Gennady Golovkin fought a fight some experts didn't think he would be able to win, but he did just that in defeating Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision to unify the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles on Saturday night from Madison Square Garden.
The co-main event provided the best fight so far in 2017 but also the biggest upset in recent memory as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai shocked the boxing world to defeat Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez by majority decision to capture the WBC super flyweight title.
Prior to Saturday's event, we posed four questions. The card gave three of the answers as the fourth won't be revealed until after the pay-per-view numbers are in, and that will take about two weeks to compile.
1) Can "GGG" stay focused on Jacobs and not look ahead to a possible showdown against "Canelo" Alvarez? Leading into Saturday night, this was the biggest question. Fighters have a hard time keeping focus when they something bigger is looming on the horizon. Golovkin was tentative in the opening two rounds, but knocking down Jacobs in the fourth round got him back on track.
People questioned whether Golovkin could respond when forced to box by his opponent. He did. He used the jab well and got inside when he saw an opening, as Jacobs has power in both hands. This wasn't the fight fans were expecting, but it's one that helps Golovkin grow as a boxer. He went 12 rounds against a very good fighter and shed the label as just a slugger. Hopefully, Alvarez holds up his end of the bargain in May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and his promoter Oscar de la Hoya doesn't tuck his head between his legs. This is a fight the public wants to see.
2) Can Jacobs be the guy to take down Golovkin? Jacobs did enough to unseat Golovkin and end his 36-fight undefeated streak. He forced Golovkin to become a boxer and while he did well, Jacobs by far exemplified being the better of the two. "Miracle Man" switched stances well, cut off the ring, hit Golovkin like he had never been before and fought the better fight.
When the fight was on the line in the championship rounds, Jacobs fought like a champion, winning all three rounds on the scorecards of judges Max DeLuca and Steve Weisfeld and two of the final three on judge Don Trella’s card. SN gave Jacobs two of the three rounds, giving Golovkin the final round.
“I think I won the fight and I think the fans support me on the decision,” Jacobs said. “I think I won by two rounds at least."
Even in defeat, Jacobs earned the respect of the boxing world. He left with more fans than he did entering the fight. Sometimes a loss is just as a good as victory.
3) Who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Going into Saturday night, Gonzalez held the mantle and Golovkin was between No. 2 and No. 4 depending on the publication. Now, it is up for debate. Gonzalez lost, and you can't have a boxer who just lost in the top spot. Golovkin could easily be inserted into that slot as he emerged victorious on Saturday night.
Terence Crawford or Keith Thurman are also right there and, if forced to chose, Thurman would be the pick. He's undefeated in 29 fights, 22 wins by KO, and he's the best welterweight in the world in the deepest division in boxing. He put on star-making performance defeating Danny Garcia two weeks ago from a sold-out Barclays Center with an average of 3.74 million viewers and a peak of 5.1 million on CBS.
If Golovkin fights either Alvarez or WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and comes out the winner, it's hard to deny "GGG," but for now, Thurman is the king.