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The Day After: Thoughts on Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs

After Saturday night’s main event in New York City, New York at Madison Square Garden on HBO Pay-Per-View, we were left with a lot of unpacking to do. Gennady Golovkin picked up a unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs in a fight that will largely be marred by a questionable outcome, immature pundits yelling at fans on social media and flat-out confusion over what to perceive anymore.

At best Golovkin showed off his power on Saturday night dropping Daniel Jacobs in the fourth round and at worst he looked like a more advanced Arthur Abraham prodding forward looking only to land one big shot without rhyme or reason other then his fans would cheer if he did it. It was the type of fight that left a lot of people confused. Golovkin after Saturday night to many felt like the careful creation of one of the best promoters in the world, Tom Loeffler, who guided his career carefully rather then Golovkin’s hall of fame fight.

For those unfamiliar of the plight of Gennady Golovkin, he arrived on U.S. television against lesser known foe Grzegorz Proksa on a HBO undercard when I started covering the sport in 2012 then a few month later would brutally stop Gabriel Rosado once again on HBO. Golovkin would then continue this trend knocking out foes and capturing the attention of the network, HBO.

The formula was simple keep Golovkin active, put him in with aging fighters or fighters a little below world class level and keep him looking dominant. It was the same thing that had created Mike Tyson in the early 90s as Golovkin fight meant paying to seeing a knockout and often a brutal one at that. Though most people had heard of Golovkin’s foes, they were not ever viewed as threats to him and even more so, the favorite.

So coming into his first real test against a fighter who came in as physically big as Gennady Golovkin, who is not at all a small middleweight as Golovkin came into the ring on Saturday night at over 170 lbs., it was odd to seem him look so mortal. The pure pressure fighter who was use to one-punch KOs and fans going crazy was instead having to time Daniel Jacobs and use feints to land.

I have thought for the longest time, Golovkin resembled a trend in America as a whole. Some people just like to see others hurt to justify their own suffering. Golovkin was revered for being the “anti-Floyd Mayweather” i.e. not going to decision, but a part of it also was that he brought out fans who wanted to see someone who made them feel strong in the process hurting someone else.

After the fight this was evident as one of the premier boxing scribes rejoiced at the fact that Golovkin won even mocking fans who liked a decision late last year he didn’t agree with stating “…now they know how [he] felt.”

It is just a bad time in boxing as we are no longer allowed to watch fighters and have views on them. It is expected that at the upper echelon of the sport, you should pick a side and stay there. Not unlike how President Trump is at war with those with lower socioeconomic wages, Golovkin supporters in the media and in the stands, will label and discredit any who speak poorly upon their fighter with an implied biased that you are not a fan of “entertaining boxing” and even more that “slick, boring” boxing has implied connotations of being black, that is what has hurt the sport.

I am not the pro-Gennady Golovkin writer, but I don’t dislike him. I watch all of his fights and write about them despite being blacklisted from covering any of his events. I just dislike his fans, the same fans who took joy in my grandfather’s death mocking it on social media or posting my phone number on the internet in which multiple people threatened to kill me. You might ask why? – Well, I questioned how Golovkin would do against a fighter who could box and was the same size as him. 

Yet, to be fair, Golovkin has no control over his fans actions, it just slightly scares me the level of group-think amongst supporters exist and how if he is not listed as one of the all-time great middleweights ever, you’re an awful person with a bias against the Kazakhstanian boxer.

The War on Media

Gennady Golovkin and his promoter, Tom Loeffler, have been some of the most accessible fighters in terms of superstars you could find in boxing to a certain extent, but with a caveat. Though fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had defenders rallying for their cause in public forums, they also had public criticism that couldn’t be silenced.

Golovkin’s team essentially offers Los Angeles based media outlets exclusive content with one of the highest trending stars in boxing at the moment to publicly campaign on Golovkin’s behalf. This content can be monetized to make a healthy living and also rise your stock in the industry. The only problem is that they have to cater to the narrative that best suits Golovkin.

