Photo: Ed Mulholland
Ahead of Saturday night’s fight between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs at Madison Square Garden on HBO pay-per-view (9 PM ET/6 PM PT), HBO Boxing Insiders offer up their predictions. (Fans of Danny Jacobs may want to look away.)
Hamilton Nolan: Gennady KO
I think Golovkin will knock Danny Jacobs out, mid to late rounds if I had to guess. Jacobs is probably the best fight Golovkin could get right now at 160 pounds, and he's a serious puncher, so he has an outside chance if he can hurt Golovkin early. But we've never seen Golovkin hurt, so it's not likely. I think Golovkin will hunt him down and kill him, the same as he will anyone else in that division.
Nat Gottlieb: Golovkin TKO 8
He’s an indestructible force and has faced better competition than Jacobs has. Jacobs is a nice story, but all stories have an ending.
Kieran Mulvaney: Golovkin TKO 7
In many respects, Jacobs has all the elements you would want in a fighter going up against Golovkin: He's tall and strong, with a good jab and power. And make no mistake: He's a real challenge for Golovkin, quite possibly the biggest the Kazakh has yet faced. The problem for Jacobs is that GGG knows it; there is a feeling of focus and intensity around Team Golovkin that hasn't always been there. And everything Jacobs can do -- be it box or brawl -- Golovkin can do better. Jacobs will crack Golovkin, he'll hurt him, he'll have his moments, but slowly but surely, GGG will cut off the ring, break Jacobs down and finish him off sometime around the seventh round.
Diego Morilla: Golovkin KO 5
Six years have passed since a scrawny and pretty much untested Russian fighter named Dmitry Pirog simply destroyed Jacobs with frightening ease. And even though I can easily assume that Jacobs has improved both mentally and physically after enduring his toughest fight outside of the ring, I also have no problem assuming that a human wrecking ball like GGG will have no problem scoring a very similar and equally devastating stoppage win against Jacobs, who has shown courage and grit in his miraculous recovery as a fighter, but who has not nearly enough of either of those virtues to stand in front of Golovkin with any kind of chance of victory.
Springs Toledo: Golovkin KO
Defeating Gennady Golovkin requires athleticism backed up by speed and power. Danny Jacobs has it, but it won't be enough without a very disciplined strategy. The fact that Jacobs is working with Virgil Hunter means he understands that. If Jacobs avoids exchanges and uses his legs for sudden attacks and fast exits, he can compile points and gain confidence. Golovkin disdains his opponents' offense by punching with them; but if Jacobs can feint and set traps and counter, he'll be all right for a few rounds -- maybe more. Eventually, however, Golovkin's pressure will wear Jacobs down and his attack will prove too varied for Jacobs to avoid getting hurt over 12 rounds. Jacobs has a glaring liability in this fight that cancels out his assets: His chin won't hold up.
Eric Raskin: Golovkin KO 6
I definitely view Daniel Jacobs as GGG's most dangerous pro opponent, in that he has the most impressive combination of speed and power that Golovkin has come up against. But that doesn't mean I give Jacobs much chance to win. I can see him doing well for a couple of rounds, but before long, Golovkin's body shots will slow him down and GGG will cut off the ring with ever increasing success until Jacobs stands still in the wrong place for a half-second too long and goes down.
Michael Gluckstadt: Golovkin KO 3
If Mike Tyson may have said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,” GGG could just as easily say, “Everyone is the best fighter I’ve ever faced, until they get in the ring with me.” Jacobs may be more skilled than any of Golovkin’s prior competition, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to go punch-for-punch with him. If Sergio Mora can put Jacobs on the canvas, I shudder to think of the damage Gennady is liable to inflict on Saturday night.
Gordon Marino: Golovkin KO 4
Jacobs is an explosive puncher and you can be sure that he will try to attack up the middle. But Gennady has the iron whiskers to go with his hands of stone. More importantly, one of GGG's greatest virtues is that he punches when his opponents are punching. That will be the undoing of the noble and talented and Mr. Jacobs.
Carlos Acevedo: Golovkin TKO
Jacobs has talent. When he works behind his jab, drops one-twos from the perimeter and sidesteps an on-rushing opponent, Jacobs reminds us of why he was such a hot prospect years ago and why he was a standout amateur. His right hand -- as a lead or as a counter -- is potent and he has a fair killer instinct to go with its sting. But Jacobs is rarely consistent in the ring; while the Brooklyn native is athletic and mobile, he often fights straight-up and loses form from round to round. If Golovkin enters the ring weight-drained on Saturday night (which the scuttlebutt indicates), he may drop the first few rounds on the scorecards before revving up and pushing Jacobs back with steady pressure. That pressure includes thumping body shots, a ramrod jab and a punishing left hook. It will take a near-perfect performance -- similar to what Frankie Randall pulled off against Julio Cesar Chavez in 1994 -- for Jacobs to score the upset, and fighters like Randall are few and far between today. Golovkin will likely score a late TKO after some difficult moments early.