Early Look at Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs

Credit: Will Hart - HBO

Golovkin vs. Jacobs Set for March 18th, 2017:

The boxing world is once again teeming with excitement as the year comes to an end, as another good scrap is  on the horizon with the recently announced March 18, 2017 matchup between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Danny” Jacobs at Madison Square Garden.

The original planned date for this fight (December 10) was taken off of the table and it looked as though this one might go to purse bid. However, continued talks between both camps have kept this interesting matchup alive.

The bout is slated to be televised on HBO PPV and is a significant step in Golovkin’s mission to consolidate the division’s alphabet belts. Make no mistake, Golovkin understands what is at stake, but the moment is not lost on Jacobs either, whose resurrected career following a disappointing ring defeat and triumphant personal battle with cancer are well documented.

We are undoubtedly witnessing a spectacle of rare magnificence in the form of the Kazakhstan puncher GGG. Golovkin is a bit of an enigma trapped between potential greatness and obscurity by the very qualities that make him special. Golovkin appears to have it all – otherworldly power, a sturdy chin, decent hand speed and good punch variation. He has everything, that is, except a career-defining fight, but not for lack of effort.

Credit: Andy Samuelson / PBC

Credit: Andy Samuelson / PBC

Jacobs (32-1, 29 Ko’s) has an impressive ring record and owns the WBA title. Some would say that the Brooklyn native is markedly better than any fighter that Golovkin has faced. “The Miracle Man” is a legit middleweight with knockout power in both hands. Jacobs is not only skilled, but also a pinpoint puncher and one of the more efficient finishers in the division. He’s made four successful title defenses and has faced decent opposition since his lone defeat at the hands of Dmitry Pirog six years ago.

Jacobs is most effective at coming forward but is not so adept when forced to fight on the back foot. He was thrown off of his game by Pirog’s awkward, fast-handed assault and would be obliterated by a crushing right hand that he never saw coming in round 5. The Russian was the first opponent to expose Jacobs’ chin and durability issues.

These deficiencies would resurface years later against lightly regarded Sergio Mora when Jacobs was decked and visibly hurt by a left hand as both fighters traded first round knockdowns. Jacobs has been solid against all other opposition but the fact that he was hurt by a fighter like Mora is a red flag.

There’s no blueprint for beating Golovkin, because it’s never happened and it’s never been close to happening. But there are certain guidelines to look at… Jacobs must make Golovkin respect his power early by landing solid power shots and boxing intelligently from the center of the ring.

Golovkin is not hard to hit and prefers to feel his opponents out first before launching a full scale assault. Jacobs can take advantage here by dictating the pace and banking rounds with his accuracy and superior speed. Jacobs is also an explosive puncher and is theoretically capable of scoring a knockdown if Golovkin gets careless.

The problem arises when Jacobs realizes that Golovkin looks as if he can absorb an inhuman amount of punishment and that is where the real fight begins. Now, he’ll have to keep one of the most avoided pugilists in the world from stalking and cutting him down. Jacobs will need to maintain his wits and continue to give Golovkin different looks by adjusting his angles of attack and employing constant movement to avoid incoming blows. Becoming a stationary target whether that is by covering up or trading punches is futile and counterproductive.

So could Jacobs be the elusive dance partner that Golovkin has long sought? Does he have any more reasonable chance of derailing the “GGG” Express than the previous 36 opponents which includes 33 knockout victims? Stay tuned.

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