In boxing, promoters lie, managers lie, networks lie, even the media lies. But the oddsmakers never lie. Whether a fight will be as competitive as its publicity claims can be determined by the odds set for the bout. Looking at what the oddsmakers have to say will tell you everything you need to know about the quality of most match-ups.
This Saturday’s middleweight title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs has the universally recognized champ, Golovkin, listed as a -800 betting favorite. The odds speak to the fact that this pay-per-view main event is being viewed as a pretty lopsided affair.
However, when compared to the Kazakh KO artist’s other main stage bouts, this Jacobs fight is pretty damn tight.
Averaged over the course of his last thirteen contests, “Triple G” has been a -3500 favorite against his opposition, maxing out at -10,000 against Dominic Wade and Willie Monroe Jr. To put this into perspective, pro-Golovkin odds place him, on average, between Danny Garcia over Rod Salka and Mike Tyson over Peter McNeeley on the mismatch-o-meter.
Forget the “whys” and “how comes” that always come when discussing his lack of real, defining fights, the fact of the matter is that Gennady Golovkin has been matched lightly and the odds tell the story.
[Vs. Proksa (-600), Vs. Rosado (-2500), Vs. Ishida (-5000), Vs. Macklin (-1500), Vs. Stevens (-1400), Vs. Adama (-5000), Vs. Geale (-900), Vs. Rubio (-5000), Vs. Murray (-1600), Vs. Monroe Jr (-10000), Vs. Lemieux (-2000), Vs. Wade (-10000), Vs. Brook (-600)]
Golovkin’s entire title reign at middleweight has been contested against fighters stylistically perfect for him, playing to his strengths and/or just all-around ill-equipped to offer much resistance. Again, how this happened is altogether another issue and open for debate. That it has, indeed, happened, however, is not open for debate. Golovkin has just not had all that much to worry him.
This Saturday, though, the undefeated middleweight champ will face someone for the first time in his career—and this sounds mondo-bizarro for a fighter with eighteen world title fights under his belt—who has some physical assets or skills that could, in theory, give him pause. Again…that’s in theory.
Daniel Jacobs has a solid punch, decent legs, and a level of athleticism that surpasses any of Golovkin’s prior opponents. He’s also a fairly large middleweight. All of this adds up to a rival who has some of the key components needed to beat Triple G.
But there’s a reason Golovkin is so heavily favored.
Jacobs, for all his athleticism, has never been one to execute a consistently well-crafted game plan, nor has he really had to. His own paper-thin resume makes Golovkin’s look deep by comparison. There’s also some doubt as to his ability to take a heavy punch—something that could prove to be a virtual death sentence against Golovkin.
All in all, Saturday is an exercise in how close you can get to a true challenge without it actually being a true challenge. At the very least, though, there’s a hint of danger for the heavy betting favorite, which is a big step up from what we usually get on a Gennady Golovkin fight night.