On Saturday night, March 18, 2017, in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) puts his undefeated record and Middleweight world titles on the line against Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs).
Golovkin will enter the ring on a 23 consecutive knockout streak and the highest KO percentage in Middleweight history.
Jacobs has knocked out the last 12 foes who stepped in the ring against him. The bout will be for the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC world titles and the bout is large enough to not only sell out The Garden but has enough interest to be delivered to the fight public via HBO Pay-Per-View.
The 34-year-old Golovkin is gunning for the sport’s No. 1 pound-for-pound slot, while the 29-year-old Jacobs will either become a household name poised for crossover stardom if he can solve the “Govenchy Code” or the Brooklyn native will just be road kill for Golovkin as he continues on his collision course with Mexican superstar and matinee idol, Canelo Alvarez.
Statistics will state that one of these champions will be stopped inside 12 rounds and both camps have praised the other side, but vowed victory for their men. Below are keys to victory for both Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs.
Each day this week we will reveal the next key to victory until we get to fight night.
Key No. 1 for Gennady Golovkin
Establish the Jab
Landing the jab early and with laser accuracy will keep Daniel Jacobs back, off balance and allow Gennady Golovkin to set up the powerful right hand which Jacobs won’t be able to stop.
In one of Golovkin’s most impressive victories, the Middleweight predator from Kazakhstan who now calls California home dispatched the dangerous David Lemieux in seven rounds in front of a capacity crowd of over 20,000 fans.
Starting from the first round, Golovkin’s brilliant use of the jab was a key to setting up the victory and keep the Canadian punching machine at bay.
According to Compubox, Golovkin landed 47 percent of the jabs he threw which allowed him to land 51 percent of his total punches. A lot has been said of whether Golovkin really allows opponents to get free shots on him in order for him to seem less invincible.
That was not the case on the October night in 2015 when Golovkin respected Lemieux enough to throw 359 jabs to Lemiuex’s 191.
Golovkin’s 170 landed jabs kept snapping Lemieux’s head back and set up an opportunity for Golovkin to shoot a left hook off the jab or the big right hand.
Jacobs will have a hard time getting past the jab to get in a position to land anything of significance himself. If Golovkin jabs Jacobs to death it will surely take the bout into deep waters where Golovkin will only continue to pick Jacobs apart until there isn’t much left except a carcass that either the referee or Jacobs’ longtime coach Andre Rozier will mercifully call for the beating to halt.
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said that they train virtually the same for all of their opponents, but it would be smart for the team in Big Bear to treat Jacobs’ power with the same respect they showed Lemieux. Although Golovkin’s last opponent Kell Brook, who was a Welterweight in a Middleweight’s body, was not the big puncher Jacobs is, Golovkin’s jab was a potent weapon which set up all sorts of problems for the Brook.
Before the bout was stopped in the fifth round, Golovkin managed to throw a total of 110 jabs and landed 58 of them at a 53 percent clip. That just shows how much less respect Golovkin’s team had for Brook’s power which supports why Brook was allowed to tag Golovkin numerous times flush.
The straight, laser-focused jab will ensure Jacobs doesn’t have the same opportunity to tee off as Brook had until one of Golovkin’s right hands broke his eye socket and required orbital bone surgery.
Key No. 1 for Daniel Jacobs
Show GGG What Shock and Awe Is
In the militar, the use of a spectacular display of overwhelming power is also known as “Shock and Awe” and it is used to stifle your opponent to death or submission–whichever comes first.
Daniel Jacobs must jump on Gennady Golovkin to shock his system and control the real estate of the ring to do more than just garner respect from the Kazakh predator.
Jacobs must hurt Golovkin and do it quickly. Otherwise Golovkin will either jab Jacobs repeatedly until an opening arises for a big GGG right hand or if Jacobs tries to move around Golovkin will cut the ring off as he has done dozens of time before and trap Jacobs in a very unkind and uncomfortable position that reeks of torture.
Golovkin is the bully of Middleweight division and bullies don’t like to get punched in the face. It’s true Mike Tyson won dozens of his bouts before he even threw the first punch. The sheer intimidation did more damage than Tyson’s dizzying right hooks and uppercuts.
Until James “Buster” Douglas had zero fear of anything Tyson could do to him that life hasn’t already done. Thus, Douglas punched Tyson’s lights out and that was that.
There is little that Golovkin can do to Jacobs that Dmitry Pirog hasn’t already done to him in the ring or that life hasn’t done to Jacobs outside the ring. Jacobs’ biggest win to date came when he charged out the corner to start a bout and hurt previously unbeaten Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin so badly that Quillin was on unsteady legs and could not defend himself, causing the referee Harvey Dock to end the bout after only 85 seconds.
Quillin tried to come at Jacobs with a jab, usually meant for pawing or feeling out your opponent and measuring distance. Jacobs came over the top with a brutal right hand to the temple and Quillin’s legs were gone.
