By Andreas Hale
Anybody who has been watching boxing for an extended period of time is aware of the significance of this weekend’s Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs fight. There is no doubt that, this is GGG’s stiffest test to date against an opponent with a decorated amateur background, a penchant for keeping the judges out of his fights and a true middleweight who has all of the ability to give Golovkin all he can handle for as long as the fight goes on Saturday night.
It’s almost fascinating that Jacobs is coming into this fight as a significant underdog that can be found as high as a +560, according to Sportsbook Review. It’s either totally discrediting Jacobs’ resume, which includes a first round annihilation of Peter Quillin and twelve straight knockouts. Granted, he was knocked out against Dmitry Pirog (who has since retired after injuries sustained during training for a fight with Golovkin) but the manner in which Jacobs has been dismissed is grossly overstated.
To be honest, this may be the toughest fight of Golovkin’s career, and that includes a potential showdown with Canelo Alvarez in the fall.
Before anyone takes the statement as boxing blasphemy, it must be taken into account that Jacobs is quite the accomplished opponent who has looked extraordinarily impressive during his tenure as a career middleweight. Granted, his resume isn’t full of recognizable names as Canelo’s, but can anyone comfortably pick Canelo to defeat Jacobs if they were to fight?
Obviously, everyone is fawning over a showdown between Canelo and GGG, but GGG vs. Jacobs is just as competitive from a physical standpoint. Comparing resumes, Canelo certainly has the edge in the quality of opposition he has faced, which includes Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Erislandy Lara. However, upon closer inspection, it is evident that Canelo has held a significant size advantage on fight night against just about every single opponent he has faced. In a way, it cheapens his victories over a fading Miguel Cotto, who he dwarfed in their battle and takes the luster off of victories against Shane Mosley and Amir Khan. There’s no shame in losing to Floyd Mayweather, regardless of the weight. But it’s difficult to not look at Canelo’s resume with a raised eyebrow.
That being said, it’s also not as if Canelo has flattened all of his opposition. He didn’t look particularly good against Erislandy Lara, but that’s forgivable when you consider the Cuban’s pedigree and the manner in which he fights. However, there is a prevailing thought that Canelo could have been more impressive against Cotto and it took him far too long to get rid of a listless Alfredo Angulo. What matters is that he has won all of his fights but there are instances where you can take a magnifying glass to Alvarez’ resume and poke holes in the suggestion that he’s one of the top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world.
Jacobs, on the other hand, hasn’t faced the same caliber of opponents. But that is because he has spent his entire career campaigning at middleweight. What he has done with the opposition is something that should be noted. A 32-1 record with 29 knockouts doesn’t happen by accident. Perhaps Quillin’s ability was overstated when Jacobs ran him over in a round. There are certainly some questions surrounding Jacobs’ chin after the pillow punching Sergio Mora managed to deposit him on the canvas in their first fight. But the fact remains that Jacobs is a finisher who has rarely looked bad in a fight outside of the Pirog loss (and, even then, he was winning before he was caught by a punch).
When you also take into account that Jacobs is a full-blown middleweight that will not be conceding any advantages to Golovkin, it adds to the narrative. Canelo has spent much of his career post-Mayweather battling opponents that he is considerably larger than. The weight game is something that Canelo plays very well and has been a sticking point in the build toward a fight with GGG.
Jacobs and Golovkin have had to worry about no such thing. They are 160 pounders who will come to fight under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. There will be no haggling over a couple of pounds or fines put in place for an opponent who clearly struggles with weight as he attempts to come down to a weight that he hasn’t fought at in four years. Not on March 18, 2017. Two true middleweights who have ran roughshod over the division will greet each other with no plans of having the judges decide the outcome.
Yes, GGG should be the favorite. But to completely discount Jacobs would be downright silly. Although, if Golovkin were to dominate The Miracle Man, the criticism regarding the fact that GGG hasn’t fought anybody should evaporate. His place among the best pound for pound fighters in the world would be cemented and he deserves to be the prohibitive favorite against Canelo, regardless of how good or bad the Mexican looks against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May.
If you are looking for what could be the first true test in Gennady Golovkin’s career, don’t wait until a Canelo fight. That test comes in the form of Daniel Jacobs and the questions will be answered on PPV.