Depending upon who you talk to, Gennady Golovkin is anything from the second-coming of Marvelous Marvin Hagler to an overhyped can crusher. There can be no question that over the past few years, he has developed into one of boxing’s most exciting fighters, running his professional record to 36-0 with 33 KOs. His current knockout streak is 23 straight.
Fans who want to discredit his list of victims mostly display their own ignorance of the sport. Golovkin has defeated top-10 contenders and former champions like David Lemieux, Daniel Geale, Matthew Macklin, Martin Murray, Grzegorz Proksa and Willie Monroe. Those are all world-class fighters, with good wins over good opponents. Golovkin smashed through the lot of them like a battering ram striking plywood.
Golovkin has had this in common with Hagler–he has been the most avoided fighter of his era. Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto and now Saul Alvarez have all reigned as the lineal middleweight champion while avoiding Golovkin, even as he has been the clear-cut No. 1 contender to their title.
So he has been forced to take whatever fights his team can make. Lemieux has been the only belt holder game enough to face Golovkin in a unification bout.
In Daniel Jacobs, Golovkin will at least, finally, be facing the other best fighter in the division. Jacobs definitely has to be viewed as an underdog. But visit any online boxing forum and you will not have trouble locating fans who believe Jacobs is primed to deliver GGG’s day of reckoning.
Jacobs’ Round 1 KO of Peter Quillin in December 2015 is a more impressive resume line than any single one of Golovkin’s stoppages. The Brooklyn native is a big, athletic middleweight with very solid punching power and top-notch skills.
If Jacob can walk out of the ring Saturday night as the new middleweight kingpin, he will be one of the best feel-good stories of 2017. In 2011, the challenger was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. Win or lose, his brave march back to the top should be held up as an inspirational story.