By Matt Richardson at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
Unified WBC/WBA/IBF \ middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 34 KO’s) had a tough time Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City when he was forced to go the distance for the first time since 2008 in a unanimous decision victory against WBA regular titleholder Danny Jacobs (32-2, 29 KO’s). In a fight in which all experts predicted a knockout, Golovkin won a surprising decision on scores of 115-112 (twice) and 114-113. Fightnews had Jacobs a winner, 114-113.
Ultimately, a jab-right-right combination that knocked Jacobs down in the fourth round was crucial. Without that, one judge would have had the bout scored a draw. Golovkin, known for his heavy-hitting aggressive style and Jacobs, who scored highlight-reel knockouts of his own, ultimately fought a tactical fight in which both men avoided the power punches of the other.
The fight could be broken down into two basic segments. Early in the night, Golovkin came forward behind a stiff jab while Jacobs’ cautiousness overtook any instincts to remain active. But after the knockdown in the fourth, Golovkin changed course and began looking for an opening that wasn’t there. Jacobs took advantage and he started boxing and moving well. The movement seemed to befuddle Golovkin at times and he couldn’t get his punches off in an effective manner.
It also didn’t help Golovkin that Jacobs blew off a same-day weigh-in required by the IBF.
That weigh-in would have determined how much weight the Brooklynite had gained since meeting the 160-pound requirement on Friday. But Jacobs skipped the weigh-in Saturday morning. He didn’t get on a scale for HBO (which televised the fight) either, leading to speculation that he could’ve been a light heavyweight by the time the first bell rang.
Ultimately, however, a fight that all but screamed “vicious knockout” ended with a tight and disputed decision.
Golovkin stated afterward that he would be open to giving Jacobs a rematch but he’s more likely to fight WBO counterpart Billy Joe Saunders in June before finally (hopefully?) fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September. Jacobs, meantime, swollen and bruised, said he thought he won the fight but would be moving on regardless if a rematch opportunity was on the table.