By Matt Richardson
The KO streak may have ended early Sunday morning at Madison Square Garden in New York City but the much longer unbeaten run for unified WBC/WBA/IBF middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin continued unabated following a tight unanimous decision victory against Danny Jacobs.
Golovkin scored a fourth round knockdown but otherwise had a lot of difficulty with Jacobs lateral movement and only won the fight by a single point on one scorecard. Ultimately, Golovkin secured the win via scores of 115-112 (twice) and 114-113.
“No, I don’t have a lot of problem,” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO’s) said at the post-fight press conference. “Speed is good. Distance is good. Daniel, you know, he’s very good moving today. Very clean fight. I respect him. Just, I knock him down, Daniel, I respect don’t lose control. Everything in control for 12 rounds. It’s very good. I needed 12 rounds, too. Its very good fight for me. Very good experience.”
“I definitely think I shocked a lot of people tonight because going in I was definitely the underdog and I had no chance,” Jacobs (32-2, 29 KO’s) said. “So, I proved who I am and I proved what I could do but all I could do is look forward to the future.”
“We expected a tough fight like we got,” stated Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez. “Danny was a little more resilient than really I thought he was going to be. But I think we had a great card all the way up and down. The fight before us was great. Gennady fought the kind of fight that I wanted him to and Danny one day very soon will be champion because he deserves to be champion.”
Jacobs fought much better than most experts had predicted going in. Golovkin also didn’t appear to be as sharp as usual. Maybe that was due to a significant weight advantage Jacobs had on fight night (he didn’t partake in an IBF-mandated same-day weigh-in). And maybe it was simply because he was a better fighter than expected.
Golovkin had his own view.
“Maybe I wait too long,” he stated. “Way too long. I needed just one punch, like lucky punch. Sometimes it’s different. Daniel, he’s a world champion. And he’s very good fighter. And I told you, he doesn’t lose control. It’s a very good fight, today.”
“He’s getting a lot better but the opponents are getting better, too,” Sanchez said of his star pupil.
“Well, I’m really proud of myself that I went in there and I gave it all that I had,” Jacobs stated. “I showed some moments of true grit. You know, the fight didn’t go in my favor although I do really feel like I won that fight. I definitely think it at least could’ve been a draw, to say the least. But it didn’t go my way and I won’t complain.”
“But I’m happy that, like I’ve said inside the ring, the fans ultimately were the winners because that definitely wasn’t a dull fight,” Jacobs continued. “We traded, we boxed and we used our skills and we entertained everyone. That was our job and I felt like we did our job 110 percent. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I know that with the performance that I had now that it’s not over for me, that the future is that much brighter and we are going to continue to keep pushing.”
Where Jacobs pushes on to from here wasn’t exactly known by Sunday but his performance was an impressive one, albeit via disputed decision. His stock certainly improved and he’s right in the mix for another big middleweight fight.
Golovkin, meantime, is likely to proceed with a June 10 unification fight with WBO counterpart Billy Joe Saunders. Assuming Golovkin wins then, and that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez wins against Julio Cesar Chavez on May 6, the two star fighters could potentially fight one another on September 16.
Despite some early projections that the fight would sell out the arena, it came a few seats short of doing so. The final announced attendance was 19,939. Surprisingly, despite Jacobs being a hometown fighter, “GGG” actually had more fans in the Garden for his October 2015 fight against Canadian David Lemieux.
New WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KO’s), who shockingly knocked down pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez before going on to win a controversial upset 12-round decision, didn’t make the post-fight press conference and was instead sent directly to the local hospital for observation. Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KO’s) was also sent to the hospital in lieu of attending the presser.