From using media outlets to publicly negotiate fights with both Andre Ward and Canelo Alvarez only to back track and say that they don’t want to do business in the public.Not unlike Donald Trump’s war on “fake news”, a few high profile boxing bloggers are armed with the power of discrediting your views based solely from their higher profile, which is mainly responsible thanks to Golovkin as they will push a pro-Golovkin agenda.

Not all bad

Despite a long interlude, Gennady Golovkin didn’t look terrible, he just looked a prototypical European power puncher who had a nice snapping jab. Golovkin did just enough to win, but not much more then that. He always came forward and despite not looking fantastic, he was always in the fight and would land more punches in some rounds, just his punches outside of a few rounds didn’t seem to be the cleaner ones.

The reason for the shock from the fight was mostly based off writers who wrote off Daniel Jacobs completely. Golovkin showed a great jab with good timing that caused Jacobs to be weary to commit to coming inside on Golovkin, but that was it. Golovkin also showed like he has for years now, a great chin, as he took flush Jacobs’ punches and didn’t dramatically impacted during the course of the bout.

Don’t discredit Daniel Jacobs

Most people including this story up until this point have focused on everything Golovkin didn’t do or the fact that he was so heavily built up and invested in by HBO Boxing. Well, that somewhat belittles the hard work Daniel Jacobs put together in camp at the SNAC Gym in San Carlos, CA as well as Virgil Hunter’s Gym in Hayward, CA. Jacobs’ fought the schoolyard bully in Gennady Golovkin and at times pushed him backwards. You can point at Daniel Jacobs not weighing in that morning for the IBF middleweight title and staying with in ten pounds of the 160 lbs. weight limit, but why was no one upset a week prior when David Lemieux did it to Curtis Stevens.

Jacobs went from being a live dog to putting on a career defining performance only minutes from where he grew up as he stopped Golovkin from applying reckless, aggressive pressure and forced him to be methodical. It simply looked like the Kell Brook fight, but this time with a man the same size as Golovkin.

Jacobs did all the things you would hope for in a big fight he surprised you early, he got dropped and didn’t cave from the pressure, he embraced it. Jacobs, the cancer survivor, never let the moment get to him as he created the moment rather then the moment overtaking him.

Even though it was a New York City crowd the theme of the night was for the feared monster, Golovkin, Jacobs was facing. Jacobs not just did enough, he seemingly won, when few would go on record and say things publicly.

Training Smarter

Something no one has really talked about is the fact that Daniel Jacobs spent a good portion of his camp at the SNAC Gym in San Carlos, CA, which is a private facility for the a sports specific nutrition company created by Victor Conte. Jacobs trained at altitude, but in a lab like setting in which his heart rate was monitored, something Golovkin who in Big Bear, CA might not have been focusing on.

Jacobs worked with world class conditioning coach Mike Bazzel as well a sports specific team including Chris Algieri, who made sure his conditioning was top notch come fight night.

Why do American fans cheer against our guys?

It could be as simple as Golovkin knocks people out and that is cool to some people, but honestly why is it that seemingly whenever an American fighter is fighting a foreign fighter on American soil, American fans cheer for the foreign fighter? From Danny Garcia vs. Amir Khan to Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev, the fighter from overseas received more applause from those on social media as well as some more fanfare.

Are we in America just awful fight fans? Seriously, are we?

People traveled from the west coast to New York City simply to see Gennady Golovkin, but never once went to attempt to visit Daniel Jacobs when he trained just two hours away. It makes me jealous of the United Kingdom, who have fans who embrace both their guy and the opposing guy in good fun.

I am not sure what it is, but American fight fans sure do not take to American fighters one bit as even fan-friendly fighter such as Terence Crawford do not get the same attention as Gennady Golovkin despite having similar power and more boxing awareness in the ring.

