One comment I’ve seen repeated often this week on social media is that Daniel Jacobs “exposed” Gennady Golovkin in Madison Square Garden last Saturday night. It’s a bizarre and inaccurate assertion. In terms of careless, emotional use of language, it is on par with saying that Jacobs was “robbed.”
I should state now that I thought Jacobs deserved to win the fight. But it was no robbery. It was a very close fight. When reviewing the punch stats, I am not surprised that judges seated ringside may have disagreed with me. From my perspective of watching it on a screen, I was heavily impressed by Jacobs’ movement, hand speed and overall ring generalship.
But when fans say that Jacobs was robbed, I can at least appreciate where they are coming from. They watched the fight with an emotional investment in Jacobs. And Jacobs fought a very good fight, against an opponent that many were touting as invincible. From my own, more neutral perspective, Jacobs deserved to win but was not robbed. A fan who went into the bout already backing Jacobs, it is an understandable move from thinking that he deserved to win to shouting to the sky that he was robbed.
But the “Golovkin was exposed” line has no logic at all. Furthermore, to say that Golovkin was exposed is to disrespect Jacobs.
For the first time in his career, Golovkin had a very tough battle. Many observers felt he actually deserved to lose. But he still fought a very good fight. Unlike Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman, Golovkin was not merely chasing and following Jacobs around the ring. He was consistently able to cut the ring off and force exchanges. He used a terrific jab and landed better punch stat numbers than Jacobs.
Jacobs was able to handle Golovkin toe-to-toe and move back out of range. At was able to retreat and re-position himself and set traps for Golovkin. His hand speed allowed him to preempt many of Golovkin’s attacks. Golovkin was forced to respect his power, rather than simply wading in on him, like he did against Willie Monroe or Kell Brook.
So if Golovkin was “exposed” by Jacobs, it was in this sense–if a fighter is a big, strong, athletic middleweight, with elite boxing skill and dangerous punching power, then he has a chance of giving Golovkin a tough, competitive fight.
But good luck finding many fighters as good as Jacobs.