robert Byrd after he was knocked down in round 5 by a big right hand. However, Jacobs was flat on his back with his eyes closed for several moments before he started to try and get up. Byrd did what many referees would have done if they were in a similar situation with a fighter down on his back and looking motionless. Byrd did the right thing in stopping the contest. The fact of the matter is, Jacobs got knocked out badly in his toughest fight of his career. Since that fight, Jacobs has had 12 fights where he fought guys that were largely out of his class with the exception of his one fight against Quillin. 6 of those fights took place in the super middleweight division with Jacobs weighing over 160.

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