NEW YORK -- Daniel Jacobs succeeded on Saturday in taking unified middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin the distance in a 12-round fight for the first time, and he likely won over fans while showcasing his heart and ability to box.
The only thing Jacobs didn’t win was the actual fight.
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) made the 18th defense of his middleweight title but saw his 23-fight consecutive knockout streak come to an end as Jacobs lived up to his billing as the most difficult test of GGG’s career.
In the end, Golovkin hung on to claim a unanimous decision (115-112, 115-112, 114-113) at Madison Square Garden in New York. CBS Sports scored the bout 114-114.
“I think I won the fight, and I think these fans support me on that decision,” Jacobs said. “… I thought I won by two rounds, minimum. ... I did feel like I was ahead on the cards, and I felt like I needed to win the last round just to kind of seal the deal.”
He continued: “This is boxing. Obviously he’s a bigger draw than me, and they want to make that super matchup with him and Canelo [Alvarez], so Daniel Jacobs probably got X’d out. ... I won this fight.”
Golovkin, 34, outlanded Jacobs 231 to 175, according to CompuBox. But it was Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) who landed more power shots, 144 to 126.
“I respect Daniel, and he did a very good job and clean job,” Golovkin said. “Respect to my team and all the people that support me. Daniel is my favorite fighter -- clean, good, quality, very good fighter.”
Jacobs, 30, the first cancer survivor to win a world title, got up off the canvas in Round 4 after Golovkin landed a pair of clean flush right hands along the ropes.
“After the knockdown, I told him he would have to kill me [to knock me out],” Jacobs said. “When I got up, I thought, ‘This is all he has? I got back up and I thought I won the fight.’”
Not only did Jacobs instantly regain his legs after the knockdown, he constantly varied his attack by switching to southpaw, which at times took away Golovkin’s jab and forced him to think.
Jacobs, whose confidence continued to grow in the middle rounds, fought with a nasty streak at times, including leading with his forearm and hitting both on the break and after the bell. He also earned the respect of Golovkin, arguably the sport’s most feared puncher, by standing and trading at times on the inside.
“There were many times during the fight I went toe-to-toe because I knew I could,” Jacobs said. “I am looking forward to the future. I think I gained a lot of fans. My style is good, I am a fan-friendly guy, and I thought I won the fight.”
Golovkin was able to weather storms by relying on his jab, which he outlanded Jacobs by a wide margin of 105 to 31. But despite cornering Jacobs at times as the aggressor, he was never again able to put him in trouble with power shots.
“This is boxing. I am a boxer and I respect his team,” Golovkin said. “This is boxing. I need the decision. I wasn’t thinking that I needed the 12th round to win the fight. This was my first test at 12 rounds. I needed a quality fight not just the 12th round.”
Golovkin, who went on to lose the final round on two of the three scorecards, reiterated his intent to face Canelo Alvarez in a superfight in September.
“Of course I am ready to fight Canelo,” Golovkin said. “Of course I want that fight. I am like an animal for that fight. I will [also] give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.”
“We have agreed on a lot of points and a lot of points are still outstanding,” said Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler of K2, regarding his negotiations with Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy.
Loeffler, who had hoped to bring Golovkin to his native Kazakhstan in June for a title unification bout against England’s Billy Joe Saunders, said those plans are still up in the air.
“We have to see how Gennady is feeling next week and we have to see what the outcomes are out there,” Loeffler said.
Golovkin and Jacobs headlined a four-fight main card that also included aby perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game, junior bantamweight title holder Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Golovkin vs. Jacobs scorecard
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