Madison Square Garden, New York City - IBF, IBO, WBC, WBA middleweight world champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin earned a unanimous decision over Daniel "Miracle Man" Jacobs on Saturday to retain his middleweight belts but not before boxing's knockout king was taken the twelve round distance for the first time.
Judges Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld both scored the fight 115-112 and Max DeLuca had it 114-113 for Golovkin.
Cancer survivor Jacobs was an underdog going in but he used his 10-pound weight and reach to his advantage and possibly provided the blueprint for Canelo Alvarez to use against the 35-year-old Kazakh in a future title fight.
Daniel Jacobs is nicknamed 'Miracle Man' after his career was almost ended in 2011 because of osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer
Golovkin, who improved to 37-0, floored Jacobs early in the fourth round with two rapid fire overhand rights to record the only knockdown of the fight.
Golovkin had won 33 of his previous 36 fights by knockout as his 23 fight knockout streak, which dated back to 2008, came to a halt. He has a 92 percent knockout rate, the best ratio of any middleweight in boxing history.
Golovkin's IBF title was not on the line because Jacobs declined to attend the Saturday morning weigh in. Jacobs needed to be within 10 pounds of Friday's official weigh-in weight or lose the chance to fight for the IBF title.
The 30-year-old Jacobs decided the extra weight in the ring was more important than fighting for all of Golovkin's titles and the gamble almost paid off. He dropped to 32-2, with 29 knockouts.
"Twenty-three knockouts in a row is a pretty great run. Can't knock everyone out, and because of Danny's class and his size and his boxing IQ, he put up a great fight. We knew going in it would be a tough fight," said Golovkin's promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
"You can never overlook Danny Jacobs, but Gennady welcomed the challenge to show where his skills were at. Maybe because he didn't knock out Danny, it will give some other top middleweights motivation to get in the ring with him.
"We haven't seen a decision with Gennady for a long time, and it's not something we're used to, but it shows what a great warrior Daniel Jacobs is. There was no dancing here. It was all warriors with a lot of heart."