Photos: Ed Mulholland/K2 Promotions
By Matt Draper
NEW YORK -- For top middleweights Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs, who on March 18 will step into the ring at Madison Square Garden to battle for the unified middleweight title on HBO pay-per-view, facing off at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” for division supremacy represents the biggest and most difficult fight of their impressive careers.
“[This is] the best matchup … the best opponent … the best place,” said Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) at Tuesday’s press conference at MSG, standing at a podium in front of a lowered jumbotron flashing his fight highlights. “I promise you’ll have an amazing show.”
Golovkin, who will put his four middleweight titles on the line, is no stranger to MSG. The 34-year-old knockout artist from Kazakhstan has fought in the building four times since 2013, using The Garden to build his KO streak (23 and counting) and develop into one of the most dangerous boxers in the world.
But fighting Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), who is widely viewed as both a skilled boxer and fighter, will likely be the toughest test of GGG’s career thus far.
“I believe Daniel is ready for this fight,” Golovkin said. “[It’s the] biggest step for us.”
Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez also recognized the challenge that Jacobs presents.
“I would say he’s probably the best fighter we will have fought to date,” Sanchez told reporters on Tuesday. “A better amateur, great right hand, good boxing IQ. Danny is smart. He’s going to be a big threat to us.”
For Brooklyn’s Jacobs, 29, the hometown showdown versus one of boxing's best has been a lifetime in the making. Jacobs captured New York Golden Gloves titles at MSG as an amateur, climbed the pro ranks with multiple fights in the New York metro area and, despite being forced to take a 19-month hiatus from the sport in 2011 to overcome bone cancer, has steadily continued his ascent to the top tier of the middleweight division.
“This is the fight I’ve always wanted,” Jacobs said. “This is the pinnacle as far as opponents. I have to shock the world and I have to let them know that I am the best.
“If I’m 100 percent mentally and physically prepared, there’s going to be a new undisputed middleweight champion of the world,” continued Jacobs. “My fists are really going to do the talking inside that ring.”
While the outcome of the fight is far from certain, it stands to reason that it will involve big blows and may not go the distance; Golovkin and Jacobs have a combined 35 consecutive knockouts, with both coming off fights that ended by the fifth round.
“With two guys going into the ring with a 90 percent KO ratio,” said Sanchez, “it’s fair to say that someone is going out.”