Today is St. Patrick's Day.
On St. Patrick's Day in 1990, approximately 27 years ago, the epic saga between the great Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight, which took place at the now destroyed Las Vegas Hilton, was called “Thunder and Lightning” by Don King, and was the first significant boxing event to take place after the myth of Mike Tyson was forever destroyed by Buster Douglas.
Douglas was still destroying me on the inside weeks later for vanquishing my hero, and I never forgave him until I became a man. The boy inside of me still remembers the invincibility of Tyson and how Douglas (in a forgotten piece of history) cited a proper “fear” of Tyson and the recent loss of his mother as dual motivation to prevail.
Like Tyson, Gennady Gennadyvich Golovkin, “GGG”, is regarded as a God impervious to pain or peril. Chavez was the anti-Tyson, in that he walked with an unshakable veneer of infallible confidence and trained with the resolve of a sultan. At 68-0 with 56 KO's, he was the Spartan among all Spartans, and perfected the Mexican style of claustrophobic aggression. This all very much seems like Golovkin today, who under the guise of Abel Sanchez, has taken the great Chavez's approach to another dimension.
Meldrick Taylor, on the other hand, was guided under the brilliance of late luminaries Lou Duva and George Benton. He was an incredible 1984 Olympic gold medalist at just 17, and on the cusp of greatness when he faced what was already a legend in Chavez. The arc of Daniel Jacobs is decidedly different, but his glory was derailed by an attack from a rare form of cancer. Nevertheless, Olympic great Andre Ward very much knew of the true potential of Jacobs, and his team has converged to sharpen Jacobs into perhaps the very best version we'll ever see.
I expect Saturday, March 18 at Madison Square Garden, for Gennady Golovkin V Daniel Jacobs to closely resemble what took place between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor. Consider this statement from Daniel Jacobs just yesterday:
“This is the biggest challenge that you can have, and me saying I'm scared isn't a bad thing. Because being human and being an athlete, you have to have that fear to make you train harder, or put you in a position where you can overcome. That fear can get you through a lot. I'm not fearful of Triple G the person or the fighter– but just what they make him out to be. I'm training according to that and what I see. So yeah, I'm training like I'm the most terrified guy in the world, and that's going to make me the most hungry. My reflexes are going to be on point. They say a scared fighter sometimes can be the most dangerous fighter out there. I'm looking forward to going in there and being scary.”
Both fighters weighed-in at just a shade under 160 lbs amid a green electricity from this modern St. Patrick's Day. If the ghost of Chavez/Taylor truly envelopes this event (and I think it does), then Jacobs will get off to a fast start and be the better of GGG from the outset. But this also means that he'll take a quiet and methodical beating, one that will slowly manifest and magnify into a much larger one as the fight progresses, ultimately leading to an absolutely brutal KO at the hands of boxing's most merciless finisher.
The pick here is Gennady Golovkin by 10th round KO over a very brave Daniel Jacobs, to set the stage for a superfight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September.