No Fear Factor
Without question, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0 w/33 KO’s) has been the most feared fighter of the current era. His pursuit of title shots and unification bouts has resembled Clint Eastwood leading an Easter Egg hunt. The end result is a foregone conclusion, yet and still, the journey is filled with mazes, delays, and redirections. The simple explanation is that prize fighters, whether they are among the best or not, are reluctant to step into the ring with GGG. Golovkin is a knockout artist, who happens to be a highly skilled boxer, as well. He is on a record-breaking KO streak and quite frankly, hasn’t come close to losing. Other fighters have bragged about their undefeated records, but Gennady Golovkin’s stands above most, if not all of them. His wins are clear-cut and emphatic. GGG’s fights have been labeled “Drama Shows,” because fans are guaranteed drama in the ring, not with the judges. After noticing the euphoric atmosphere at one of his fights, you would think Gennady Golovkin is the best thing to happen to boxing in years. Arenas are packed. Fans are cheering at the top of their lungs. GGG memorabilia is flying off the shelves, while Golovkin is telling Max Kellerman how he destroyed another “good boy.”
But the detractors remain. Even if all logical points of view conclude fighters like Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez, Sam Soliman, Miguel Cotto, Chris Eubank Jr, Billy Joe Saunders, and Canelo Alvarez ultimately decided against facing GGG, segments of boxing media and fans choose to discredit Golovkin for not beating them anyway. This is a “madness” of the sport that boggles the mind. This week, millions of people filled out NCAA tournament brackets, and regardless of the chances UC Davis has versus Kansas, at least the Aggies from California will show up on Friday and give it their best shot. Competitive spirit is what makes sports a spectacular form of entertainment to watch. The Jayhawks will most certainly move onto Round 2, but the memories of UC Davis fighting to the finish could last forever.
Enter Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1 w/29 KO’s). Unlike “champions” Sturm, Martinez, Cotto, and Canelo, he is embracing his opportunity to prove superiority in the 160-pound division against Golovkin. “I see why people fear him, but I’m a fighter through and through. I don’t fear any person,” Jacobs stated calmly. He overcame bone cancer and amazingly returned to the ring after being told by doctors he would never fight again. Some even said he would never walk again. But after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2011, Jacobs is now cancer-free. The Miracle Man may embody a feel-good story, but he’s also the toughest opponent GGG has ever faced. The courage Jacobs possesses that separates him from those who’ve avoided Golovkin is only a fraction of his credentials. His boxing ability that places him well above Rubio, Murray, Monroe Jr, Lemieux, and Wade is what has GGG on notice. “Daniel is a great fighter. He has timing, speed, great power. He has everything,” Golovkin said matter-of-factly. Jacobs is indeed a versatile fighter, who has power in both hands. Peter Quillin, once considered Golovkin’s stiffest potential challenger, was stopped in one round by Daniel Jacobs.
This Saturday represents the end of the middleweight madness. It will bring excitement AND clarity to one of boxing’s glamour divisions. No more fiascos and egg hunts. No more broken promises made to fight fans. Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs are the top two middleweights and the world can witness them fight, because courage has defeated fear.
“Middleweight Madness” at Madison Square Garden in New York City can be seen on HBO PPV, Saturday, March 18, at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.