By Edward Chaykovsky
This past Saturday night at New York's Madison Square Garden, Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) defied the odds in more than one way.
He not only went the distance with IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) - he also came very close to pulling off the upset by losing a competitive twelve round unanimous decision.
Jacobs survived a fourth round knockdown to win on close scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113.
Last September, after Golovkin stopped IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in five rounds, GGG's trainer Abel Sanchez made a very bold statement.
"Nobody from 154 to 168 pounds can go twelve rounds with him," Sanchez said.
Not only did Jacobs last the twelve round distance, but he made it a very close fight. Golovkin had stopped his last 23 opponents, he was a huge favorite with the bookies and nobody had lasted more than eleven rounds with him.
Sanchez admitted that he was wrong about his knockout prediction.
“Danny was more resilient than I thought he’d be. He’s clearly the second-best middleweight in the world,” Sanchez said.
Even Golovkin showed a lot of respect after the fight, stating that he was unable to put Jacobs away.
“This fight was very good,” Golovkin said. “He’s very good, very smart [and] he’s a very quality fighter. I couldn’t destroy him He is a very clean, very good fighter. It is my first test for twelve rounds.”
Golovkin's knockout streak dated back to 2008 and he had a 92 percent knockout rate, the best ratio of any middleweight in boxing history.
“At times I stood toe-to-toe with him to see what the power was like, what everybody was talking about, and it wasn’t that bad,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs is nicknamed “Miracle Man” after his career was almost ended in 2011 because of osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He made a full recovery but spent 19 months out of the sport while battling and recovering from cancer.
Jacobs felt he won the fight but said the judge’s favored the champion.