Can we stop saying “we’re tired of hearing Daniel Jacobs is a cancer survivor”

I get it that some people might not like hearing the narrative over and over since it makes them understand their own mortality or that they just have heard it before, but Daniel Jacobs surviving cancer is remarkable. Even more so from his own coaches accounts, he had to relearn how to walk and nearly died.

Do people bring up I am tired of hearing stories of courage such as Anne Frank, Harriett Tubman and others, who faced death and still choose to fight for what they believed in. Though not entirely the same the comparison is apt, both fought when things were bleak for what they believed in.

I have rarely been more ashamed to be a boxing fan then to hear pundits constantly belittle or dumbing down the fact that a 30 year-old man, who overcame cancer, should not talk about it since they’re bored of it. Not to get on a soap box, BUT it is a very serious illness that nearly either effects directly or indirect everyone in America.

Was Golovkin created?

So I don’t think this per say, but I have to ask was the Golovkin era, mostly creation. Tom Loeffler as I have mentioned before is an amazing promoter and has created a special moment in time with Gennady Golovkin. It is obvious Golovkin is a great fighter and when put in with the right opponents, he can get foes out of there, but now against a world class welterweight and now a world class middleweight, he hasn’t looked the same.

The big question now is Golovkin the fighter many fans hoped to be or is he a fighter who is looking every bit of his age and essentially going to be used to make someone else a star, while his supporters will talk fondly of his heyday like say a Fedor Emelianenko in MMA. It seems like at the very least, Golovkin seems to get frustrated and regress when fighting fighting opponents who have enough power to keep him honest, a jab to keep him at bay and a chin to stand-up right to his onslaught.

You have to say that against the top super middleweights Golovkin should be the underdog and at least from my perception. It appears that Golovkin struggles with southpaws and Gilberto Ramirez can box just as much as punch in the vein of Daniel Jacobs. The road just seems to get tougher from here.

Golovkin is the old era in the new era

Gennady Golovkin in a weird way is one of the most unlucky fighters as he emerged during a time in which boxing was more available then ever before. Fans who would watch Showtime or HBO cards now live in a world in which those network do not cater enough to their needs offering fewer boxing cards then ever, meaning the subscriptions and interest from casual fans on premium boxing networks seem as lax as ever. Beyond that, HBO is cutting its boxing budget yearly, meaning most of their fights from here on out will be pay-per-view.

While boxing is making stride on network television, Golovkin is working on gate numbers and the old fashion model of pay-per-view to define himself as a star and the world is changing. You can track his success in numbers, but another number also trails – the age of 35. That is the age Golovkin turns this year.

Though far from an old man, he is far from being in his athletic prime and the fact is if he wants to be a bonafide star, he needs “the big fight” soon and those who he could fight now, know it and want big compensation. Just like someone desperate to get into a relationship, Golovkin is now in need of the big fight, but lacks a lot of leverage to make the fight happen on his terms, which at this point it seems he needs as much as the fight itself.


So here is the ugly, Daniel Jacobs didn’t have a rematch clause and nearly took down the big cash cow for K2 Promotions. It will more then likely not happen and this has nearly been confirmed as Loeffler told, that they’re targeting a Canelo fight instead of a rematch.

Even if you think Golovkin won the fight, it seemed it would of been a great rematch for later this year and a home-run for the fighter’s wallets and the fans.

Canelo might take the fight, but he might not and to put your whole business plan behind another person is an awful strategy.

We live in an era of hype without substance, when headlines matter more then content.

Just because you don’t think Gennady Golovkin won the fight, doesn’t mean you hate him nor should you be subject to ridicule for it. Just because you’re a black boxing fan doesn’t mean you hate Gennady Golovkin. Just because you like action fights doesn’t mean you hate “slick boxers”. Narratives of absolutes create stereotypes and stereotypes lead to injustice and racism.

The big takeaway from Saturday night was not the result, but how much some people wanted Gennady Golovkin to be the best boxer ever and when faced with adversity it was a harsh shock.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle