Daniel Jacobs gave Gennady Golovkin the fight of his life, and may even have deserved to win. But on Saturday night on HBO Pay-Per-View, Golovkin escaped with the close decision in a tense, tactical contest.
Jacobs, a big, fast middleweight with a technical pedigree who has overcome worse than Golovkin — that is, cancer — gave Golovkin fits. This writer scored it 114-113 for Golovkin; one judge had it the same, and the other two scored it 115-112.
We saw, with the Kell Brook fight, that a quick, gutsy boxer who made Golovkin back up could neutralize his ungodly offense. Jacobs gave him some of that, and showed more ability to withstand his shots than Brook, a welterweight, could.
Early, an especially cautious GGG gave Jacobs a chance to back up, move and jab. But in the 4th, a pair of big Golovkin right hands and a stumble put Jacobs down.
Then, though, Jacobs implemented the game plan that worked more often than not. They traded a lot of rounds, to be sure. But in the back half of the fight, Jacobs carried more of them. It just so happened with the fight potentially on the line in the 12th, Golovkin closed better.
The fight had a feel like Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev: the superior athlete goes down early, lots of back and forth after that, the purer boxer hitting harder than you realize and the big puncher boxing more than expected.
It’s not so much that GGG got exposed, per se, but it’s not clear how you beat him. It doesn’t mean it’s easily done. GGG still found ways to steal back the initiative here and there. And you have to be able to take his shots (Jacobs ended a lengthy knockout streak). A rematch would work for everyone, but…
Can Canelo Alvarez do what Jacobs did? That’s where it gets interesting. Canelo-GGG looks like a winnable fight for the Mexican, more now than ever.
(Golovkin, left; Jacobs, right. via)