Say what you like, but Gennady Golovkin vs Daniel Jacobs is a legit, elite-level matchup, a clash of two of the very best in the middleweight class. Yes, very few are picking Jacobs to win. And yes, there’s every reason to see this fight as a distant second to the match at 160 everyone in fact wants to see instead, Canelo Alvarez vs GGG. But the fact remains that, for now at least, Alvarez is shamelessly ducking Golovkin to instead feast on far less dangerous prey. And, on paper at least, Daniel Jacobs represents the most talented and accomplished foe Gennady Golovkin has yet faced. He is in fact the top middleweight in the world after Alvarez and the Kazakh knockout king. Let’s face it, under the circumstances, Golovkin vs Jacobs is one of the best matches that can be made right now.
So, as fight fans, we have every reason to be hyped for this tilt and to hope for something dramatic and memorable to unfold on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, the venerable arena once called “The Mecca of Boxing.” Dare we anticipate something historic to happen in this most historic of venues? Well, when Gennady Golovkin is fighting, we’ll settle for something competitive, but that said, it’s a major showdown that, unlike most of Triple G’s fights, actually deserves some hype. Plus, there’s Roman Gonzalez, pound-for-pound the best boxer on the planet and our 2015 Fighter of the Year, on the undercard. So herewith, our picks for Saturday’s main event, along with some bonus picks for Gonzalez vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, a match-up which, at least according to some, has the potential to be highly competitive. Check it out:
Despite some people pointing to what Kell Brook managed to do against Golovkin and speculating he may be vulnerable to a full-fledged middleweight with skills and moxy, I don’t think Jacobs will be allowed the same kind of privileges. GGG is just a different species of fighter. Golovkin by KO. — Manny Montreal
Gennady Golovkin via late round stoppage. — Ronnie McCluskey
Although Daniel Jacobs is indeed Gennady Golovkin’s sternest test on paper for a multitude of reasons, I don’t foresee this fight lasting as long as Golovkin’s bludgeoning of David Lemieux. What Golovkin vs Jacobs boils down to is the jab. Much like he did against Lemieux, Gennady will fire his straight left with abandon. Although Jacobs defends extremely well against the jab, he’s never faced one as accurate, powerful and purposeful as Triple G’s. Because Jacobs isn’t a volume puncher, Golovkin’s jab should be enough to disarm him, after which a big straight right or left hook will rattle the potential chinny challenger and signify the beginning of the end. Jacobs will have his moments but be stopped by the middle rounds in a match that will be all about Golovkin’s prowess and not any shortcomings on Jacobs’ part. On the undercard, expect a return to form for Roman Gonzalez to the tune of a stoppage by round nine. — Zachary Alapi
Jacobs might not be as powerful, strong, or durable as Golovkin but, unlike ‘Triple G’s’ last opponent, he at least possesses the physical attributes necessary to complement his technique and perhaps make this a truly competitive fight. I suspect Jacobs will attempt to disrupt Golovkin’s forward momentum and neutralize his combination punching by moving side-to-side and working off the jab. But unless you have first-rate, Ray Leonard-type mobility, a stick-and-move strategy only gets you so far against Golovkin, whose ability to cut off the ring and maneuver his opponent into the ropes and corners ranks among the best in boxing.
Defensively, Golovkin becomes more responsible if he perceives his opponent is a physical threat, but he often relies on his chin, which, somewhat uncharacteristically for a puncher, appears on a par with his preternatural hitting prowess. We have yet to see Golovkin visibly hurt, or even discouraged for that matter, but it would be foolhardy of him to throw caution to the wind altogether against a skillful boxer-puncher like Jacobs. This could well turn out to be Golovkin’s toughest assignment to date, but when all is said and done, I sense the fight will end up being no different than any other involving the Kazakh KO artist. Golovkin will withstand Jacobs’ punches, while Jacobs, who is prone to defensive lapses, will be unable to take Gennady’s. Golovkin by mid-to-late round KO.
Gonzalez vs Sor Rungvisai: Pressure fighters like “Chocolatito” are seldom successful against naturally bigger opponents after moving up in weight, especially those who are pressure fighters themselves. And while I haven’t seen an awful lot of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the tough southpaw is no doubt heavy-handed and very strong at 115 pounds.
