Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Gennady Golovkin’s boxing boredom ends with Jacobs fight

Abel Sanchez, Gennady Golovkin and Tom Loeffler recently met with the Los Angeles boxing media to talk about Golovkin's March 18 showdown with Daniel Jacobs in New York City. Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

If you’re among the many boxing fans who thought 2016 sucked due to its lack of worthy mega-events – namely the still-pending middleweight showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin – imagine how frustrating it was for GGG?

Last year Golovkin heard a lot of brave talk from the top talents and names of the 160-pound division – including Alvarez, WBO beltholder Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr. and Daniel Jacobs – but they all issued rain checks once it came time to sign contracts.

Golovkin, the holder of the WBA, IBF and WBC belts (the last one Alvarez handed over rather than agree to the sanctioning organization’s mandate for a 2016 fight), remained busy with heavily attended title defenses against unheralded Dominic Wade (who became the IBF’s mandatory because Tureano Johnson was unavailable due to shoulder surgery) and talented-but-undersized Kell Brook. However, the 34-year-old unified champ, who is used to fighting at least three times a year, was not as busy as he wanted to be and not in with the level of opposition he craves.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

Jacobs, the holder of the “regular” version of the WBA’s title, which makes him the mandatory challenger to the “super” version of the belt held by Golovkin, put off a proposed Dec. 10 fight with the undefeated pride of Kazakhstan in order to get the best deal possible (and to have more preparation time), but to the 29-year-old Brooklyn native’s credit he signed the dotted line for a March 18 HBO Pay-Per-View showdown with GGG.

The fight, which takes place at Madison Square Garden, gives Golovkin a worthy challenger, a reason to train hard and something to talk about with the sports media other than Alvarez.

“I lost interest in Canelo last year,” Golovkin told boxing writers before Wednesday’s press conference in Los Angeles. “There was too much talk about him, Eubank, Saunders, all of that talk last year. It was too much.

“I’m a sportsman, I’m a boxer. For me, I want to know who’s No. 1. I want these fights. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not a young guy. I’m 34. I’ll be 35 this year. I want to fight the most dangerous (middleweights) now. I want to fight everyone with a belt. But when they use my name, like for a commercial, just to get attention but don’t sign the contract, I lose interest.”

Photo courtesy Matchroom Boxing

Golovkin’s frustration with his inability to land significant middleweight fights may have been expressed during his fifth-round stoppage of Brook, which took place in a sold-out O2 Arena in London. Golovkin appeared to sleep walk (or sleep stalk) against the unbeaten IBF 147-pound titleholder, eating his share of leather, before breaking the gutsy Sheffield native’s face, prompting the corner to wisely toss in the towel.

“It was like a street fight to me,” Golovkin said. “That fight was just me going to the UK with its crazy fight fans and putting on a show. After the first round I know it’s over. I just wanted to end it, not show my technique.”

Golovkin, and his trainer Abel Sanchez, understand that approach would not be wise against Jacobs, who is known for his boxing ability but is also a formidable puncher currently riding a 12-bout KO streak.

“I know Daniel Jacobs,” Golovkin said. “He is true middleweight. It’s very interesting right now.

“Last year, maybe after the (David) Lemieux fight (in October 2015), I lost interest (in boxing) because too much talking, too much trash talking, too much commercials.”

Sanchez elaborated on Golovkin’s words:

“The frustration of guys just talking and not stepping up to the plate has been evident in some of his (recent) fights because he let people do things that normally he wouldn’t let them do,” said the BWAA’s 2015 Trainer of the Year. “Now he’s got a guy in front of him that he has a lot of respect for, a guy that can crack, so obviously this fight is going to be a lot different. Since the Lemieux fight we’ve had fights that he really wasn’t getting up for, mentally.”

Golovkin acknowledged Jacobs’ size and punching power.

“He is bigger (than Brook and me),” said Golovkin (36-0, 33 knockouts). “He had very good amateur experience. I remember him for a long time. I saw a couple of his fights, his fight with Peter Quillin, his big power is very nice. It’s very serious.”

Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 Promotions, which represents Golovkin, believes his star fighter will be prepared to display his defense and ring generalship vs. Jacobs.

“If he’s in with a dangerous puncher, or at least who he perceives could be a danger puncher like Lemieux, we saw him fight a completely different tactic,” said Loeffler. “You didn’t see him allow Lemieux to hit him unnecessarily. If there’s a Willie Monroe fight, or a Kell Brook, where he feels comfortable in there, then, (it’s like) what he says about giving the UK fans (a show).

“That’s not to take away from either of those guys. We have a lot of respect for both those guys, especially for Brook who moved up from welterweight when so many middleweights turned down the opportunity at that point to fight him. But he felt more comfortable in there and would allow someone like that to hit him, potentially, as opposed to his defense with Lemieux, who basically couldn’t land a punch on him.

“Abel, would you agree with that?”

Sanchez agreed but added:

“Absolutely, but wouldn’t be crazy, though, if we get to the middle of the fight, three or four rounds, and he’s allowing this guy to do the same thing (as those other guys)?”

It’s hard to imagine Golovkin allowing Jacobs to crack his cranium the way he allowed Brook to get off, but Sanchez says his fighter knows what he’s doing in the ring.

“He’s got such confidence in his ability and with what we do in the gym, and what he’s done in the past, that once he feels that power, he knows what he can take and can’t take,” said Sanchez. “But if you notice when he was allowing people to hit him, they’re not hitting him on the chin, they’re hitting him on the forehead. He catches it on the forehead. He’s had 350 amateur fights, he’s a smart individual in the ring. He knows what he can or can’t do. But wouldn’t it be something if he allowed Jacobs to do that and he still knocked Jacobs out?”

Some fans believe that Golovkin could take a reckless approach with Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOS) and still prevail because of the New Yorker’s questionable chin. Jacobs’ sole pro loss was a fifth-round KO to Dmitry Pirog in 2010. The unheralded Russian iced Jacobs with a single right hand.

However, Golovkin dismisses the loss to Pirog.

“Danny has original American boxing style,” he said. “Pirog had the Russian style, and, at this time, Danny was not ready for it. Right now, he is much better. I have seen his fights and I see he has improved since then.”

So while some say the showdown between the top two middleweights will come down to who takes the better punch, Team Golovkin maintains that skill will determine the victor.

“The difference in this fight is not who takes a better punch, the difference is that I have the better fighter, the better technician and smarter fighter,” Sanchez said. “Both guys can punch and both are going to get hit. Danny will land punches because he’s an exceptional fighter with a lot of speed, but timing and positioning – which my fighter has – is better than speed.”



Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer and Periscope.