Gennady "GGG" Golovkin entered his middleweight title defense against Daniel Jacobs as the boogieman of boxing. Prior to the fight, Golovkin had scored 23 straight knockouts and was recognized as the most frightening boxer on the planet.
For many, it was expected that Golovkin would add Jacobs' head to his mantle. However, that wouldn't be the case as Jacobs gave GGG all he could handle for 12 rounds.
Not only did "The Miracle Man" survive, he nearly pulled off the massive upset. Unfortunately for Jacobs, the judges saw it in favor of Golovkin with scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113. Although he didn't win the fight, Jacobs won over the fans with a spirited performance and was the first man to take GGG 12 rounds.
But how much did this performance hurt the perception of Golovkin?
Rather than embody the frightening power puncher who puts a touch of sleep on the end of his gloves, Golovkin became a mere mortal who had to fight tooth and nail to squeeze out the decision win against Jacobs. This was far from the runaway train that picks up speed as the fight goes on and eventually squashes his opponent.
In front of a rabid crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York, Jacobs went to work quickly by neutralizing GGG's vaunted body assault and kept the fight as a chess match rather than watch his Eastern European opponent grab the board and smash him over the head with it. It almost looked as if Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) would become the monster we had expected when he dropped Jacobs with a right hand in the fourth round. However, Jacobs rose to his fight and refused to allow Golovkin the satisfaction of seeing wounded prey.
A high octane chess match ensued with each fighter having their moments. But, ultimately, Golovkin would pull out the victory and set himself up for a fight with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Fight fans rallied behind Jacobs and were quick to dismiss Golovkin as the most frightening boxer in the world. Fellow fighters took to Twitter to take their shots at GGG.
Clearly, the mystique of GGG being an indestructible force has been shattered. However, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most boxers avoided facing Golovkin prior to seeing how well Jacobs fared against him. Perhaps now they will be interested in stepping up to the plate to see what the middleweight champion has to offer. They will likely all make the mistake thinking they can do a better job than Jacobs, who most boxing insiders pegged as Golovkin's toughest test by a country mile. Jacobs' record of 32-2, 29 KOs is not by accident and you'll be hard pressed to find another middleweight who has the combination of size, speed, strength and boxing ability to neutralize Golovkin's pedigree.
Nevertheless, it appears that the most dangerous boxer on the planet has become a mere human being and the mystique of the boogieman has been shattered. But we'll see whether or not GGG can start another knockout streak or if he's been all figured out.