Jacobs then jumped all over Quillin with Shock and Awe and completely overpowered the fellow Brooklynite until Quillin started flailing backwards, losing sense of where he was.
While Quillin has history of tasting the canvas, Golovkin has yet to be knocked down and it will take as much fire power from Jacobs, if not more to carry out the same result.
Both men will carry a well-crafted game plan into the ring on Saturday to defeat the other. If Jacobs hurts Golovkin early enough to shock the system, it could leave Abel Sanchez to scramble around looking for a backup plan the same way Tyson was searching the canvas for his mouth guard in Tokyo.
After all, that image of Tyson seemed improbable too.
Key No. 2 for Gennady Golovkin
Cut the Ring Off
The undefeated Middleweight world champion, who enters this showdown with Daniel Jacobs has 23 consecutive knockouts, is a master at cutting the ring off against his opponents. Jacobs will be one of the most athletic opponents Gennady Golovkin has seen, so he will try to move freely around the ring and stay out of harm’s way long enough to land his own power shots.
Golovkin will need to force Jacobs into a trap, which will force Jacobs to stand directly in front of Golovkin and trade. This can spell danger for Jacobs as we have seen Golovkin masterfully pick his spots and take his opponents out.
When Golovkin faced Daniel Geale in 2014 at Madison Square Garden, Geale at the time was thought to be Golvkin’s toughest opponent to date. Golovkin made Geale look ordinary as he blew the Australian away in three rounds.
Once Geale felt Golovkin’s power in the opening round, Geale did his best to move from side to side to keep Golovkin away. Needless to say it didn’t work. Nothing Geale did worked as a matter of fact. Golovkin forced Geale to move in the direction Golovkin needed him to go which landed Geale on the ropes with nowhere to go and the target practice commenced.
Several months later in 2014, Golovkin crossed the country to face Marco Antonio Rubio at StubHub Center in California and Golovkin made even quicker work of Rubio, dispatching him in two rounds.
Once again, once Rubio felt Golovkin’s power, the Mexican boxer wanted no part of getting hit again so he was trying to move away from the bazooka Golovkin carries for a right hand.
Golovkin cut the ring off and forced Rubio to back up instead of going left, away from the right hand. The end result, Golovkin landed heavy punches to drive Rubio to the canvas once and for all.
Key No. 2 for Daniel Jacobs
Move Your Head
Daniel Jacobs is known more for his power and tenacity than for his defensive acumen. However, Jacobs has yet to face anyone who is boxing’s version of “The Incredible Hulk.”
The old adage is power can’t be acquired. It’s a trait you are born with. Boxing lifers do believe however that defense can be learned and honed to get better.
When the opponent in front of you has the highest knockout percentage in the division’s history, it would be in Team Jacobs’ best interest to work on defensive moves to ward off the attack that is waiting for him on Saturday night in New York City.
Jacobs must not stand in one place and more importantly, he must never keep his head still. If Golovkin is going to try to tee off on a target, then Jacobs must make the target a moving one. Jacobs should have invested the time to study the Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez fight.
Alvarez is the bigger puncher, yet Mayweather brilliantly moved his head more than the lead character in “Beetlejuice” could do and Canelo just missed and missed and missed. Each time Canelo reached and extended, Mayweather made him pay with clean, effective punches and won the fight.
In the first bout against Sergio Mora in the summer of 2015, Jacobs didn’t move his head in the opening round and got caught by Mora who came to fight that night and suffered a leg injury, which prevented him from continuing the fight.
In their rematch over a year later in Reading, Pennsylvania Jacobs did a much better job of staying away from Mora’s power shots and landing his own to control the pace of the bout.
In one of Golovkin’s most impressive victories against David Lemieux, The Canadian believed he was strong enough to handle Golovkin’s power until of course he learned he could not.
Lemieux did a terrible job of moving his head, which enabled Golovkin to pop the jab as often as possible to back Lemieux up and then land the power shots that caused the severe damage.
Key No. 3 for Gennady Golovkin
Go to the Body
Gennady Golovkin is a prolific body puncher and can hurt his opponent to the body with either hand. We have yet to see any man stand up to a full on body assault by Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs can be the latest notch on Golovkin’s belt if Golovkin maintains the discipline to break Jacobs.
In 2013, Golovkin stopped highly touted contender Matthew Macklin inside three rounds with a crushing left hook to the body. Prior to that left hook, Golovkin made Macklin feel his power and started the excruciating process of picking him apart when the body shot took all the wind out of Macklin’s lungs and ended the night early.
The following year in what was supposed to be his stiffest test to date, Golovkin punished Daniel Geale all over the ring with stinging combinations that was started by a left hook to the body.
As Geale was trying to move from left to right to recover and survive the round, Golovkin landed bruising punches to end the fight in the third round and continued growing his legend to reach boxing stardom.
