A BIG NIGHT OF BOXING AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN — Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs entered the ring at Madison Square Garden with a combined record of 68-1 with 62 knockouts. No matter how the fight played out, said the pundits, it was certain to end inside the distance. But that opinion failed to properly measure the heart of Daniel Jacobs who came on strong after a wobbly start and nearly knocked GGG from the ranks of the unbeaten.
After three uneventful rounds, Golovkin lowered the boom on Jacobs in round four, flooring him with a hard right hand. Jacobs survived the round, but GGG kept up the pressure and it looked for certain that the Kazahkstani wrecking machine was destined to score his 24th consecutive knockout. But in a match reminiscent in many ways of the Kovalev-Ward fight, Jacobs refused to fold and when the final bell sounded there many in the arena who thought that the fighter with the better finishing kick had pulled it out at the wire.
The judges dissented. Golovkin kept his multiple titles, prevailing on scores of 114-113 and 115-112 twice. He advanced his record to 37-0 and while he failed to extend his knockout skein, he won his 18th consecutive middleweight title fight, two short of the record held by Bernard Hopkins.
CHOCOLATITO GOES DOWN TO DEFEAT
In the co-feature, Wisaksil Wangek (aka Srisaket Sor Rungvisai) dethroned WBC super flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez via majority decision in a bloody war that was hugely entertaining and will likely be debated for years. In the process, the unheralded Thai saddled Chocolatito with his first defeat in 47 fights and almost certainly knocked him off the top perch in the unofficial pound-for-pound ratings. Judge Glen Feldman and Judge Julie Lederman scored the bout 114-112. Waleska Roldan had it 113-113.
Sor Rungvisai served notice in the opening round that Gonzalez was in for a long night when he decked the defending champion with a body shot. An apparent clash of heads in round three opened a nasty gash over Gonzalez’s right eyebrow – an incident that factored largely in the outcome. By the end of the fight, Chocolatito’s face was a bloody mess.
This was the 15th straight win for Wangek (42-4-1) since he ventured to Mexico City and was stopped in the eighth round by Carlos Cuadras, a bout also marred by a head butt. That was his first fight outside the Orient; his bout with Gonzalez was his second.
Cuadras was also on the bill. His 10-round bout with fellow Mexican David Carmona was designed as a tune-up for a rematch with Chocolatito. Now those plans have been thrown into disarray.
The good news for Cuadras is that he elevated his record to 36-1-1, winning a unanimous decision. Most of the rounds were close. Cardona (20-4-5) made a more competitive showing than was expected of him.
In the TV opener, lightweight Ryan Martin advanced to 18-0 (11) with a seventh round stoppage of Bryant Cruz. Martin, who recently joined Tom Loeffler’s K2 stable, was in control from the opening bell. Cruz (17-2) was game but out of his league.
In an off-TV bout of note, former world middleweight titlist Andy Lee improved to 35-3-1 with a unanimous decision over KeAndrae Leatherwood in a lackluster 8-round affair. An Irish Traveler from London, Lee was making his first start since losing his WBO strap to Billy Joe Saunders in December of
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