By “Ice” John Scully
Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of GGG’s and that I picked him to win the fight on Saturday versus Danny Jacobs. I am a fan of Danny’s as well on a personal and a professional level. Great person, very good fighter and an inspiration to many, many people due to his overcoming Cancer. Physically and stylistically he was sure to present the biggest puzzle of GGG’s career but ultimately I had to figure that Golovkin would win out due to supreme punching power, constant mental and physical pressure and uncanny punch placement.
Avoiding all that GGG generally brings to the table for a full 12 rounds seemed an unlikely task.
In what has turned out to be a very controversial decision, GGG came away with a unanimous 12 round victory after a fight that left more questions about him than each of his previous 36 bouts combined had ever done.
I would have to think that, in a nutshell, most boxing people assumed this particular fight would follow a very distinct pattern. Danny would start out boxing and moving laterally with some success, but as the rounds wore on, he would gradually fall victim to the physical (and mental) pressure and power shots of the champion. The second half of the fight would see GGG pick things up with more and more accuracy and if he didn’t stop a brave but tiring Jacobs late he would still come away with a very clear and unanimous victory.
But that’s why they actually fight the fights. Sometimes the obvious result isn’t so obvious and sometimes the script gets changed by someone who simply doesn’t believe in it.
As each round passed on Saturday night at the world famous Madison Square Garden, it became very obvious to me that this was not the GGG that I was accustomed to seeing and that Danny Jacobs was in the exact mental zone that he needed to be in to face a fighter of this caliber.
It was one of the most intense games of cat and Mouse that you could ever want to see, shades of Hagler-Leonard from 30 years ago next month.
ROUND 1: I had DJ winning this round by default. He moved laterally, kept his distance, very busy with the jab. It was very clear that GGG had trouble finding his range so he decided not to rush things. Nothing much happened ,but Danny clearly got the better of whatever did.
ROUND 2: GGG puts on heavy, constant pressure in the 2nd. Danny boxes and moves and while he doesn’t do anything particularly eye catching or impressive this round, it is apparent that he is not intimated by GGG as much as he is simply finding his range and boxing smartly. All things considered, this was an even round but a pattern is definitely being set.
ROUND 3. Danny lets fly in the 3rd with some eye catching counter shots. Hard and fast if not 100 percent accurate. GGG is starting to close the gap between them and is landing hard punches for the first time. With about 15 seconds to go, though, Danny lets fly with a very big hook that lands right on the button.
Danny Jacobs is definitely in it to win it.
ROUND 4. GGG shows why his jab is one of the best in the game today. Short, straight and very, very hard with excellent and precise timing. It’s not always flashy but it is extremely damaging and accurate. A pair of rights drop Jacobs along the ropes, underscoring this point. He’d just better hope the judges at ringside on this night notice such things.
ROUND 5. The hardest round to score thus far. GGG keeps up the pressure the entire round but Danny is dropping in some very nice sporadic shots as he stops suddenly and catches GGG by surprise. I get the feeling and impression that Gennady is beginning to realize this isn’t your average, run of the mill title defense tonight.
ROUND 6. Danny confuses GGG in a big way by switching to southpaw. DJ is extremely adept at boxing from either stance and his being a lefty now is clearly troubling the champ. It appears GGG can’t time him and is showing very subtle signs of frustration with it.
At the 1:30 mark, Danny lands a very big right hand, maybe the best shot of the fight this far.
It’s not super exciting but it is definitely interesting!!
ROUND 7. I’m noticing Danny is reacting very well to the shots from GGG that do get through. This is huge for both guys, just for different reasons. Danny is starting to let some fast and hard flurries go now, very reminiscent of Sugar Ray against Hagler when his adrenaline really started pumping and he realized he was actually in a groove and in a position to actually win. Very interesting to watch!
The words “Huge upset” cross my mind several time during this round.
Round 8. Danny seems to have gained in confidence now. For better or worse, GGG is an unemotional fighter for the most part and its often hard to get a read on his status at any given time but Danny is clearly showing great confidence now. His adrenaline is sky rocketing in the 8th and he’s let go some explosive counter shots that leave GGG with nothing to do but try and block them and wait for Danny to slow down a bit.
