Aftermath: Golovkin vs Jacobs / Gonzalez vs Srisaket
In the aftermath of a dramatic night of boxing at Madison Square Garden, Boxing Monthly had some burning questions we wanted answering. Callum Rudge, Andrew Harrison, James Oddy, John Angus MacDonald and Chris Williamson supplied the answers...
BM: How did you see Golovkin vs Jacobs. Did GGG do enough on your card to win?
CR: No he didn't, I had it 115-112 for Jacobs. Early rounds were close but I thought Jacobs won three of the first four and outboxed GGG for the majority of the fight. GGG was just not throwing enough punches and Jacobs boxed a smart, disciplined fight. People cry robbery far too easily these days but I thought Jacobs got jobbed here.
AH: It was a close fight, a poor fight. I didn't score it round by round while watching it live but I did feel Jacobs might pickpocket a decision in the immediate aftermath (I rewatched it on Sunday and scored it 114-113 to GGG). Golovkin did a lot of good work closing down space and getting into range, but too often, he failed to let his punches go.
JO: I scored it 114-113 for Jacobs. I don't think Jacobs got 'robbed' per say - some of the rounds were very close. Jacobs did the better work but I felt like Golovkin landed the more hurtful blows, even excluding the knockdown.
JAM: For me, yes. I had it 114-113 Golovkin. Unlike Callum, I don't think Jacobs got 'jobbed' at all. There were a number of swing rounds, and I would have had no complaints had Jacobs got the nod. Personally, I feel anything from 115-112 Jacobs to 115-112 Golovkin would have been acceptable. While the outcome can be disputed, I don't believe it was a bad result.
CW: I've watched the contest twice now, enjoying it once 'in the moment' and the second time to score the fight. My card read 115-112 for Jacobs, the same as Callum, although as many rounds were so close I don't have a problem with the decision. Jacobs executed trainer Andre Rozier's instructions exceptionally well, his movement was great, he confused the champ with occasional switch-hitting and the defensive aspects of his game were on point. Some of Jacobs' sharp, fast combinations reminded me of a prime Jermain Taylor. 'GGG' was clearly wary of Jacobs' power and seemed - by his high standards at least - ineffective, hesitant or stifled for much of the bout. Jacobs can take credit for that. Golovkin's jab was busier and presumably - along with the knockdown of course - that and general pressure is what rescued the fight for the champ in the eyes of the judges. One sub-plot worthy of analysis is Jacobs intentionally missing the IBF check-weight. One can only guess how this impacted both the fight itself, with Jacobs more hydrated and potentially - consciously or not - this may also have altered the perception of 'Team Jacobs' in the eyes of the officials.
BM: Has Jacobs shown the blueprint to beat GGG?
CR: I think so, defensively at least. He didn't allow himself to get pinned to the ropes, the switch-hitting also put GGG off - he just wasn't the relentless stalker he usually is. Jacobs' trainer was imploring him to jab more and the times he did box at range it worked well for him. I thought the man who would eventually beat GGG would have to meet him ring centre and go through hell, but Jacobs showed there is another way.
AH: The way to beat Golovkin has always been to outbox him; to move effectively and try to beat him with speed. Did Jacobs achieve that? So little happened in the first couple of rounds, Jacobs probably found himself two points to the good after landing a handful of flicking shots.
JO: Yes, but I'm not sure how many middleweights in the division have the skill set to capitalise. Jacobs showed that nimble footwork and quick hands are a great start. Added to that was Jacobs' own power, which caused Golovkin some issues. Perhaps most importantly, Jacobs wasn't intimidated by the aura of 'GGG'. A James DeGale or an Andre Ward would be favourites if Golovkin ever moved up to meet them in my opinion. I guess it's open to debate what weight Canelo actually is at.
