After nearly 15 destructive defenses and at 35 years of age, Gennady Golovkin is facing off against who many believe is his toughest opponents to date in Daniel Jacobs.
Jacobs possesses the kind of athleticism and talent that is uncommon among the Middleweight king’s previous conquests and not only has the skill to put up a fight, but can hold his own if need be. Though Golovkin is at the stage of his career where his gifts may be withering away without us knowing and a less-than-stellar showing against Kell Brook in his dustiest fight in some time, Jacobs is the prohibitive underdog with very few giving him a shot.
It isn’t hard to see why. Jacobs is strong and athletic, but also wild and undisciplined when it comes down to how he operates in the ring. It isn’t unfeasible to assume Jacobs could be getting the better of Golovkin early on, but his method of attacking can ultimately be his downfall. Jacobs swings wide, gets too excited when he connects with something meaningful and is vulnerable to counter-attack in any offensive sequence.
In his lone career loss to Dmitry Pirog, Jacobs pounced on Pirog early and tagged him often, but Pirog weathered the storm until Jacobs punched himself out and Pirog stopped him in five. In the first of two wins over Sergio Mora, Jacobs again was too excited after scoring a knockdown that the feather-fisted Mora returned the favor. On the flipside, that same excitable attack did stop the previously undefeated ex-champ Peter Quillin in a single stanza.
Instilling confidence in himself is Jacobs’ best chance to win, but barring shocking calamity, Golovkin is going to test Jacobs unlike he’s even been tested before with his calculative pressure and grinding attack. Golovkin may have a leakier defense than everyone thinks he does, but against heavier punchers we haven’t seen Golovkin’s chin let him down.
It could be as simple as a waiting game for Golovkin who can literally use Pirog’s game plan by sneaking in shots should Jacobs begin to outwork him and bide his time until he tires. At the same time, Jacobs could present Golovkin with the best chance for an early night due to his overly wide shots leaving him open to stoppage via counter punch. Golovkin just needs to stick to his normal approach of stalk-till-you-drop and he’s going to take Jacobs into deep waters late in the fight where he’ll presumably drown.
Jacobs has the tools and the talent necessary to spring the improbably upset and at the very least make Golovkin look human, but Jacobs’ inability to measure his own activity and his propensity for leaving himself open for too long is going to ultimately do him in.
The call here is that Gennady Golovkin fights his way out of a points deficit early, wears Jacobs down late and beats him up to close the show which, to the surprise of many, goes the distance with Golovkin winning clearly and competitively.