Written By: Omar Palacios Senior Boxing Analyst
In 2011, Gennady Golovkin beat Lajuan Simon by way of knockout in the 1st of a 10 round fight for a vacant IBO title. Today, Gennady, or GGG as he’s become known to the boxing world, still holds that title. He’s defended it 15 times and boxed a total of 73 rounds since acquiring it, with the end result always being bad news for his opposition – a knockout. He currently holds 3 out of 4 belts by major sanctioning bodies and no fighter has gone the distance against him since 2008 when he had faced Amar Amari of The Republic of Algeria.
Originally a Kazakhstan native, Golovkin had traveled to Big Bear, California in search of Abel Sanchez when he was 16-0. Sanchez, he believed, was the man who could take him to the next level in his career.
As it turns out, the two have made a great team. Since joining forces, GGG has spent an average of 5.2 rounds in the ring against opponents and has developed a strong fan base on both the east and west coasts in the U.S.
When asked what he felt about his fighter, Sanchez said, “There’s no one more dedicated than Gennady, he’s either in the gym training or he’s home with his family. That focus makes the difference between him and his opponents.”
It is this focus that has earned him the title of the “most feared man” in boxing. As Max Kellerman of HBO explained, “It’s not the fact that he’s knocking guys out, it’s the way he’s doing it.” Until now, he’s walked through power punchers like David Lemieux and has made easy work of boxers like Curtis Stevens and Willie Monroe.
His “said to be” biggest challenge arrived in the form of a natural Welterweight – Kell Brooke, who did land some clean shots and was able to box more than we’ve seen anyone else do against the Kazakh champion in recent years.
But, the expose that many believed they had witnessed was nothing more than an illusion. To be fair, Brooke did land his blows on a man much bigger than him and had he been a natural middleweight, they may have hurt Golovkin.
Or not. Some things we came to know about before the GGG vs Brooke fight are that first of all, Golovkin can be hit – we saw it against both Stevens and Monroe. Secondly, no matter how many times you hit him, you still have to be able to withstand his attack – something that no one has been able to do for 25 straight fights now. And so, as impressive as it may have seemed at the time, in retrospect, Brooke showed us nothing except how to lose.
Golovkin, 34, boasts of an amateur record of 345-5. If there’s one thing that he is not, it is overrated. He has worked harder than many can imagine, overcome obstacles, and taken chances that have landed him more than 10,000 miles away from his home where he’s now gearing up for the biggest fight of his career against a man who poses the biggest threat to his perfect pro record so far – Danny Jacobs.
“The Miracle Man,” as Jacobs began calling himself after winning his battle with osteosarcoma – a form of bone cancer, claims to be more motivated than ever. In his fight against Peter Quillin, Danny shocked spectators with a 1st round knockout and retained the WBA middleweight title.
Against Sergio Mora he suffered a knockdown, but pulled through to win a TKO victory.
No wonder therefore, that Jacobs is also known for being somewhat of a knockout artist. In his 33 fights so far, he’s been able to win 29 by knockout and has only taken one loss which, interestingly, was a KO at the hands of Dmitry Pirog of Russia.
“This training camp has gone perfect for us, and in my experience, when camp goes perfect, fights go perfect,” said ‘DJ’ when asked about how his camp at Virgil Hunter’s King’s Boxing Gym was unfolding. Many pros frequent the gym; hence the level of competition in the gym makes for great motivation.
Hunter, who’s been lending a hand in day-to-day training, says that if the Jacobs he knows shows up Saturday, GGG may find himself in great trouble. Andre Rozier, who’s been in Jacobs’ corner since he was a teenager, continues to be his lead trainer. The two have been through a lot together. They have faced the ups and downs together, the latter including Jacobs having to fight his way back to where he feels he rightfully belongs – at the top of the ranks in the 160 lbs division.
Saturday marks yet another notable card in 2017 where it seems champions are pushing themselves harder than they have in several years in professional boxing. Madison Square Garden, which is known as Mecca of boxing will be alive and well and we can only hope that the example set by true champions like GGG and Danny “The Miracle Man” Jacobs on this night, holds up and our fighters continue to give us the shows that we want. Good luck to both men, and may the best champion win!