JAM: Rather than providing the blueprint, I believe Jacobs has proven the hypothesis. As Andrew said, most thought Golovkin would struggle with a fighter who has fast hands and could utilise movement. That's exactly what Jacobs did, and hence why he gave GGG his toughest fight. This does not mean that Golovkin has been 'exposed' or that he was 'overhyped', he is still an excellent fighter who has almost cleared out his weight class. When two of the top three at any given weight fight, there is every chance the fight will be close - it is the way it should be.
CW: On my card he beat him, so he's certainly shown how to do it! Mental strength, very good fundamentals, size and power are all necessary qualities to beat Golovkin and Jacobs showed them all in abundance.
BM: What should happen next? Has Canelo vs GGG lost some of its lustre? Should there be a GGG vs Jacobs rematch? Where does BJS fit in (if at all)?
CR: Jacobs absolutely deserves a rematch but unless the WBA order it, I can't see Golovkin's team being all that keen to fight him again. I can see the BJS fight being next - Saunders is probably inclined to cash out at this point as he there isn't much else out there for him. Canelo is happy to wait for GGG to get old and fight him when it suits him.
AH: If Canelo Alvarez vs Golovkin doesn't happen next, it probably doesn't happen at all. It's beginning to look as though Golovkin, as he approaches 35-years-old, has started to slip a bit. He looked curiously out of sorts against Kell Brook and struggled to pull the trigger when he moved inside on Jacobs last night. If Golden Boy was hanging out for the John Mugabi green light – this was it. Saunders needs to get in with someone at the head of the division in order to become a factor. He's behind Canelo, Jacobs and Lemieux – maybe even Eubank Jr. - in terms of preferred opponent, I'm sure.
JO: Jacobs should get a rematch but I don't think he will. The fight wasn't exactly a classic and I can't see the demand for it outside of those who feel the wrong man won. Canelo vs GGG actually now looks more attractive - a year or so ago I was confident Golovkin would win but now I think it's much closer to a 50/50 fight. As for Billy Joe Saunders, his loss of momentum and direction since winning the title has been shocking. His ability as a boxer means he'd always have a chance against anyone but I worry when he gets his chance against Golovkin, which rumours suggest will be soon, that he'll be lacking in big fight experience.
JAM: The Canelo fight is still the fight I want to see most, however I think Golden Boy will try and hold out as long as possible. At 34-years-old, it looks like Golovkin may be declining, but I don't think the Canelo fight will be made until GBP are certain that GGG is either a fading, or faded, forced. If it's not Canelo next, then the Jacobs rematch makes sense. There has been talk of Saunders facing Golovkin in June, In Kazakhstan. It is an interesting fight but, if it doesn't come off, Saunders has to start fighting regularly again. His career has stagnated since defeating Andy Lee for the WBO belt in 2015.
CW: When Mike Tyson struggled with Donovan Ruddock way back in 1991, critics suggested the Holyfield vs Tyson fight had lost its sheen as a result of Iron Mike's performances. Of course that was nonsense and when the ill-fated 1991 bout was signed it was eagerly awaited. The same will happen if Golovkin vs Canelo happens and, yes, it absolutely 'should' happen next on the big September Mexican Independence Day weekend. I like Andrew's reference to Sugar Ray Leonard watching Hagler struggle with John Mugabi and deciding to make the superfight....let's hope Canelo does the same. A GGG vs BJS fight would be wonderful for UK fans and represents a cracking back-up if Canelo doesn't feel ready to face GGG. A BJS bout of course unifies all the titles - apart from the lineal one held by Canelo [*face-plant*].
BM: Gonzalez vs Srisaket. A thriller. How did you see it and score it?
CR: I actually thought this fight was a lot closer than the main event. I had it 114-112 for Srisaket in a close dog fight. Gonzalez had moments of absolute quality but Srisaket bullied him for a lot of the fight, walking Gonzalez down and landing some hurtful shots. Gonzalez is still a quality fighter but he didn't show it enough for me tonight.