Regardless of how talented he is, if “Chocolatito” fails to impose himself physically or does not command Sor Rungvisai’s respect, things could get very interesting. Still, an upset here looks unlikely. The four-weight world champ’s best days are probably behind him, yet he remains one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the world. Gonzalez may have to adopt a slightly different approach if he can’t thwart Sor Rungvisai’s aggression, but his work-rate and superior ring craft should be enough to secure the win in a tougher-than-expected fight. Gonzalez by decision. — Lee Wylie
As much as I like Daniel, the fact he was dropped by Sergio Mora scares me. Meanwhile Golovkin has walked through big shots from Lemieux, Stevens and Daniel Geale. You can bet trainer Abel Sanchez watched the Pirog fight and noticed Jacobs doesn’t handle pressure and angles very well; against a guy like GGG that’s recipe for a disaster. Golovkin TKO 5. And I see “Chocolatito” stopping Srisaket Sor Rungvisai by round ten. Caudras beat up Rungvisai and we saw what Chocolatito did to him. Never been big on fighters whose last two wins were against guys making their pro debuts. Long and brutal night for Sor Rungvisai. — Chris Connor
Seems to me most are underestimating “Miracle Man;” I’m not. Let’s put this match into some context. Virtually every elite middleweight has been avoiding Golovkin. But Jacobs has stepped up, and I have to think it’s because he sees a chance to score a huge victory. My guess is he plans to use quickness to seize the initiative and bring his formidable power to bear to get the Kazakh’s respect. Of course having a plan and executing it against a guy like Golovkin, clearly one of the best boxers in the world, are two different things, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s the man who beat cancer, is riding a 12 fight win streak (all by stoppage, by the way), and has come a long way back from a devastating knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog. Golovkin vs Jacobs will be a war and when the scorecards are announced we’ll be notching another miracle for the underdog. “Miracle Man” by close decision. And the peerless Roman Gonzalez takes care of business and stops Sor Rungvisai by round eight. — Robert Portis
There are many attributes needed to overcome Gennady Golovkin. Speed, power and footwork are chief among them but against such a heavy-handed opponent, a sturdy chin is paramount to success. While Daniel Jacobs possesses many of the aforementioned attributes, his chin is questionable. I can’t see this fight ending any other way than a Golovkin stoppage for that reason alone. Jacobs is arguably the number two man in the middleweight division right now, which adds some intrigue to the match up but I don’t see Jacobs getting the win. Golovkin by mid-round KO.
Flyweight supremo Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez may very well be past his peak, and with a recent step up to super flyweight we may see his unbeaten streak end at some point soon, but it won’t be this weekend. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai possesses a wealth of power but his skill set is a few levels below that of Chocolatito’s. Expect to see the Thai challenger throw everything at Gonzalez, perhaps troubling the slow starting champion early on, but “Chocolatito” earns a hard-fought decision victory. — Daniel Attias
I can’t explain why, but I have a strange feeling about this one and my gut tells me an upset is a distinct possibility. Golovkin gets hit, after all, and Jacobs can hit like no one’s business. Plus, while Jacobs is a genuinely nice guy, he appears gunfighter cool in the lead up to this weekend. All that said, we’re not asked to write about gut feelings here, but to instead offer our educated opinions and while my gut tells me one thing, my brain says Golovkin is simply too strong and too skilled to lose, even against the likes of Jacobs. Golovkin KO 8. — Sean Crose
I believe Golovkin vs Jacobs could be a great fight. Many people question Jacob’s chin, but there should be no question about his heart. But at the same time, we have to look at Daniel Jacob’s path to get here. I fear a one round destruction of the overrated Peter Quillin and two fights against Sergio Mora are not enough to prepare Jacobs for Golovkin. I predict we’ll see some interesting exchanges in the early rounds, but as the fight progresses, Jacobs will not be able to withstand the constant pressure and punishment. Golovkin by mid to late round stoppage.
If anyone is capable of providing an upset on Saturday night, it will be Chocolatito’s opponent, Sor Rungvisai. This man is being seriously overlooked. From what I have seen of him, he is one tough son of a bitch. A little under three years ago, I saw him take Carlos Cuadras’ best shots like they were nothing. Roman is a different kind of fighter though and his skill and technical advantages give him the edge in this fight. I’m going with Roman by a really tough decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rungvisai pulls this off. Roman has just been in too many tough battles as of late, and you have to wonder if they haven’t taken a toll, especially as he’s gone up in weight. — Alfonso Jasso
As is often the case when two punchers meet, Golovkin vs Jacobs may come down to who has the better chin. And the fighter with the sturdier mandible is most certainly Golovkin. As much as the proverbial “puncher’s chance” for Jacobs is there, upon simply watching video of both men training, sparring and fighting, it appears Golovkin actually has a considerable edge in punching power as well. Things aren’t looking great for Jacobs on paper unless he’s far more skilled than many, myself included, realize. Golovkin by KO in 7.