Round 9. For most of the round it appears GGG just cant get off until he finally gets through with a huge uppercut, albeit one that Danny fires back from immediately. That in a nutshell seems to be the story of the fight up to this point. GGG generally is not accustomed to get fired upon immediately after he lands his better shots. This is relatively new territory for him, definitely. Danny is bringing a different dimension to the fight now.
ROUND 10. A minute or so into this round I have visions of Douglas-Tyson back in 1990. Danny seems inspired in a Buster Douglas-kind of way. He’s relaxed looking and is ducking and dodging beautifully. For the first time in the fight, it occurs to me that maybe Danny is simply too elusive and too big for GGG? The size difference, height and build, along with the movement are clearly the major factors in GGG not being able to do what he normally does best.
ROUND 11. GGG is fighting with urgency now, letting hard shots go, obviously looking to damage and he is getting through, too, but Danny is a warrior tonight is staying right with him in a very inspirational way. GGG is landing some heavy, heavy jabs and getting through with punishing single shots that you would have to endure yourself via 10 ounce fight gloves to truly appreciate. Short shots from a puncher in 10′s may not always look like much on TV or from the audience and the person on the receiving end of them may hide the effects to a certain degree, some do it better than others, but make no mistake. They are punishing and lasting and literally no fun at all to experience first hand.
ROUND 12. The final round. Very close fight, no doubt, depending on what you and the judges are looking for. Final rounds of fights often go one of two ways. Sometimes one or both guys realize that the battle is almost over and depending on how they think the judges have it scored, they play it safe and simply glide through the three minutes. Other times, one or both guys realizes that they may very well need the last round to win or they may need a KO to win and they push themselves to the virtual limit in order to finish the fight on a super high note and impress the judges to their ultimate advantage.
I know GGG is going to choose the latter strategy because no matter what, he and his corner have got to know this is a very close fight and it would make no sense to leave anything at all in the judges hands if you able to avoid it.
The question now is what is Danny going to do? Is he going to try and counter GGG’s all out assault with rapid lateral movement or will he actually meet the storm head on in an attempt to also close the show on a high note.
Apparently, Danny felt he came too far to play it safe now.
He fights like a monster in the 12th, fighting with his own sense of urgency and he closes strongly. Both guys are trying to make the final positive impression on the judges at ringside but in my opinion Danny appears more in control of things as the final bell sounds to end the fight.
The buzz among the audience is extreme as we wait for the decision to be called. Some are pretty excited as they sense an upset is about to be announced while others feel GGG “made the fight” with literal constant pressure and that piston of a jab followed by damaging right hands that weren’t landing super frequently but were definitely eye catching when they did.
Personally at the end of 12 very spirited and inspiring rounds I had Danny Jacobs a winner due to several factors, most notably his eye catching combinations, his ability to make GGG miss more than anyone else ever has and, most importantly, his frequent and instant answering of GGG’s best shots with his own three and four punch combinations, especially to the body.
Basically, if you asked me at the end of 12 rounds which one of these guys I would have rather been that night, I’d say I would have wanted to have put on the performance that Danny did.
Now, granted, I was not in the immediate ringside area this time and didn’t have the benefit of instant replays had I been viewing the fight on television. I think I was close enough, however, to see what I needed to see.
While the GGG jab was a serious weapon on Saturday night, from where I sat it appeared to me that Danny was able to answer most of GGG’s assault attempts with instant and often eye catching multi-punch combinations that negated the visual effects and viewer impressions to a certain degree. Both guys obviously fought with determination and had their moments but when it came down to it, it appeared from where I sat that Danny Jacobs executed his game plan with much more success than GGG did his.
It appeared to me from the outside looking in that Danny did more of what he wanted to do while GGG was forced to get done only what he could. His normal sustained attacks were simply not as present as they usually are and I have to believe that if one guy honestly felt he was being more effective and doing what he originally set out to do, that would have to be Danny Jacobs.
In my opinion, more than any other recent fight other than Ward-Kovalev, this fight has “sellable rematch” written all over it.