For years now, people have branded boxing as a dying sport and they definitely have reasons why. Ticket sales are dwindling, the pay-per-view business also isn’t doing too well, and there’s a general lack of interest from mainstream media.
The decision makers in the sport of boxing share a part of the blame. The best fighters in divisions sometimes do not get to fight each other because of a variety of reasons and this is one main reasons why the popularity of boxing has waned.
However, sometimes things just fall together. Sometimes the boxing gods smile down upon those who have remained loyal to the sweet science and reward them with a match that simply could not get any better. That’s what the upcoming middleweight championship bout between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs feels like and it’s only fitting that it will happen inside Madison Square Garden in New York.
Golovkin currently holds the unified IBF, WBC, WBA, and IBO middleweight titles and all of these will be on the line as he faces perhaps the biggest challenge of his career.
After winning an Olympic silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, the fighting pride of Kazakhstan honed his skills further before marking his professional boxing debut in 2006. He started his march to the top with a knockout victory over Gabor Balogh in Germany but few could have guessed the meteoric rise he would have.
Golovkin has amassed a record of 36 wins without a single defeat with 33 of his wins coming via the short route. The last time one of his opponents heard the final bell was way back in 2008 as he has stopped his last 23 opponents.
With an amazing blend of technique and power, Golovkin has blazed a path of destruction in the middleweight division as he has taken down every challenger they out in front of him. What has made him popular is his willingness to fight anyone and everyone.
“I like old school. If you want a fight, call me, call my manager, that’s it. It’s a very easy business,” Golovkin once said in an interview.
Last September, more than 19,000 fans packed the O2 Arena when Golovkin took on Kell Brook. The two undefeated fighters exchanged heavy leather against each other but it did not take the unified champion long before he defended his belts and grabbed his opponent’s IBF title away.
Golovkin was touched a few times by Brook but the English fighter’s corner threw in the towel in round 5 as the Kazakh was slowly chopping their fighter down.
During that fight, Jacob was getting a blow-by-blow account of what was happening from his friend. The friend said that Brook connected with a lot of punches and “exposed” Golovkin.
“From that point on, I knew that if I hit him with the same kind of shots, it would be a totally different story,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs was one of the hottest prospects in boxing a few years ago after he started his career with 20 straight victories with only three opponents managing to finish the fight on their feet. However, a surprising knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog would prove to be the start of the biggest challenge of Jacobs’ career, which ironically did not happen inside the ring.
The fighter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He went from a world-class athlete to an ordinary patient in one fell swoop after he underwent a six-hour operation. But Jacobs wouldn’t be denied.
He started training even though he still needed to wear a brace to support his back and unbelievably marked his in-ring return just 17 months after.
“I just wanted to be happy again do what the doctors and a lot of people said I could not do. I learned that you have to appreciate everything you have because you never know when life is going to be over,” Jacobs said.
Now the fighter from Brooklyn who holds a record of 32 wins with 29 knockouts against only one defeat will get the biggest opportunity of his career as he takes on Golovkin.
The two easily made weight with Golovkin weighing in at 159.6 pounds and Jacobs tipping the scales at 159.8 pounds. The unified champion is the heavy favorite in the betting lines but no one could ever count out Jacobs simply because of what he needed to overcome just to get back into the ring.
Golovkin-Jacobs should be fun for a long as it lasts but, more than that, it needs to be the start of a movement in boxing where the best fight the best. Boxing might be a dying sport but this fight could give it a much-needed lifeline.
Catch the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs middleweight title fight on Sunday on TV5. Telecast starts at 1:00PM.