There’s little question that Roman Gonzalez is one of the best boxers in the world, but he’s not young in fighting years and the last handful of matches at higher weights may be taking their toll. Saturday’s match is as much about seeing where Gonzalez is in relation to a Cuadras or Estrada rematch as is it about getting Chocolatito a worthy challenger. But if Gonzalez has lost any edge, or if he’s overlooking Sor Rungvisai, he could be in for a surprise as the Thai is a wily, hard-punching unknown quantity. And those kinds of fighters can be dangerous in this position. Gonzalez by decision. — Patrick Connor
I think Jacobs is one of the best middleweights in the world and I expect him to put up a hell of a fight. But I just can’t pick against the Kazakh dynamo in his current form. The only style I see beating GGG is a flawless boxer-puncher, who will box more than punch. But I expect Jacobs to punch more than box and to pay the price. Valiant effort by Jacobs but GGG by late round TKO. — Jamie Rebner
Danny Jacobs has proven his ability as a boxer-puncher and has improved as a fighter over the last few years. Gennady Golovkin has been at or near the top of most pound-for-pound lists for years. His offensive arsenal is versatile and he often allows his opponent to hit him as a sign of bravado when he knows the end is near. I would expect Jacobs to be able to land some good shots over the first several rounds of the contest. However, as with the Lemieux contest, I expect Golovkin to wear his fellow titleholder down. Golovkin by stoppage in nine. — Thad Moore
The return of the imperious GGG. The face of an altar boy with hands like bricks. For the outcome of this bout simply revisit Dmitry Pirog’s patient malevolence in breaking Jacobs down, and Golovkin’s similar approach to battering the hard-punching Lemieux. We won’t see the abdication of defense that happened against Brook; instead another masterclass is in store. Canelo and De La Hoya will look on hoping for signs of deterioration as they continue to swerve the Kazakh behemoth. But that’s not happening in this fight. GGG by KO. — Gary Elbert
What makes this fight interesting is that Jacobs potentially brings enough power to allow him to push Golovkin backwards, something we very rarely see. However, being strong enough to push the marauding Kazakh onto the back foot in spurts and doing it consistently enough to win the fight are two entirely different propositions. I suspect Jacobs will do the former, but that the latter is out of his reach. There is much talk of Jacobs being Golovkin’s “toughest opponent” to date, but unfortunately that says more about the paucity of elite opposition on Gennady’s record than it does about how good Jacobs really is. There’s no doubt that the “Miracle Man” possesses extraordinary determination, but he is facing an extraordinary boxer, and I can only see one result: Golovkin by stoppage. — Matt O’Brien
That Golovkin and Jacobs are the two best middleweights on the planet is a nearly undisputed fact: Canelo—the lineal “champ”—has never fought at the full middleweight limit; Saunders—the WBO titlist—is still waiting for a multi-million dollar offer he doesn’t deserve; and Danny and Gennady have beat pretty much everyone else that counts at 160. They are the goods: natural middleweights with sound technique and fearsome power. However, there are levels to this thing. Not only do I believe Golovkin is the stronger puncher here, I also believe he has a better chin than Jacobs plus a more complete toolbox. That leaves Jacobs—valiant and classy as he may be—with exactly zero outs as far as I’m concerned. Golovkin by TKO inside of ten. — Rafael Garcia
I don’t see anyone at 160 beating Golovkin right now. In my opinion Triple G is, pound-for-pound, one of the sport’s most dangerous and effective fighters. I do not understand what his detractors, such as Teddy Atlas, see that I am missing. I expect a competitive fight for say four rounds but after that the Kazakh’s power will just be too much for Jacobs. Golovkin by KO. But no one will be more delighted than myself should “Miracle Man” astound us all and give Golovkin the kind of test we’re all hoping to see. And I believe Roman Gonzalez will have little trouble with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who hasn’t faced any formidable competition since stopping Jose Salgado almost two years ago. “Chocolatito” by lopsided decision. — Michael Carbert