After a long period of Las Vegas take over, big time boxing in the Big Apple is well and truly back. New York has once again embraced the biggest and best of world championship boxing, with yet another superfight landing on its doorstep.
After Keith Thurman outpointed Danny Garcia in an eagerly anticipated contest down in Brooklyn, now it is the turn of Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs to take stage on the most famous of boxing arenas.
Known to most as simply ‘The Garden’, Madison Square Garden has hosted some of the biggest and best fights and fighters over decades. Now it hosts the biggest test of a potentially great career for the heavily feared ‘Triple G’.
The Kazakh machine already owns both the WBC and IBF Middleweight titles – and has garnered a reputation that could see his names in lights with the greats of one of boxing’s finest divisions.
But for Golovkin 36-0(33KO’s) his reputation has betrayed him, and fights with the best have not materialised.
The Middleweight division has rarely lacked in depth, but this era has left Golovkin with little to choose from. But on Saturday night, Golovkin has summoned a dancing partner fit for the ball.
Daniel Jacobs 32-1(29KO’s) is no stranger to the most hostile of challenges. The Brooklynite – originally from Brownsville – has barely missed a beat in his career despite facing death head on back in 2011.
The popular fighter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a bone cancer.
The best doctors were hoping for Jacobs was that he would be able to walk again, but following a successful surgery and a quite remarkable recovery, Jacobs was back doing what he does best in October 2012.
That recovery led to a second world title attempt in 2014, where Jacobs completely outgunned Jarrod Fletcher in 5 rounds.
A late knockout of Caleb Truax followed, as did an early and entertaining finish against Sergio Mora.
In his first world title clash, Jacobs was stunned by a heavy handed and quite brilliant Dmitry Pirog – losing inside 5 rounds. Pirog – who at one point was set to face Golovkin – was never able to fulfil what potential he may have had as back injuries cut his unbeaten career short.
Jacobs however erased all those memories when he stunned world class former champion Peter Quillin inside a ferocious round at the Barclays Center, December 2015.
Jacobs handed ‘Kid Chocolate’ his maiden career defeat and in turn elevated himself into the spot of the second-best Middleweight on the planet.
Jacobs heads into this weekend’s mega fight with Golovkin with 14 consecutive knockout wins to his name – two coming prior to his only career loss. Meanwhile Golovkin dwarfs that with 23 straight stoppage victories, including knockouts in all 17 of his world title contests.
Barring Jacobs and Billy Joe Saunders, Golovkin has near enough wiped the Middleweight division clean – and now he targets the two belts he currently does not hold, the WBA (Jacobs) and WBO (Saunders).
Combined, these two knockout artists share a remarkable record of 68 wins, 1 loss and 62 knockouts.
In spite of that, Golovkin comes in as a rather heavy favourite.
The odds are not as ominous for Jacobs as all of ‘GGG’s’ previous world title foes, but they are wide enough to suggest that Golovkin is seen as the outstanding talent in this division.
The fear for Jacobs is that while he has raw power that can almost match what Golovkin is capable of producing, but it is the chin of Golovkin that has yet to show even a chink of damage.
Meanwhile Jacobs has been stopped and dropped in the past.
To add to this, Jacobs is seen to be at his most dangerous in the early stages of a contest, while Golovkin slowly grows into a fight, seeing in the early exchanges what an opponent can offer – not leaving himself wide open as Quillin did in the ring with a dynamite Jacobs.
Gradually opponents have enjoyed more and more success against the ridiculously heavy handed Golovkin, but the Middleweight king has a full tank of fuel and methodically boxes to a tee, cutting the ring off at every angle.
For Jacobs, his best bet surely will lie upon attempting to take control of the centre ring, and boxing from there. The closer to centre ring Jacobs is, the more space he will have to move around Golovkin.
Jacobs is certainly the bigger man and will look so on the night. This could be critical in the later rounds, not allowing for Golovkin to become a bully in the ring.
Golovkin boxed the bigger man from a distance in David Lemieux in October 2015, but Lemieux was set on scoring the heaviest blows he could, while Jacobs should have more intent on outscoring Golovkin with his slightly greater reach.
But while Jacobs does bring more to the table that Lemieux did that night, this seems a stage that fans see the best of the 34-year old Gennady.
GGG vs Jacobs Prediction
Jacobs will be ahead after the opening 5 or 6 rounds, his rapid jab and good movement will keep him clear of danger, while also causing Golovkin’s face to mark up.
The New York faithful will be buoyed by Jacobs’ impressive start, but gradually Golovkin will grind his way back into the contest.
An early knockout seems unlikely, despite the power on show. Jacobs will be wise enough not to take the risk, while Golovkin sets himself up to break Jacobs down in the bouts second half.
After 8 or 9 rounds of pure quality from both corner’s Golovkin will finally begin to break through the Jacobs guard with regularity.
Stunned and tired Jacobs will look to throw everything he can to lay claim to all three major belts on the line.
GGG vs Jacobs Prediction:
But without missing a beat Golovkin will continue to eye up his opportunities, eventually dropping and stopping Jacobs around the 10th of a phenomenal fight that leaves both coming out the other side as even bigger stars than they already were.