GOLOVKIN vs JACOBS — This past weekend, it was announced that representatives of Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs had come to terms. The fighters will meet on March 18 at Madison Square Garden. The WBA, WBC, and IBF middleweight titles will be at stake. The bout will be televised by HBO PPV.
If all goes according to plan, this will be the second show at this venue in as many days. Bob Arum had previously announced his intention to lease The Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) for a show that will mark the pro debut of two-time Olympian Michael Conlan from Belfast. The main arena, with a seating capacity more than three times as large as The Theater, would host Golovkin-Jacobs the following night.
That’s assuming that all systems are go. In April of last year, the New York State Legislature passed a law that drastically increased the cost of medical insurance for promoters of combat sports. There hasn’t been a boxing show in New York since the law took effect on Sept. 1. According to MMA authority Marc Raimondi, the first sanctioned MMA show ever in New York, on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden, cost the UFC nearly $50,000 in total insurance money. With 26 fighters on the card, that factored out to nearly $2,000 per combatant.
When Arum made known his intention to promote a show at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day, he did so with the expectation that the insurance requirement would be tempered. Subsequently, co-promoters Lou DiBella and Floyd Mayweather Jr, in association with Showtime Championship Boxing, booked Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a show on Jan. 14. Topped by a WBC/IBF super middleweight title match between James DeGale and Badou Jack, the January show, if it goes forward, will end a 145-day drought of boxing in the Empire State.
According to a report filed last week by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the New York Department of Financial Services has approved a medical insurance policy designed by the United States Fire Insurance Co. that meets the new requirement and presumably represents a considerable pro-rated cost savings over what the UFC was dunned for their Nov. 12 show. However, details are fuzzy.
Although Gennady Golovkin will undoubtedly go to post a substantial favorite, this will be his strongest test to date. Golovkin is 36-0 and has scored 23 straight knockouts, but Daniel Jacobs, the younger man by five years (Jacobs turns 30 in February), is 32-1 with 29 wins inside the distance. In tandem, the two fighters have a 90 percent knockout ratio which we suspect is the highest ever for a world title fight in which both competitors have more than 30 pro bouts under their belts.
Jacobs suffered his lone defeat at the hands of Dmitry Pirog in 2010. There was no shame in losing to Pirog, a Russian whose career was cut short by a debilitating back injury. Pirog left the sport with a record of 20-0. Since that mishap, Jacobs has won 12 straight, all inside the distance.
Ten of those victories came after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a life-threatening form of bone cancer. It was a miracle that Jacobs was able to resume his career. He returned to the ring after an absence of only 20 months.
The March 18 show will mark Golovkin’s fifth appearance at this venue. In previous outings at Madison Square Garden GGG stopped Gabriel Rosado (TKO 7), Curtis Stevens (RTD 8), Daniel Geale (TKO 3), and David Lemieux (TKO 8). The California-based Kazakh has acquired a nice little following in the Big Apple, but Jacobs hails from across the river in Brooklyn and will bring a large delegation of rooters.
The atmosphere will be electric and by all indications the fight will be highly entertaining.
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