AH: Again, I didn't score the fight live but I felt Gonzalez needed the final round to win and he did just enough to salvage his unbeaten record after another grim night. You couldn't begrudge Srisaket the victory, though. Gonzalez is a great fighter and he was having to fight out of his skin just to stay on even terms with the Thai. Srisaket fought the fight of his life. He's one tough cookie. It was an excellent battle of wills. There were shades of Barrera vs Morales about it. Though the intensity was nowhere near the great Mexican shoot-outs (before I get hung out to dry on social media), Srisaket (playing Morales) would dominate the first two minutes of a round with hard, horrid-looking power punching before Gonzalez would blaze back at him with those wonderful rhythmic rallies.
JO: I watched the bout after I knew the result so I didn't score it, as I find knowing who got the nod biases me. But it was the correct result. It was a real thriller although it's a damning indictment of boxing, Stateside at least, that a fight like that was behind a paywall. Srisaket just looked bigger and more robust to me.The shots Gonzalez landed have flattened fighters in lower weights but they seemed to bounce off his opponent.
JAM: I had it 114-112 to Gonzalez. Although I had 'Chocolatito' winning, he was not 'robbed'. Srisaket forced that action, and brought the best out of the magnificent Gonzalez. At super flyweight, Gonzalez does looked undersized, but that did not stop him engaging with the much larger Srisaket, who is arguably the biggest puncher at the weight. It's my favourite fight of the year so far, while it wasn't as dramatic as others it was completely engrossing. Super flyweight is currently the best division in boxing, in my opinion, and it's because of fights like that.
CW: Again I watched live without scoring while in awe at the skill and heart both boxers displayed and the resulting drama they created. I'm looking forward to rewatching with scorecard in hand but haven't done so yet. My feeling was that the great Gonzalez had done just enough in the championship rounds to claim victory after a torrid start. John's scorecard sounds about right to me. No complaints though as some rounds were razor close and Srisaket is clearly now a worthy champ. There's some terrific bouts to be made with this new super-fly dynamic.
BM: After a roller coaster evening where on earth does that leave the P4P rankings? Gonzalez toppled or not?
CR: Yes, Gonzalez has to drop down now, whether you agree with the result or not, he's lost a tad of what made him so great and the 3lb jump to super fly has coincided with a drop in performance. This has been coming and I think if Srisaket hadn't won this time, Cuadras would've beat him in a rematch. Andre Ward is the new #1 for me, his win over Sergey Kovalev has been overshadowed by bickering over the scores but in my mind he won the fight and deserves huge props for beating an undefeated champion at a higher weight than where he made his name.
AH: Gonzalez is largely the same boxer he was yesterday and so I don't think he suddenly ceased to be boxing's best fighter because he went down by a single round to one of his toughest rivals (the idea that Andre Ward suddenly supplants Gonzalez on the back of a highly controversial decision win also seems a bit convoluted). No, Gonzalez just found himself in a fight with a bigger, harder-punching opponent and was hampered by a series of cuts and butts throughout. I believe 'Chocolatito' can put the record straight against Srisaket in a rematch. I agree with Callum, though. It's looking a far harder task for him against the super flyweights.
JO: Gonzalez still deserves to be in the top five and maybe even in the conversation for the top spot. His skills and wins in lower weight classes show what a quality fighter he is. I'd agree that Ward, who I had beating Kovalev, should take top spot.
JAM: Gonzalez will drop down after losing a tight decision in a close fight, which could have gone either way. Andre Ward will likely replace him at the top of most lists, having won a tight decision in a close fight, which could have gone either way. Others will make a case for Golovkin who... you can see where I'm going with this.
CW: Sheesh, at my age staying up until 5.30am for fight-night has me resembling a particularly spaced 'Walking Dead' extra - and now we're considering P4P ramifications?! I reckon it's clear 'Chocolatito' is at the maximum weight his frame will effectively allow and if you don't slip down the rankings after a defeat, then why are they fighting the fights? John has beautifully captured the absurdity of P4P debates and I'm not going to improve on that. Golovkin might look a touch high at five based on last night, albeit I'm loath to penalise fighters for taking on and squeezing past the number one contender in their division.