Golovkin-Jacobs

Tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden, the most anticipated fight in years (by me, anyway) will take place: Gennady Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs for the world middleweight title. I asked my son Eric, who manages boxers in his spare time, to preview the bout. He in turn consulted his friend Caleb Truax, the best Minnesota fighter of the current generation. I’ll start with their thoughts:

Tomorrow night, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs face off for the undisputed Middleweight Title. If you’ve been following boxing for the last couple of years, you know that GGG has been destroying all comers. The knock against him, if there is one, is that he hasn’t been facing elite middleweights (mostly because they won’t agree to fight him).

Fortunately, that narrative ends tomorrow night, because Danny Jacobs is a full-fledged middleweight titleholder and should give GGG everything he can handle. Golovkin, 34, enters the fight with a record of 36-0 with 33 wins by knockout, having stopped 23 opponents in a row. He is universally regarded as the best 160 pound fighter on the planet.

Jacobs, 30, is 32-1 with 29 knockouts and has stopped his last 12 opponents, including a devastating 1st round knockout of “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin in New York City – a signature win. Jacobs is the legitimate #1 contender to Golovkin’s throne.

Golovkin (L) and Jacobs at their weigh-in

Golovkin (L) and Jacobs at their weigh-in

Danny Jacobs is 6’ tall, has 73” reach and is regarded as highly athletic. His lone defeat came in 2010, just months before a devastating cancer diagnosis. Since his return to health, Jacobs has been on an unstoppable tear looking better and better with each performance. He is from New York City, and will be fighting in his own backyard. This, combined with his 12 fight knockout streak, makes him a dangerous contender – however, odds makers have installed him as a 5/1 underdog. Why? Because GGG is considered to be THAT dominant a champion.

GGG is known to walk his opponents down behind an iron chin, and ferociously deliver the knockout as his opponent crumbles beneath the pressure. This has been the outcome 23 fights in a row, and it seems difficult to imagine that anyone, even Danny Jacobs, can reverse this trend.

What we do know is that Jacobs, on paper, looks to be the best fighter that GGG has ever faced. To find out how Danny Jacobs might beat Golovkin, I reached out to Caleb Truax, a friend of mine and middleweight contender who went 12 rounds with Danny Jacobs for the WBA world title in 2015.

EH: Caleb, can Danny Jacobs win the fight tomorrow night? What is your prediction?

CT: I think he’s got a better shot than people think. But I don’t think he’ll be able to handle GGG’s power over the course of the whole fight. That being said, if Jacobs can land a big shot early and make GGG think twice about walking him down, it will be a really interesting fight.

EH: Based on your experience in the ring with him, does Jacobs have that power to keep GGG honest?

CT: Absolutely. And the quickness to deliver that power. It’s all about him being able to withstand the power of GGG.

EH: Do you think this is the toughest fight for GGG out there right now?

CT: The biggest/best fight for GGG is Canelo [Alvarez], but outside of that GGG-Jacobs is next!

My prediction is that Danny Jacobs leads on the scorecards early, only to succumb to the pressure of GGG later in the fight, making for an exciting dynamic in which GGG is chasing Jacobs down with the titles on the line. As GGG always promises, expect a “Big Drama Show” from MSG this weekend. It’s a win-win for boxing fans: either Danny Jacobs pulls it off and becomes the unified champion to punctuate a storybook comeback from cancer, or GGG continues his march toward the megafight with Canelo Alvarez this fall. Either way, this should be a heck of a fight.

I saw the Caleb Truax-Danny Jacobs fight in Chicago a couple of years ago; I happened to be there on business. Caleb was ranked something like 12th or 15th in the world at that time, but it was obvious that Jacobs was a tremendous talent. Jacobs scored a 12th round TKO with a minute to go, after Caleb, knowing he was behind on points, came out looking for a knockout. I was deeply impressed by Jacobs’s skill.

As I’ve written before, Golovkin doesn’t seem to mind getting hit, which is one reason his fights are so exciting. He is the polar opposite of Floyd Mayweather, always willing to take a punch to deliver two. Or three or four. But I’ve always thought that someday, GGG’s willingness to take a punch will cost him his titles. Tomorrow may be the night when it finally happens.

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