By William Trillo
As always, we appreciate when our faithful reader David McGarry chimes in with his thoughts about the big fights, but on this one it’s hard to agree with his insight. Although his thoughts are concise it seems his prediction on the eventual outcome is way off.
Dear Mr. Trillo,
On March 18, there will be plenty of people in New York with sore heads because they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a little too hard. Later that day, it’s the turn of the world’s two best middleweight boxers to inflict headaches on each other when they meet at Madison Square Gardens. Gennady Golovkin puts his titles on the line against mandatory challenger Daniel Jacobs. Both have won nearly all their fights by knockout, so it has been easy to sell this fight as a shootout along the lines of Hagler v Hearns.
The Kazakh champion starts as a fairly heavy favorite mainly because of the single blemish on his challenger’s record. In 2010, Jacobs was stopped in the fifth round by Dmitry Pirog when fighting for the vacant WBO middleweight title. A few months (and two routine wins against journeymen) later, Jacobs was diagnosed with bone cancer, and at one point it seemed unlikely he would ever walk again. Under the circumstances, a loss for a world title seems perfectly understandable – he was almost certainly suffering from that cancer at the time. He took over a year off to recover, and since then Jacobs has knocked out all of his opponents.
Jacobs has two knockout wins against the fairly light hitting Sergio Mora, but in their first meeting both fighters were knocked down in the first round. This led to renewed questions about Jacobs’ chin. No one disputes his punching power – it’s his capacity to absorb punishment that is in doubt.
Meanwhile, GGG has been out of the ring since last September, and his last outing – against IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook – left many observers wondering if he was just starting to decline. In that fight, Brook landed some impressive combinations that were not quite powerful enough to inflict lasting damage on the bigger man. The champion won a war of attrition, breaking Brook’s eye socket early on, and the injury seriously hampered his opponent’s vision.
That fight was the first time any opponent has made Golovkin look even slightly vulnerable. It was a brief moment, so how relevant will it be on March 18?
My prediction: this is the first time GGG has faced an opponent with similar power and superior hand speed. As usual, he has a huge advantage in experience and technical skills – when he can be bothered to use them. His other main advantage – the ability to intimidate an opponent into giving up before the first bell rings – won’t be a feature on the night. Any fighter who can overcome bone cancer is not going to be afraid of a smaller man throwing punches. It is likely Jacobs believes winning this fight, and the titles on offer, is his destiny. That makes him very dangerous.
Both fighters are likely to start off as quickly as possible, with very little feeling out. My guess is the challenger’s hand speed will be the crucial difference when they start to trade heavy shots. GGG may fight like a man much younger than his 25 years, but absorbing a few heavy punches from a world class middleweight might make him age before our eyes.
Both fighters will probably hurt each other in the early exchanges, but I think the (relative) youth and hunger will give Jacobs enough of an edge to prevail by knockout in four or five rounds.
As you state, Jacobs was crumbled in the first round by Sergio Mora. The last time I checked Mora has a hard time crumbling Blue Cheese onto his salad.
That in and of itself tells me everything I need to know.
I don’t see Jacobs lasting more than 9 minutes tonight against GGG.
Look for Golvokin to end the big drama show in round 3.
Check out www.Pound4Pound.com for all the latest boxing news.