“GGG” is also the very best fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world.
The funny thing about life as an artist is that, it is often after death do we truly appreciate their paintings. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said the great Leonardo Da Vinci, whose sophistication was simply disregarded until he was no longer here.
To the apoplectic observer of Gennady Gennadyvich Golovkin (37-0, 33KOs) he is far from “TBE” in any weight class- much less his own in the annals of history. But jealousy breeds contempt, just as hatred is spawned from a lack of understanding and fear. What you should love about Golovkin is an erstwhile appreciation he has for old-school combat, while competing in a new age era that salivates for a savage. The great irony is that– he is a savage; yet is ravaged by fans and critics alike, ones who never want to see a fight go the distance.
Fans like Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto, fighters Golovkin would've simply mauled for no acclaim. Fans like Billy Joe Saunders, a fighter who should be ashamed to wear the WBO middleweight belt around his waist in front of a mirror. Fans like Canelo Alvarez, a fighter said to be too small for Golovkin, yet about to face an already has-been son a legend GGG is often compared to on May 6.
If he beats any of these fighters over the course of the last few years or this one, it won't matter to those predisposed to squinted eyes of doubt. Gennady Golovkin is “The Truth.” And the truth looks like hate to those who hate the truth.
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The signs were everywhere.
When the 30 year-old Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29KOs), a highly accomplished great amateur fighter expected to become an all-time great, decided to essentially put away his black and white Brooklyn Nets uniform in exchange for a blue and yellow Golden State Warriors jersey, the result was Army green for a black soldier ready for war with Triple G. Already a man of profound intelligence and perception, Jacobs journeyed to Oakland and enlisted the services of Virgil Hunter, who together with his prized ward (super middleweight great Andre Ward), had long thought of ways to defeat GGG. The mission was simple: the destruction of a mythical machine.
Notable pundits and fighters actually picked Jacobs to win and “expose” Golovkin. Or did they hope this would happen? None other than the legendary Bernard Hopkins went on record with his assertion that Jacobs would beat Golovkin ‘rather easily' after adding yet another layer of assistance to the Jacobs all-star prep team. Intellectual former world champion turned nutritionist Chris Algieri fed Jacobs additional portions of nuance to shove down the throat of Golovkin.
True to Floyd Mayweather's characterization of Golovkin as “straight up and down with no special effects, “GGG came to the ring like a Prince, iron clad in demeanor and straight-up Black ‘n White. The #23 Jordan brand sultan shoes he wore, when combined with his nearly 35 years in age (he celebrates a birthday on April 8), had me thinking of a vintage 1998 version of Jordan, one ready to pose in 2017 after all-netting Byron Russell and the Utah Jazz (Canelo take notes).
GGG VS. JACOBS: AN INSTANT CLASSIC
I thought going into this fight that we'd see a reasonable facsimile of the 1990 classic between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor. As it turned out, GGG V Jacobs was more like Pernell Whitaker V Julio Cesar Chavez, with Chavez clearly besting the great Whitaker. In more direct terms, the fight played out as if Meldrick Taylor decided to become a southpaw Whitaker, while taking a more calibrated approach to offense and much less punishment.
I was on hand at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago for Jacob's April 2015 defense against Caleb Truax– a very underrated and ultra tough fighter cut from the cloth of Golovkin. Jacobs often went from orthodox to southpaw against Truax seamlessly, eventually flashing enough greatness to stop Truax (who had never been stopped) in the 12th round. More than any other fighter, and well before an overrated Peter Quillin was tucked between the Sergio Mora wars, I decided Jacobs would be the truly “great fighter” to test Golovkin.
But not beat him.
Jacobs was the bigger middleweight, more talented, had better feet, a huge speed advantage and was the better athlete. This might surprise you, but he even had more power. So he won, right?
Jacobs was dropped and easily lost 7 rounds (8 rounds on my unofficial scorecard of 116-112).
It reminded me of Floyd Mayweather V Miguel Cotto, where people got carried away by pockets of success from Cotto, when in reality, Floyd won 8 rounds. So what if he caught “Money” with a couple combinations? “Special” fighters are supposed to be tested by great fighters. Jacobs clearly lost this fight, and the great “Drama Show” came while not knowing if Golovkin was about to be robbed as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez had just been.
The best aspect of the post-fight press conference was when Jacobs asked ESPN's Dan Rafael rather on-the-spot, who he thought had won the fight. What I've always admired about Dan is honesty under any circumstance, whether you agree with him or not. It's what a journalist is supposed to be.
“Uh… I had it 115-112. I thought Golovkin won the fight,” said Rafael. The tone of Jacobs and his camp was one of triumphant euphoria for a losing team, and their overall reaction told this observer that they were proud to distance Golovkin. I thought Jacobs was on the verge of being knocked out after the 9th round. He was gutsy, highly emotional and inspired in a way that is rare at the highest level of boxing. But he lost— widely, in my opinion.
What makes Golovkin such a special all-time great is his uncanny ability to reduce the ring geometrically. It forces fighters to feel as if the ring went from being a spacious 2 bedroom apartment, to a small studio you can't fit your couch into anymore. His distance control, preternatural poise and composure, and subtle movement to shift into his ideal range of combat while not giving a damn about what his opponent does at all is… Just different. The timing of his thunderous jab is remarkable, and for what he lacks in speed, he compensates for with economy and purpose.
Canelo is smaller than Jacobs and shorter, and isn't the athlete that Jacobs is. He would particularly be at a disadvantage against Golovkin because he doesn't have special feet like Jacobs. Billy Joe Saunders is about to take a massive beating to set up a mauling of Alvarez, who would get walked down. The only fighter who can deal with Golovkin right now (from a pure boxing standpoint), is 49-0 “loser” Floyd Mayweather. The reality of what Floyd is doing with Conor McGregor is an embarrassing affront to the storied history of boxing. Fight #50 should not involve a race war promotion filled with hate (that's all it would be) against a man with no ring experience.
If were alive, Bert Randolph Sugar would liken this to salt in his coffee. It's Floyd fighting a great white hope version of John L.Sullivan in his first professional fight. Sugar Ray Leonard “saw something” after Marvelous Marvin Hagler's terse KO of John Mugabi, which lead him to test the limits of his greatness to face Hagler. If we can all agree that Mayweather is greater than Kell Brook, then that means Floyd can reach for his Hagler moment and challenge Golovkin to a superfight for the ages. Golovkin should start coming out to DJ Khaled's “All I Do Is Win,” because that's all he does no matter what.
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