With Gennady Golovkin’s next opponent set in stone for March 18th, fight fans are asking what kind of threat Daniel Jacobs presents. He has legitimate knockout power, is riding a twelve-fight KO streak, and holds a portion of the Middleweight world title, that being the WBA ‘Regular’. But how good is this hard-hitting New Yorker?
It’s realistic to say that Jacobs, 29, a cancer survivor who’s bounced back from a crushing defeat to Dmitry Pirog in 2010, poses a threat to any Middleweight. Or, at the very least, anyone not named Golovkin. Jacobs (32-1, 29 KO) can box, bang, and sent shock waves through the division after notching a 1st round knockout of unbeaten Peter Quillin last December. Jacobs can fight, and should be taken seriously.
But Golovkin isn’t like any other 160-pounder today, Top 10 Ranked or not. So here’s the real question: Is Jacobs a genuine threat to an elite like ‘GGG’? Well, the oddsmakers would tell you a resounding no right now. Golovkin (36-0, 33 KO), a wrecking ball looking to unify the division and extend a chilling twenty-three-fight KO streak, is a big favourite. He’s a beast. And until someone truly tests him, or even rocks him a little, he’ll continue to evade the underdog column.
As a fighter, Jacobs usually puts on a show. Whether you’re tuning in just for a knockout or to see some crisp boxing ability, he’ll more than often hit the fan-friendly mark. Jacobs’ record may be knockout-loaded, but his doubters will tell you it’s lacking in dangerous opposition besides the Quillin wipeout. This is true and also not. He hasn’t conquered the division’s finest, and his record does pale, not greatly, but enough to put Golovkin ahead on paper.
Jacobs does have good wins over some capable, solid operators such as Sergio Mora (twice), Caleb Truax and Jarrod Fletcher through 2014 to 2016, plus a prime Ishe Smith back in 2009. OK, the name Mora doesn’t put goose pimples on your neck, but let’s remember that he did knock down Jacobs in their first. As for the others, particularly Smith, they’re not murders row types, but aren’t to be scoffed at either.
If Jacobs and Golovkin have one thing in common, its great fundamentals, power, and career-defining wins over a dangerous top-level Middleweight. Both men have enjoyed ferocious, all-business outings, Jacobs against Quillin, and Golovkin against David Lemieux last October. But, on paper, Golovkin has the greater pro experience. Wins over Willie Monroe Jr, Martin Murray, Curtis Stevens, and perhaps even Gabriel Rosado, trump the kind of guys Jacobs has been dispatching.
So can Daniel Jacobs achieve a gigantic upset here? First off, he looks the real deal, even if he seems to have been protected a fair bit – again, minus Quillin – during his rebuild since the Pirog defeat. Personally, I’d like to have seen him take on another tough test, a fellow puncher like a Lemieux or Andy Lee, before jumping in with GGG. Then again, Jacobs is in his prime and seems plenty fresh without any real wars behind him. So perhaps this is as good a time as ever for this matchup to happen.
Doubters will tell you that Jacobs has a suspect chin and leaky defense. The chin part could well be true, although, since his opposition level hasn’t always been the greatest, and his meeting with Quillin lasted 85 seconds, there’s a sizeable question mark. The only time we’ve seen Jacobs knocked down and get up to win a fight – to the best of my knowledge – was when Mora dropped him in their original encounter last August. Other than that, it’s basically been Jacobs dishing out all the beatings.
The sturdier set of whiskers are probably on Golovkin. The guy’s never been clearly rocked or sent into retreat, and has never hit the canvas. In fact, he’s been known to willingly take a few shots on occasion – seen against the likes of Monroe Jr – perhaps to give the crowd a show or to simply prove he can take whatever comes his way. Kell Brook in particular highlighted a great deal about Golovkin’s chin in their September meeting. Brook is no fully-fledged Middleweight, granted, but still landed an unprecedented amount of clean power blows that failed to deter GGG.
On the defense side, neither Golovkin or Jacobs is leaky, but are definitely not impossible to hit. When Jacob sticks to a disciplined game plan, he can prove an elusive target. If there’s a sizeable criticism to be made, however, it’s that he can get a little sloppy when launching heavy attacks, particularly when jumping on guys he has hurt. Mora managed to capitalize on this, and Quillin might have been able to had he been a bit less buzzed.
Jacobs and Golovkin can both whack with the best of them, but it’s Golovkin who is known as much for physical strength as his power. Golovkin likes to stalk and cut off opponent escape routes to land his punches, while Jacobs likes to use the ring a little more and remain on his toes. Since Golovkin has had this invincible aura about him for some time, it’s hard to state exactly what kind of fighter beats him. If standing and trading is suicide, then you never know, maybe a mover-banger like Jacobs can upset the script.
On a final note, Jacobs’ dimensions, while not gargantuan, should get a mention. He’s lean, long, and a one-inch height and three-inch reach advantage is something he has in the plus column. Not alarming facts, but facts nonetheless that can be considered or thrown away. For the record, Jacobs is currently riding the No.3 spot here in BB’s Top 10 Middleweight Rankings, while GGG remains at the very top of the pile.
So, wrapping things up, is Jacobs a serious threat? Gut instinct tells me he’s probably more ‘threat’ than ‘serious threat’. Higher opposition level prior would have built a better case for a victory, but still, with that kind of raw power and decent boxing ability, he can’t be overlooked. With Canelo Alvarez negotiations stagnant right now, it’s a very good matchup, one of the best to be made at Middleweight, and one of the best for 2017. Cast your own opinions on Daniel Jacobs’ chances in the comments.