Two pound for pound stars, two hungry challengers, two controversial outcomes and many narratives to present. The cynic feels one way, the helpless optimist the other. But the reality of the proceedings stare you right in the face
Gennady Golovkin UD 12 Danny Jacobs
This was a robbery. Golovkin was expected to steamroll the inferior and vulnerable Jacobs and failed to live up to any sort of high standards that he and his fans set for him. Jacobs built on what Kell Brook started last September — exposing the 35 year old Golovkin for being overrated, ordinary, slow and defensively flawed. Golovkin was given the benefit of the doubt as the fan favorite fighter with most of the arena on his side. Canelo Alvarez must surely be favoured now over GGG if that fight happens next.
The Helpless Optimist
The fight was close but it was a clear decision victory for Golovkin. He threw more punches and landed the more significant blows, hurting Jacobs several times and knocking him down. Any cries of robbery are completely unfounded and represent a bias against Golovkin and people gave Jacobs the benefit of the doubt because he did better than expected.
The fact that Jacobs also decided to forego the IBF check weigh in on the morning of the fight was shady and detects that he would have had a significant weight advantage over Golovkin once they stepped into the ring. So he had everything in his favour and was still unable to hurt the smaller middleweight. No need for a rematch, time for Golovkin to put this behind him and look forward to either Saunders or Canelo next.
You heard the story repeated how a promising young middleweight hopeful from Brooklyn was stricken down by cancer but rallied against the odds in the space of several years to resume his ascent towards the summit of the division. However, in his path to the promised land was a formidable champion knocking out people for fun and one that was commonly perceived amongst the best boxers in the sport. For Danny Jacobs, he was supposed to be nothing more than a footnote, billed as Golovkin’s toughest opponent to date but expected to fall like the rest.
What followed was a tense and remarkable prizefight. Refusing to accept the predestined fate for himself, Jacobs boxed to a disciplined and well constructed gameplan, frustrating Golovkin with shifts in movement, stance and feints. By contrast, the champion appeared to patiently guide himself into proceedings behind a jab, perhaps indicative of his age or the respect he had for Jacobs’s punching power. The gamebreaker came in the 4th with Golovkin landing two clean right hands on the chin of Jacobs which sent the latter down. This extra point was crucial for the champion, as it saw him edge the verdict on the scorecards when it was all said and done.
Jacobs’s work was more flashy, but perhaps did a disservice to himself by adopting a predominantly backfoot style and not using his jab to work his way in. Golovkin’s jab appeared to be his saving grace, landing at important stages of the fight and helping to back up his taller and bigger foe and set up his power punches. However this particular evening saw whatever mask of invincibility which he was perceived to posess slip for good.
Father time appears to be running this particular great fighter close and potential foes maybe licking their lips in the background at the prospect of facing a faded force. The forecasting of X fighter taking Golovkin’s “zero” is premature. Jacobs fought beyond himself and used all of his unique physical gifts and still fell short, so it is unclear how other rivals who’s skills may suit Golovkin’s style better will fare in the future. But from a fans perspective there is much scope for optimism as we are now almost certain to see a definitve ending to this particular storyline.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai MD 12 Roman Gonzalez
So much for the so called “Pound for Pound king”. Gonzalez took too many punches, was dropped and hurt before being deservedly relieved of his super-flyweight belt by the judges. The fact that he was even ranked amongst the best fighters in the world is the result of media and network fallacies. He is not on the same level as the likes of Ward, Crawford and Kovalev and this was proved on the night. His Thai opponent was simply too big too strong and good for him. Another hype train derailed. The super-flyweight division is blown wide open again.
The Helpless Optimist
Gonzalez was robbed. The first round knockdown was unfortunate and most likely one that can be attributed down to a balance issue rather than the actual landed blow. The punch stats tell the real story of the fight, with Gonzalez outworking and out-landing the challenger by nearly 2 to 1 according to Compubox.
He proved his worth amongst the top of the pound for pound lists by rallying the way he did and out hustling his larger and stronger foe. The headbutts which caused cuts on Gonzalez’s face were intentional and the point deduction Sor Rungvisai recieved was more than justified. A rematch is necessary straight away to right the wrongs of the proceedings. The decision marred a great fight.
The ending of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s undefeated record was both shocking and abrupt in its nature. But regardless of whether it came on this particular or the next time he stepped into a ring, it was an ending which was inevitable. The diminutive Nicaraguan now in his 30th year has reached the stage where his offensive arsenal is dwindled by the size and strength of the top contenders in the talent laden Super- Flyweight division. Whilst the judges saw one verdict on that historic night last September where he bested Carlos Cuadras to win his fourth world title in as many divisions, his face depicted a whole different verdict – such were the effects of a closely contested back and forth battle.
This particular outing was an epic. The shock felt when a body shot sent Gonzalez to the canvas for the first time in nearly a decade matched the shock of the disputed decision. Sor Rungvisai had a reputation as a sturdy and strong force and as of such he was unmoved when Gonzalez unleashed his trademark flurries in the middle rounds before working the body well and stopping the Nicaraguan in his tracts with power punches as he tried to force the initiative. The orthodox-southpaw mix resulted in several headclashes, leaving Gonzalez compromised and Sor Rungvisai with a point deduction (a perhaps unfair one)
The highlight of the fight was the 12th. Sensing his undefeated record slipping away, Gonzalez went for broke and backed up the bigger man on the ropes looking to close the show. This astounding rally personified the great champion’s better assets and served as a welcome treat to the partisan crowd.
Unfortunately, the judges weren’t so appreciative of his efforts and Sor Rungvisai was handed the victory of a lifetime. And before anyone attempts to pour salt over the Thai fighter’s victory, it is worth noting the remarkable journey that he had embarked on. From a 1–3–1 fighter who scraped his way out of poverty by walking up to 60 miles a day to find work and food, to the allure of a big Pay Per View stage and the scalp of a consensus pound for pound king. Only boxing can create such storylines.
Golovkin vs Jacobs and Gonzalez vs Sor Rungvisai: Mayhem at the Mecca was originally published in sundaypuncher on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.