LOS ANGELES-After a long seven-hour flight from New York, the “Middleweight Madness” fight contingent arrived in Southern California ready to meet the local media horde on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs met at the Conga Room in L.A. to talk about their pending confrontation in March. The fight for the unified middleweight world championship will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. HBO pay-per-view will televise.
It was home territory for Golovkin who now lives in Los Angeles. The middleweight from Kazakhstan makes the city of Angels his stomping grounds and has built a fortress of support in the coastal city.
Fans were gathered outside the press conference doors despite the almost daily downpour of rain this week. They came with their photos, posters and hats looking to get that valuable Triple G signature or picture.
L.A. loves Golovkin.
K2 Promotions director Tom Loeffler says that New York City is also Triple G territory and that was the plan from the beginning to make it so.
“He (Golovkin) lives in L.A. but New York City fans are waiting for him to return,” said Loeffler.
“Madison Square Garden is (also) my home,” said Golovkin, 34, “I feel very comfortable there.”
The last time he fought in New York was his knockout win over David Lemieux in October 2015 at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for that event sold out immediately. It’s the same with this fight against Jacobs.
HBO’s Tony Walker said another sellout is expected when the middleweights collide. “This could be the best fighter Golovkin has ever faced as a pro,” he said.
Another difference in this confrontation is that Jacobs actually wants this fight and that makes Golovkin’s antennae rise.
“I wanted this fight,” said Jacobs, 29, who unlike the others never wavered when the contracts were drawn and figures were settled.
The New York City fighter’s return to championship status has been a lengthy one that nearly saw him stopped twice. First, he was knocked out by Russia’s Dmitry Pirog nearly seven years ago during a fight for the vacant WBO title in Las Vegas. Two years later he was knocked for a loop by cancer.
Doctors told him to forget about even stepping back into a gym.
But athletes know only one thing and back he returned to boxing with some potholes circumvented. A smaller weight kid slugged him to the body and made him quiver when he first returned.
“Do I really want to come back to this?” Jacobs asked himself.
Since recovering from cancer in 2012, Jacobs has returned a stronger and more knowledgeable fighter.
“I had two years to study the game,” said Jacobs about his absence.
Jacobs has graduated with 12 consecutive knockouts since tasting defeat against Pirog in 2010. Until that loss he was matched against lukewarm competition and when facing superior technique and firepower he was blown out.
The period away from boxing allowed him to study the game and study himself. Even Golovkin admits he’s a much better fighter now since losing to Pirog.
“It was a good experience for him,” said Golovkin of Jacob’s loss. “He’s much better the last couple of fights.”
Golovkin has 23 consecutive knockouts, but Jacobs says the competition doesn’t equal his own.
“He hasn’t fought the same level of competition as compared to mine,” said Jacobs of Golovkin. “
Andre Rozier, who trains Jacobs, says both have “thunder in their hands” and have an equal opportunity to win.
“This is (Sergey) Kovalev-(Andre) Ward all over again,” Rozier said.
“He definitely can hurt him (GGG) if he hits him,” Loeffler said.
Trainer Abel Sanchez expects a knockout.
“I think both guys are going to get hit,” said Sanchez. “The difference is my guy is a better fighter.”
Golovkin says for once he has that tingling in his heart because he’s facing a fighter with pedigree and power.
“He wants this fight,” said Golovkin which is a different experience than in the past when other fighters feigned wanting to fight him, then pulled out. “This is very interesting. Now I see he wants this fight.”
Middleweight Madness takes place on March 18.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.