By Keith Idec
However you think Gennady Golovkin looked against Daniel Jacobs, Abel Sanchez knows that fight served an important purpose for the Kazakh knockout artist entering his career-defining fight against Canelo Alvarez.
Golovkin won a close unanimous decision over Jacobs and struggled at times to deal with Jacobs’ boxing ability and movement during their middleweight title fight March 18 at Madison Square Garden. His critics contend based on that performance that the 35-year-old Golovkin is slowing down, and was exposed by a strong middleweight who can box and was able to withstand his power.
Sanchez still considers the Jacobs fight a positive experience because going 12 rounds for the first time in his 11-year pro career provided Golovkin with a confident boost his trainer thinks he needed entering his fight Saturday night in Las Vegas. Sanchez believes there’s a chance Golovkin-Alvarez goes the distance as well, and he wouldn’t have wanted that to be Golovkin’s first such experience against a Mexican superstar who has gone 12 rounds nine times in nearly 12 years as a pro.
“I think that the Canelo fight has a chance of being a 12-round fight,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com recently. “So if we don’t go 12 rounds in a fight [before Saturday night] – it’s hard to understand it unless you’re a fighter. But if you’ve never been 12 rounds, in your mind you’re messing with yourself. You don’t think that you can do it.
“I think the Jacobs fight proved to him – not to me, because I know he can, because I’ve seen it in the gym – but proved to him that he can go 12 rounds against a big, durable, hard-punching fighter, a very skilled fighter. So now that’s out of the way. So coming into the Canelo fight, or future fights against bigger guys, he knows that he can go 12. So that’s not gonna be a worry in his mind.”
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) will defend his IBF, IBO and WBA middleweight titles against Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) in the main event of a four-fight HBO Pay-Per-View telecast Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena ($74.95 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.