Jacobs is very athletic and will surely enter the contest on Saturday night in top condition. Golovkin needs to test Jacobs’ will early by testing his ability to take the body shot. Even if Jacobs takes the punch and doesn’t go down it is possible enough of the wind would get taken out of him to allow Golovkin to land some big punchers upstairs to end the night.
Key No. 3 for Daniel Jacobs
Land the Big Right Hand
Much has been made of Gennady Golovkin’s 23 consecutive knockout streak. Daniel Jacobs will enter the bout with an impressive streak of his own, stopping the last 12 opponents he has faced. Jacobs is a dangerous puncher and has used his straight right hand or right hook to get guys out of their early.
Golovkin has showed that he can be touched, but when he fought David Lemieux in 2015 he didn’t allow the Canadian to get too close the way he did against the likes of Willie Monroe and Kell Brook most recently. While it may not be advantageous for Jacobs to go toe-to-toe with Golovkin, the Brooklyn native must land his right hand to win the fight.
In his first bout against Sergio Mora in the summer of 2015 Jacobs was in the midst of some adversity and even tasted the canvas. When Jacobs got back up he landed his own right hand that not only dropped Mora but contributed to Mora sustaining a leg injury and ending the bout.
In his next and most impressive performance, Jacobs stopped former world champion Peter Quillin in the first round with a gigantic right hand. Quillin was completely stunned and was unaware of where he was and the fight was stopped.
Key No. 4 for Gennady Golovkin
Finish the Job
Gennady Golovkin is on a 23 consecutive knockout streak and comes into his bout against Daniel Jacobs with the highest knockout percentage in the storied history of the Middleweight division. Golovkin has shown that maintaining the killer spirit is not a problem for him–until one day it is, with father time creeping up on the bruiser who will turn 35 years old only a few weeks after this bout.
Golovkin and his team have said that Jacobs is the biggest test and threat to Golovkin’s brilliant streak of wins. If like the 36 who have tried before him, Jacobs finds himself in any type of trouble at all or shows signs of fatigue, Golovkin must trounce on the Brooklyn native and finish the job.
Jacobs, who will carry into this bout his own streak of 12 knockouts has one-punch knockout power and a hurt man can be a dangerous one. If at any time during the bout, Golovkin senses an opening, he must attack with full force and not let up until the referee pulls him off or he sees a towel flung into the ring.
Golovkin has said repeatedly that he is all in on his matchup and will not burn calories thinking about a mega fight with Canelo Alvarez or a potential unification matchup with Billy Joe Saunders in Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan.
Only Team Golovkin truly know if their man is able to block out any thoughts of shiny bright objects which lie ahead should Golovkin win, but it would be advantageous for Golovkin to fully focus on the tough competitor that Jacobs is.
Golovkin landed a blistering left hook on Kell Brook in his last outing which broke the Englishman’s eye socket that caused Brook to see three or four Golovkin’s and later required surgery to repair. One could argue Golovkin did not do enough to finish the job in that bout.
He did land big shots and Brook’s corner stopped the bout in the fifth, but the stoppage was caused more by the injury and the corner protecting Brook from possibly losing sight permanently than risking a knockout by Golovkin.
Had the injury not been as severe and had the IBF Welterweight champion had more pop in his hands, could Golovkin have been in some trouble? That is the question Jacobs will try to answer as he will enter as the bigger man with enough fire power to hurt anyone.
However, we haven’t seen Golovkin in any real trouble in the ring and we have seen Jacobs not only in trouble but also knocked out. It’s up to Golovkin to smell blood like a shark and go for the kill in the most unmerciful way.
Key No. 4 for Daniel Jacobs
Make it a Dog Fight
It was Gennady Golovkin who claimed he wanted to turn his last bout with Kell Brook into a street fight. He seemed as if he got off on the thought of going toe-to-toe with Brook.
For Daniel Jacobs to find success against the predator of the Middleweight division he will have to become nasty and turn the bout into a pier six brawl rather than the sweet science. Previous athletes who tried to box Golovkin found themselves trapped against the ropes and on the short end of a barrage of punishing blows.
Jacobs has to believe that Golovkin would want a street fight to break out only until it really turns into a brawl and Golovkin is hit with big right hooks and is unable to land his own. Jacobs must smother Golovkin and not allow him to find the comfortable distance needed to unload his weapons. Jacobs must take the scope away from the sniper.
If Golovkin is never allowed to launch his bazooka left hook or the missile he keeps in his right hand then Jacobs has a chance to hurt Golovkin. If Jacobs takes the mindset that either himself or Golovkin will get hurt and knocked out then he might just muster the strength needed to hurt Golovkin before Golovkin hurts him.
There are moments in professional sports that defy logic, yet they happen. The likes of Tom Brady, Michael Jordan and in this sport, Floyd Mayweather, have all experienced the feeling of overcoming insurmountable odds to defeat their opponent. It takes skill and strength with a mix of courage and from what we know about Daniel Jacobs there is no shortage of courage in his being.
Who are you picking in the Middleweight fight between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs?