Entering his title defense late Saturday, Gennady Golovkin enjoyed three notable streaks. The streaks have propelled Golovkin into one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters.
For Golovkin, one streak ended but the most important runs continued albeit by a close margin. Benefiting from an early fight knockdown, Golovkin won a tight unanimous decision against Daniel Jacobs at Madison Square Garden in New York.
With the victory, Golovkin has begun his professional career with 37 successive wins and also made a successful 18th consecutive defense of a middleweight title reign that began in 2010. However, Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout win streak ended as Jacobs provided the native of Kazakhstan his toughest test as titleholder.
“His speed was good and his distance was good, a very clean fighter,” Golovkin said. “I needed 12 rounds, too. It was a very good fight for me. It was a good experience.”
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Golovkin was effective with solid left jabs and straight rights to head. In the fourth round, Golovkin floored Jacobs with two rights to the head for the bout’s only knockdown.
But Jacobs (32-2) not only reached his feet but pressed the action against the charging Golovkin with left hooks and rights to the head. In the final round, Jacobs connected with combinations to the head, indicating to Golovkin that he withstood shots that previous challengers succumbed to within the distance.
Jacobs’ late rally was not sufficient to sway the three fight judges. Steve Weisfeld and Don Trella scored the fight for Golovkin 115-112, while Max De Luca also had Golovkin winning 114-113.
“The fight didn’t go in my favor, although I really felt I won that fight,” Jacobs said. “I definitely think at least it could have been a draw to say the least. But it didn’t go my way, and I won’t complain.”
Now that Jacobs tested Golovkin for 12 rounds, questions already are surfacing about cracks in Golovkin’s seemingly impenetrable armor.
“I’m not mad with this fight — a very clean, very smart, very quality fight,” Golovkin said. “He’s been my best opponent. He didn’t panic, didn’t lose control.”
Given the fight’s close result, Golovkin is willing to grant Jacobs a rematch, although a direct second bout seems unlikely. Golovkin’s financial bonanza remains the much discussed fight against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who fill fight countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the sport’s next pay-per-view event May 6.
“Of course, if his manager and promoter talk with my promoter, of course,” Golovkin said of another with Jacobs. “I’m a boxer. It’s my job.”
Jacobs, a cancer survivor, was a solid underdog and perceived as another Golovkin knockout victim. Yet, Jacobs earned substantial clout with his performance.
“Boxing is boxing and I definitely I shocked a lot of people tonight because going in I was definitely the underdog and I had no chance,” Jacobs said. “I proved who I am and I proved what I can do.”
In the bout preceding the Golovkin-Jacobs match, Thailand’s Wisaksil Wangek stunned previously unbeaten Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez with a majority-decision victory to capture the World Boxing Council super-flyweight title. Wangek (42-4-1) won the fight on two judge’s scorecards, 114-112 and the third scored it 113-113. Gonzalez is now 46-1.
AROUND THE RING
Two South Florida prospects remained unbeaten in their recent bouts.
Ahmed Elbiali, a Krop High graduate, scored a first-round technical knockout victory over Jackson Junior March 20 in Tunica, Mississippi.
For the 26-year-old Elbiali (15-0, 12 KOs), the light-heavyweight bout was his first after a 14-month absence.
Super-middleweight Niko Valdes, 23, knocked out Alejandro Osuna in four rounds March 10 in Los Angeles.
A Gulliver High graduate, Valdes is now 4-0 with knockouts.
Thursday (10 p.m., ESPN2): Jason Quigley vs. Glen Tapia, 10, middleweights; Randy Caballero vs. Jesus Ruiz, 10, junior-featherweights.
Saturday (10 p.m., HBO): Replay of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs middleweight title fight.