Recap: In easily the most competitive fight of his career, middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) retained his belts in a unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night. The deciding factor may have been a fourth-round knockdown in which Golovkin used two strong right hands while Jacobs was against the ropes.

Two judges scored the fight 115-112, while another scored it 114-113. International Business Times' scorecard had Golovkin winning, 115-112.

The fight could pave the way for Golovkin to fight superstar Mexican champion Canelo Alvarez, who has an upcoming fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend against Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. However, a rematch may be in the works for Golovkin and Jacobs after what was an unconvincing victory for the champion. 

While Jacobs took the loss, he made a stronger case that he deserves more recognition. For much of the bout, Jacobs gave Golovkin trouble while switching to a southpaw stance and landing some quality punches over 12 rounds. Many of the rounds were very close and could have swung to Jacobs.

“I think I won the fight and I think these fans support me on that," Jacobs said after the fight.

It was also a statistically close fight. According to CompuBox, Golovkin landed 231 of 615 punches (37.6 percent), compared to Jacobs' 175 of 541 (32.3 percent). Golovkin's jab landed an average of nine of 30 per rounds, while Jacobs had a 144-126 advantage in power shots.

Both Golvokin and Jacobs had entered the fight with knockout streaks.

Preview: Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs ) faces challenger Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) in a middleweight unification bout Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. Coverage of the fight will be on HBO pay-per-view.

On the line are the WBA (Super), WBC, and IBO middleweight titles with two boxers entering the fight on knockout streaks. Golovkin, a native of Kazakhstan, has knocked out 23 opponents in a row. Jacobs, a native of Brooklyn, has 12 knockout victories in a row.

Among the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, Golovkin enters as the big favorite. Las Vegas oddsmakers have listed Golovkin as the favorite at -900 odds, or 9-to-1, while Jacobs comes in at +600.

"[Jacobs] has just as much power as Gennady," said Jacobs' manager Keith Connolly. "This is Danny's coming out party. Danny's ready and we hope Gennady is ready."

“This is my first fight of the year," said Golovkin. "Jacobs is a tough guy and a great fighter and I am very excited for this fight and this year. He is one of the most dangerous [opponents] for me. He is a good boxer with good technique. I respect him too, he is a very good man.”

Golovkin and Jacobs each weighed in at an ounce less than the 160-pound limit.

The judges are Max DeLuca, Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld. The referee is Charlie Fitch.

Undercard: Champion Roman "Chocalatito" Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) was defeated by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KOs) in a 12-round majority decision for Gonzalez's WBC world super flyweight belt. The judges cards were 114-112, 114-112 and 113-113. Gonzalez was knocked down in the first round by a body punch.

Coverage on HBO PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET. The Golovkin-Jacobs fight is expected to get underway at about 11:45 p.m. ET.

Here is how International Business Times scores the Golovkin-Jacobs 12-round fight:

Round 1

Despite fighting in front of Jacobs' home crowd, the MSG fans chanted "Triple G" though a "Jacobs" chant also could be heard. Both boxers did a lot of jabbing and neither landed a punch of consequence. Jacobs probably did enough to win an uneventful first round.

Jacobs, 10-9

Round 2

Jacobs opened the round with a southpaw stance. Golovkin and Jacobs continue to feel each other as both boxers appear to have a great deal of respect for one another. Still waiting for Golovkin to take a chance and throw a strong power punch, but he probably won that round, though not by much.

Golovkin, 10-9

Round 3

Golovkin wins this round, but again, not by much. This is a close fight though GGG appears to be the more active boxer. Jacobs was able land a decent right that connected on Golovkin's jaw. There was certainly more action here than in the first two rounds.

Golovkin, 10-9

Round 4

Jacobs goes down! Golovkin was able to land two big right hands that put Jacobs on the mat. GGG tried to end the fight after the knockdown and after Jacobs caught his breath, but it was to no avail. This fight just got a bit more interesting. Jacobs, whose eye is swelling, managed to battle back, but this round completely belongs to GGG. 

Golovkin, 10-8

Round 5 

Another round for GGG because of some effective body shots. Jacobs is showing some resilience against a superstar powerpuncher like Golovkin. This is GGG's round because he is landing harder shots and is the more active boxer. There were some solid body punches by Golovkin to win this round rather convincingly. 

Golovkin, 10-9

Round 6

Stronger round for Jacobs, who is showing why he's an elite boxer. He was more aggressive than GGG in the second half of the round. Close round that could have gone either way.

Jacobs, 10-9

Round 7

This round will be marked by what happened after the bell, as both boxers threw some punches. GGG didn't look happy going back to his corner. Jacobs, fighting southpaw, remains confident despite clearly losing the fourth round. He managed to land some solid hooks with his left in what can also be described as a tight round.

Jacobs, 10-9

Round 8

Both boxers are showing more aggression in one of the more eventful rounds of the fight. Golovkin seemed to get the better of Jacobs, who did a lot of effective jabbing. Golovkin's punches seem to be a bit sharper and therefore doing more damage. This has turned out to be a very competitive fight. 

Golovkin, 10-9

Round 9

Good round for GGG. He was able to end it with some solid punches that seemed to hurt Jacobs, who looks a bit fatigued. Jacobs is still in this fight, though he's absorbed some powerful jabs and power punches, particularly a hard uppercut from GGG. It will be interesting to see if one of these knockout artists is able to put the fight away as we enter the final three rounds.

Golovkin, 10-9

Round 10 

Jacobs was able to land some decent body punches and landed a good left hook near the end of another close round. It's impressive that he's able to have gone this deep with Golovkin and his left hook appears to be increasingly effective. Both boxers have shown each other the proper amount of respect. Jacobs did more than GGG this round. The fourth round could still be the decider should the fight go to the scorecards, which looks like the case.

Jacobs, 10-9

Round 11

Close fight as Jacobs shows more aggression with a nice right hook and good hand movement, while Golovkin appears a bit fatigued. This is not the typical fight from GGG, who often commands his presence with fierce overhand rights that hurt his opponent. GGG was able to land a good right hook and straight left, but they didn't rattle Jacobs enough. Jacobs has proven himself tonight. However, these rounds can go either way.

Jacobs, 10-9

Round 12

Yet another close round that could go either way. Golovkin landed some good jabs and uppercuts and ended the round a little stronger than the challenger. Jacobs showed enough aggression with some impressive lefts of his own to perhaps take the round. A decent amount of grabbing in this round, too. Surprising that neither boxer was able to land that knockout as both their KO streaks come to an end.

Golovkin, 10-9

IBT Final Scorecard

Golovkin 115-112

Final Scorecards

Golovkin wins! Judges: 115-112, 115-112, 114-113