Editor’s note: Tim Burgess provides occasional fight coverage for Houston Sports and Stuff. Follow him on Twitter @timburg
By TIM BURGESS
As a fan of the sweet science, I try to generally keep my opinions to myself. I’m not trying to be some sort of boxing-evangelist; I say if you like a fighter, buy his fights. If you don’t, stay at home. I don’t see a reason to try to sell anyone on watching any particular fighter they haven’t seen. But I do keep one exception to my rule: Gennady Golovkin.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Golovkin, let me try to explain what you’re missing. Golovkin has the punching power of Mike Tyson to go along with the pressure style of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. He cuts off the ring like no fighter I’ve seen, hopelessly trapping overwhelmed opponents in the corner, leaving them susceptible to shots to the head and thudding body blows. “Triple G,” as he’s known in the ring, has knocked out 23 straight opponents en route to a 36-0 record. Golovkin isn’t all about punching power either. He’s a former Olympic silver medalist, and has the best chin in the sport to go along with underrated defensive skills.
Despite having what seems like the complete package, Golovkin isn’t a superstar, and his Pay-Per-View fight with Daniel Jacobs likely won’t be a monster seller this weekend. Why? Many reasons, actually. First Golovkin hails from Kazakhstan, a country without a wide United States fan base to support him. For whatever reason casual fight fans tend to support their countrymen. Pay-Per-View star du jour Canelo Alvarez draws tremendously with Mexican-American fans. Golovkin does not have this luxury. Secondly, Golovkin hasn’t been able to draw any of the major names in his weight class into the ring. Triple G has the unique distinction of being shamelessly avoided by the last three lineal middleweight champions. First it was Sergio Martinez who avoided Golovkin, instead opting for a big money fight with Miguel Cotto, a natural junior middleweight. When the smaller Cotto took the belt from Martinez, Golovkin came calling. Cotto didn’t answer. He instead held the belt hostage for over a year, ultimately losing a catchweight fight to Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez chose to vacate his WBC title and fight the likes of Liam Smith rather than get in the ring with Golovkin.
Golovkin defends his unified middleweight belts against Daniel Jacobs, a solid fighter from Brooklyn. He’s 32-1, has a secondary title belt, and has knocked out 12 straight fighters on his way to this fight. But Gennady Golovkin he is not. Saturday at Madison Square Garden Jacobs will try to prove me wrong.
Despite hitting the American boxing scene just a few years ago, Golovkin is less than a month shy of his 35th birthday. Triple G had a long amateur career and extensive European boxing career before coming stateside. Despite his advanced age, Golovkin has continued to knock out opponents. In his last fight in September, Golovkin was criticized for looking sloppy in a fifth round knockout of Kell Brook in front of a pro-Brook crowd in London. Medical results revealed that Golovkin fractured Brook’s eye socket in the second round on his way to victory.
Jacobs is known as the “Miracle Man” after being diagnosed with bone cancer in 2012. He spent a year and a half away from the sport before returning to the ring. Since returning Jacobs is 8-0 with eight knockouts.
The co-feature pits Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in a WBC Super flyweight title defense against Wisaksil Wangek. If Golovkin isn’t the pound for pound best fighter in the world, it may be Chocolatito, who is 46-0 with 38 knockouts, and employs a fan-friendly active style.
Golovkin by knockout. Jacobs is probably the best fighter that has been willing to get in the ring with Golovkin, but I don’t see it mattering. Unless Golovkin’s skills have started to erode due to his age, he is just the more gifted fighter. Golovkin is a superior puncher and tactician, and has a better chin to boot. He’ll impose his tempo on the fight and do to Jacobs what he’s done to his last 23 opponents.
Follow me on twitter @timburg Saturday
night. I’ll be scoring the fight there and would love your feedback.