Saturday, June 03, 2023  |


Commentary: Was Gennady Golovkin exposed as overrated?

Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions
Fighters Network

We’re several days removed from Gennady Golovkin’s narrow decision victory over Daniel Jacobs and there appears to be a collection of fans that believe wholeheartedly that Jacobs exposed an overrated and overhyped GGG. Not to mention that Jacobs was “robbed” of the decision to protect the potential showdown between Golovkin and Canelo.

Everything in that train of thought is nonsensical.

First and foremost, to suggest that Golovkin was overhyped and exposed would undervalue everything that Jacobs did right. More importantly, it undervalues Jacobs as a fighter. Any knowledgeable  boxing

Photo / @premierboxing

fan knew that Jacobs was a credible threat to GGG. One could argue that Jacobs posed an even more significant threat than Canelo Alvarez does considering that Jacobs is a longtime middleweight with fast hands, great footwork and exceptional technique. After all, he didn’t knock out his last 12 opponents, including an opening round demolition of Peter Quillin, because he wasn’t any good.

Jacobs started his professional career as one of boxing’s most touted prospects. And he made good on those expectations during the first act of his career by throttling his opposition. His 2010 knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog was a shock to many but his battle with osteosarcoma and subsequent return was just as surprising. The fact that Jacobs came back from the life-threatening disease better than he left should not be cast aside as some footnote. “The Miracle Man” was a viable challenge to boxing’s boogieman.

The expectation was for Golovkin to eventually catch Jacobs and put him down for good somewhere in the middle or late rounds. Considering that Jacobs had been knocked out in the past and was put down against the light hitting Sergio Mora, few expected him to survive 12 rounds with GGG. However, Andre Rozier prepped his fighter with the perfect tactics to keep Golovkin from launching into his vaunted attack while using movement, stance switching and the occasional flurry to keep his opponent from settling into a groove.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

It was an excellent game plan that kept Jacobs upright for most of the fight, except a fourth-round knockdown that didn’t seem to damage him all that much. The fight was far more tactical than anyone expected it to be and that, again, is credit to Jacobs. But, ultimately, he lost the fight by a narrow decision.

Jacobs performance ended GGG’s knockout streak at 23 and gave the Kazakhstan native his stiffest test to date. But to suggest that Golovkin has now been “exposed” reeks of hyperbole. Even worse are the claims that GGG will be slaughtered at the hands of Canelo.

It’s all silly and needs to be tempered.

There wasn’t a moment in the Golovkin-Jacobs fight when the defending unified titleholder was in any kind of trouble. Let’s not forget that Jacobs entered the fight with a knockout ratio of 88%. The New Yorker landed some pretty hard shots but had to be weary of sitting down for too long in the event that Golovkin rifled a fight-ending counterpunch in return. GGG never flinched, wobbled or budged. He took all of those shots well and continued his pursuit of Jacobs.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

We got to see GGG in a fight rather than a one-sided destruction. He boxed his way to victory and did most of his work behind a steady and effective jab. Without it, he certainly wouldn’t have been able to take any of the close rounds. The pressure was consistent and the ever-looming threat was enough to keep a flashy boxer-puncher from overexposing himself.

That’s not “exposing” anybody. That’s just good boxing.

The best fighters in the world don’t run over every single opponent they face. They said Floyd Mayweather Jr. was “exposed” by Jose Luis Castillo, Zab Judah, Miguel Cotto and Marcos Maidana but “Money” remains unbeaten to this day. Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran and a litany of other boxing legends have had their fair share of fights where they were allegedly exposed because the outcome wasn’t exactly what people expected.

For those who suggest that Canelo will have the advantage, there should be a reminder that the Mexican had his hands full with Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara (who, admittedly, is a pain in the ass for everyone). Those fights didn’t make Canelo worse. If anything, they helped make him better, as did his loss to Mayweather.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

The worst thing that can be done is discrediting Daniel Jacobs and not recognizing him as one of the best middleweights in the world today. Hell, a legitimate argument can be made that a Canelo-Jacobs fight would carry just as much intrigue as the one we just saw with GGG and Jacobs. You wouldn’t be crazy to suggest that Jacobs could very well defeat Canelo given his ability in the ring.

Is Gennady Golovkin overrated? No. He simply faced a stiff challenge that he overcame. If anything, Jacobs proved to the casual boxing fan that he’s worth keeping an eye on.

But don’t go buying into the idea that GGG is overhyped because he didn’t knock out one of the best fighters in the division.