SAN DIEGO, January 13, 2017 – Boxing fans love knockouts. With 35 consecutive knockouts and 61 total knockouts in 68 fights between them, the March 18 bout between unified middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin of Kazakhstan (36-0, 33 KOs) and WBA champion Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York (32-1, 29 KOs) at Madison Square Garden is sure to please and not likely to go all 12 rounds.
Golovkin, Jacobs, and their teams have checked off the bicoastal media tour and made the media rounds. Now they get down to the business of training over the next eight weeks. Now It is our job to get down to the business of assessing this fight.
Punching power and boxing skills are not in question here. Neither man is likely to change the skills and approach that have brought both this far. Talking with both boxers and their trainers coupled an understanding of their individual backgrounds reveals the key to the fight. The outcome will rest on which man is stronger mentally, not just physically. Call it a Meeting of the Middleweight Minds.
We asked both Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs about their mental game and their psychological preparations for this pivotal fight in their careers.
Golovkin, among the most feared man in boxing since Mike Tyson, has trouble getting significant opposition into the ring. His last fight took place against welterweight champion Kell Brook who moved up to middleweight for the opportunity. Brook has incredible heart and fortitude but could not overcome a broken orbital bone from a Golovkin left hook early in the fight.
Since his phenomenal first round knockout over Peter Quillin in December 2015, Daniel Jacobs fought just once in 2016, a seventh-round TKO over Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora in their September rematch.
Although it took their promoters longer than anticipated to make the deal work, all involved have taken great pains to point out it had nothing to do with either boxer avoiding the other.
“Everybody wants to see this fight,” said Golovkin. “Daniel is a great fighter, I’m very excited to be facing him because for me it’s very important who is better, in the ring. I have a great deal of respect for Daniel for taking this fight.”
Jacobs said, “Nine times out of ten, guys don’t take on the toughest challenges, they milk the game in a sense as much as they can. I credit Gennady for taking this fight, I have the utmost respect for him and his team but come March 18, the questions that have been asked about me will be answered, who I truly am, what I bring to the table and just how great I can be.”
Both boxers have suffered from the lack of a significant challenge, Golovkin most of all. While he was respectful toward his opponents, Dominic Wade, Willie Monroe, and even Kell Brook were no challenge. Trainer Abel Sanchez says Golovkin “got bored” by these fights, and Golovkin admits now they “weren’t too exciting.”
“Once it gets too easy for him, he loses interest,” said Sanchez. “This is the first fight since the Wade fight, in the Brook fight he hurt him in the first round and then, the interest is back and It’s not that he doesn’t train, he trains hard as he wants always, it’s just once the fight happens, his interest is not as strong should we say.
“But Danny presents a perceived challenge, a threat,” Sanchez said. “He can hurt Golovkin, he can punch that hard … This is the first fighter that presents a threat to him, and to me, because obviously, I don’t want this to end. So I have to make sure we need to do the things that are necessary so that if we destroy him it could be in a single round so we need to be ready for it.”
Sanchez says he now sees “the sparkle, the gleam” in Golvokin’s eyes not present in a long time as he looks toward his bout with Jacobs. It’s apparent talking to Golovkin, who lights up with enthusiasm and interest talking with reporters about Jacobs. He respects him as an individual outside the ring and knows he’ll have his first real test in years on March 18.
When Jacobs says he fears no man, he means it. Nothing can scare Jacobs after nearly losing his life and his career to a much bigger fight against cancer. While no one really wants a disease to define them, Jacobs knows that win or lose in the ring, he wins for taking the challenge and he wins because he’s alive and thriving.
Jacobs said most of Golovkin’s opponents have lost before they step in the ring with him, because they fear him.
“I haven’t come this far to give up,” said Jacobs. “I’m scared of no man, I fear nothing, my back has been against the wall so many times and I’ve accepted that this is no different. It’s a tough challenge but one I look forward to. For however long it lasts, I’m sure it’s going to be an entertaining fight.”
There won’t be any trash talk or tables thrown between Golovkin and Jacobs, and even their talkative trainers Sanchez and Andre Dozier will exchange only the most good-natured comments. The excitement is generated strictly by the kind of test that can bring out the best in champions who have already won before they step in the ring and will remain winners after March 18 in all the ways that matter when their careers are over.
The highly anticipated middleweight showdown between Golovkin and Jacobs is set for Saturday, March 18 at “The Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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