Once again in the wake of a big boxing weekend, the word “robbery” is being bandied about on social media. And once again, it is a careless use of language.
Still, in this case I have some sympathy for those who making the case. While I think it is an overstatement to say that Daniel Jacobs was robbed in his loss Saturday night to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, I understand how it might feel that way to some observers.
Jacobs is the kind of fighter who fans invest in emotionally. As an amateur, he was a standout at the national and international level. He was on the radar for diehard fans before turning pro.
Then, in 2011, he was diagnosed with a potentially lethal form of cancer. That he has managed to come all the way back to world-title challenger status should be an inspiration to everybody.
Against the normally unstoppable Golovkin, Jacobs fought a courageous and tactically sound fight. He used every single tool in his toolbox–his high-level boxing skill, his hand speed, punching power and movement. He rallied from a Round 4 knockdown to force the champion into fighting his fight.
But it is an exaggeration to say that he thoroughly out-classed Golovkin. This wasn’t like Danny Garcia chasing Keith Thurman around the ring, earlier this month. Golovkin was often able to cut off the ring on Jacobs and force him to exchange.
However, unlike everybody else Golovkin has faced, Jacobs was able to hang tough in those exchanges, before moving back out of range and forcing Golovkin to come after him once more. And Jacobs’ ring smarts and hand speed allowed him to set traps for Golovkin. Golovkin was the fighter coming forward, but Jacobs was able to initiate the action on his own terms during much of the fight.
I had Jacobs winning, seven rounds to five or 114-113. That’s a close fight and the punch stats, which favored Golovkin, suggest it may have looked different at ringside than it did on a screen.
But it feels like Golovkin got the benefit of the doubt with the judges in the vast majority of close rounds. When all three judges come out with those kind of cards, some fans are going to be left feeling bitter.
When those fans are backing a guy like Daniel Jacobs, it’s easy to understand their loyalty.