by Daniel Tria
Daniel Jacobs’s theory of how he’ll expose Golovkin’s chin is completely wrong.
On HBO’s 24/7, Jacobs described how Kell Brook exposed Golovkin’s propensity to take clean shots on his chin and postulated things would be different if the WBA Regular champion was throwing those shots. Unfortunately, Golovkin is a gladiator more at home in Rome’s Colosseum than a boxing ring; he’s a showman thriving on making a fight look more challenging than it really is.
Golovkin now claims he turned the Brook fight into a street fight – hence the wild swings from the Kazakh. If the methodical Golovkin appeared in London perhaps Brook wouldn’t have a broken orbital bone, but the fight would have ended inside four rounds. That strategy would make a Canelo, Jacobs, and Saunders fight much more difficult to make.
Golovkin needed to take shots and look sloppy. Jacobs confimedGolovkin’s strategic success by immediately agitating for the fight in the aftermath with the WBA’s assistance. Of course, Golovkin will fight anyone.
Jacobs’s compelling story and knockout streak provides a great narrative to put fear into the heart of Golovkin fans. He’s the toughest Middleweight Golovkin will face! The infinite confidence reservoir Jacobs has from beating cancer is well-earned, to be cliché – he stared death in the face and death blinked.
The rest of the Miracle Man’s resume doesn’t inspire the same confidence.
First, it’s instructive to review the fight against Dmitry Pirog. Unlike most of Jacobs’s fights, Pirog was a pressure whose ring generalship prevented Jacobs from mounting any meaningful offense. The only reason Pirog’s win is considered by anyone to be an upset is ignorance of Pirog’s greatness. Furthermore, Pirog’s ferocity beat Jacobs mentally as well as physically. The vicious right punctuated the gulf in class between the two fighters.
I know – that was pre-cancer. Jacobs is different now.
Therefore it’s informative to review technique. The technique Jacobs displayed against Pirog isn’t much different than the Jacobs seen in the Sergio Mora and Peter Quillin fights. Jacobs likes to set his feet and throw wide, arcing shots. His long arms allow for exceptional follow through and he’s very comfortable trading wildly. He’s a brawler.
When he’s confident, he swings for the fences as seen in the Quillin fight. He wasn’t scared of Quillin – they trained together often – so letting his fists fly in the first round was an apt strategy. Especially because Quillin leads with his chin.
The first Mora fight is more instructive. Jacobs swung wildly and put Mora down, but Mora replied in kind. This is interesting because Mora doesn’t have the power to knock down a strawweight but he was able to effectively counterpunch. The fight was even in Round 2 when Mora’s leg snapped and Jacobs was incorrectly awarded a TKO.
Perhaps Jacobs will not set his feet and swing wildly against Golovkin. His wild punching provides an illusion of greater hand speed when compared to Golovkin’s precision.
That’s where Golovkin wins. Jacobs needs to establish his power early. Golovkin, like Pirog is a pressure fighter. For Jacobs – much more a brawler than boxer – fighting a boxer-puncher is a tall task.
In the Pirog fight, Jacobs could not establish a brawl. Pirog expertly counterpunched. It’s logical to assume that Andre Rozier’s plan involves Jacobs boxing more and brawling less. On the HBO preview and 24/7 we saw endless footage of Jacobs throwing a 1-2 and pivoting away.
His strategy is to hit-and-run. It’s not the worst idea. But what happens when Golovkin – a master amateur fighter – cuts off the ring and with it the pivot’s escape route? What about when the Kazakh keeps his chin tucked and hands high and replies with a left hook to the body as Jacobs pivots?
Jacobs needs the Golovkin who fought Brook to make an appearance. That won’t happen. Instead we will see the Golovkin who disarmed David Lemieux.
Lemieux is a brawler with more power than Jacobs. His punches are short, compact, and lethal. His defense is awful and he forces the left hook too much. Golovkin exploited this with the jab clinic.
When Jacobs plan doesn’t work and he resorts to throwing wide, arcing shots, will he be able to handle Golovkin’s inevitable left hook to the liver?
Mike Tyson famously said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Jacobs has never looked as technical as he is during this camp. He’s clearly gearing up for a 12-round fight and is smart to enlist the services of Virgil Hunter’s gym. The problem Jacobs has is he’s not Andre Ward. His defense isn’t slick and he lacks Ward’s counterpunching skill. Jacobs is attempting to reinvent himself – you can’t do that at 31.
Golovkin meanwhile is a complete fighter. His jab is anyone else’s power shot. The left hook sent Matthew Macklin into retirement and right hand might as well be one of the Soviet Union’s old ICBMs still laying around in Kazakhstan.
Unlike other fighters, his chest is relatively small but his traps, lats, forearms and core are massive. When he tucks his chin there’s no neck, just a wall of muscle. He’s built to withstand punches from Sergey Kovalev. It’s hard to see Jacobs taking Golovkin off his feet much less intimidating him.
For sure, Golovkin will respect Jacobs’s power. Jacobs doesn’t like fighting on the back foot and is training to do just that. It won’t work. When it doesn’t, he’ll try to crowd Golovkin. That won’t work – it’ll just create openings.
Expect Golovkin to patiently break down Jacobs. As always, Golovkin will cut off the ring with superior footwork. He’ll crowd Jacobs and force the Brooklynite to trade. Perhaps a shot or two from Jacobs will get through. Golovkin will step back, nod approval, and tap his glove to his chest. The Kazakh will force an opening, and with a left to the body Jacobs will crumble to the canvas.
Not because Jacobs doesn’t have heart.
Not because Jacobs doesn’t have talent.
He’ll crumble because Gennady Golovkin is the best Middleweight since Marvin Hagler, and Danny Jacobs isn’t.