While Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs ) is set to face the toughest challenge of his career on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, Las Vegas oddsmakers have listed him as a big favorite. Golovkin, who holds the WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles as well as the WBA super middleweight belt, is listed at -840 odds, or about 7-to-1, while challenger Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) comes in at +660.
The one-sided odds may come as a surprise given Golovkin's last opponent and based on Jacobs' reputation. Though the Kazakh superstar made quick work of highly respected British boxer Kell Brook in London in September, Brook had jumped weight classes to battle one of the most intimidating boxers in the world and mostly looked outmatched from the outset. After the fight, Golovkin dismissed the bout by stating that it felt like "sparring."
There won't be any issues about fighting at a specific weight class or against a hard puncher this weekend. Jacobs, 30, is a legitimate middleweight and has considerable knockout power. He fought as a middleweight even as an amateur and has looked particularly sharp in recent years.
The Brooklyn native will also be fighting in front of his home fans and after winning 12 consecutive fights, including a first-round TKO over respected boxer Peter Quillin. The last time Jacobs went the distance was in 2009.
“He is a very good fighter and maybe has a little bit more power than me," Golovkin said of Jacobs last week.
While Golovkin is perhaps the most dominating power puncher since Mike Tyson in his prime, he can't Jacobs lightly. Jacobs has very good balance, a solid chin and can knock out his opponents with either hand. He can make things very interesting against Golovkin and almost certainly won't be as rattled before the opening bell as most of Golovkin's previous opponents.
Jacobs is also a smart fighter and will no doubt be more careful to not be baited into brawling with Golovkin. In a 2015 fight with Sergio Mora, Jacobs was caught with a surprise left hook that put him on the canvas in the first round. He can't afford to such a situation against Golovkin, who often seems like a flawless boxer.
TV Channel: HBO PPV
Prediction: Yes, Golovkin is the superior fighter, but this bout could be closer than many people think. Both boxers may be tested if the fight extends into the late rounds since neither has really been truly tested in a long time. Jacobs is capable of landing a hard punch that can shock Golovkin and his deceptive defense might prevent "GGG" from connecting on one of his effective hooks. But it's so difficult to pick anyone other than Golovkin.
More than likely, Golovkin will prevail by TKO before the eighth round.