Gennady Golovkin went the full 12 rounds in defending his middleweight titles against Brooklyns Danny Jacobs on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden
Gennady Golovkin is still the world middleweight champion after Saturdays unanimous-decision win over the brave Daniel Jacobs before a near-capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden, but the charismatic Kazakh knockout artist betrayed rare glimpses of vulnerability that will no doubt embolden his challengers in and around the 160lb division.
Two ringside judges handed down scores of 115-112, the third an even narrower 114-113. (The Guardian had it 115-112 for Golovkin.)
It was a close, competitive fight belying the 6-1 odds against the hometown opponent and it marked the first time Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) had been extended the full distance in his last 24 outings, a near-decade-long streak that reached back to when he was fighting eight-rounders during George W Bushs administration. He landed the more damaging blows, a steady diet of power shots from behind his ramrod jab, and scored a knockdown to earn the decision and retain the WBCs and WBAs versions of the fractured middleweight title, though he missed a chance to absorb the IBF strap after Jacobs skipped the same-day weigh-in earlier on Saturday.
He was my best opponent, said Golovkin, who landed 231 of 615 punches (37.6%), compared to 175 of 541 for Jacobs (32.3%). Clean good quality, very good fighter.
The crowd-pleasing puncher known as Triple G said afterward he would like to meet Canelo lvarez in his next bout, perhaps the biggest fight that can be made in the sport today, presuming the Mexican slugger makes it through his Cinco de Mayo weekend showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He also said he 100% wanted a match with Billy Joe Saunders, the British southpaw whos held the WBO middleweight strap for the past two years. But Golovkin acknowledged that Saturdays dance with Jacobs was close and said he would be willing to give the Brooklyn native a rematch.
Of course I am ready to fight Canelo, of course I want that fight, Golovkin said. I am like an animal for that fight, (but) I will give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.
Both men scored with the jab from the opening bell, Golovkin moving forward while the taller, longer Jacobs fought off the back foot. Jacobs switched to southpaw briefly in the second round a tactic hed recall throughout the fight but Golovkin made him pay with a sharp body shot that sent him back to an orthodox stance.
The 30-year-old Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs), who had won 12 straight by knockout since his lone defeat to Dmitry Pirog in 2010, did an excellent job of using his jab to prevent Golovkin from getting his punches off in the third, but a heat-seeking right hand sent him clattering to the canvas for only the third time in his career early in the fourth, sending the near-sellout crowd of 19,939 into hysterics. The Kazakh looked to close the show, landing an uppercut and a left hook. But Jacobs, with clever footwork and ring acumen, would survive the round.