Gennady "GGG" Golovkin entered his middleweight unification fight against Daniel Jacobs with a menacing reputation. Many considered him the hardest puncher since Mike Tyson, and he was revered for his ability to put any man on the canvas. After the fight, which ended with GGG winning a controversial decision, the question fans were left pondering was whether GGG was overrated?
Much like Mike Tyson and an early Roy Jones Jr., GGG's highlight reel knockouts came against what many considered inferior competition, which we will examine further in a moment. Jacobs, a knockout artist in his own right, was easily the stiffest challenge of Golovkin's career and the fight played out in a manner where the two fighters neutralized their greatest assets. Jacobs also implemented an excellent game plan against GGG, which included not weighing in on the day of the fight and forfeiting his ability to obtain a few of the titles, so that he'd be heavy enough to absorb Golovkin's punches.
Despite the solid game plan by Jacobs, Golovkin was able to drop Jacobs early, but everything there after was heavily contested. Jacobs and GGG split rounds by the narrowest of margins, and many had the fight scored evenly entering the 12th round. The judges didn't see the fight as close and gave Golovkin a relatively comfortable victory, but that doesn't stop people from asking where was the man that was hyped up as a destroyer?
If we look at the recent stats of the other fighters in the running for boxing's P4P list (courtesy of RingTV), it'll reveal that GGG is more than worthy of the hype.
1. Roman Gonzalez
- Record: 46–1 (38 KOs)
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 2 KOs (Brian Viloria, RD 9), (Édgar Sosa, RD 2)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Carlos Cuadras (UD), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Lost MD)
2. Andre Ward
- Record: 31-0 (15 KOs)
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 1 KO (Paul Smith, RD 9)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Sergey Kovalev (UD), Paul Smith (TKO 9)
3. Sergey Kovalev
- Record: 30-1-1
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 3 KOs (Jean Pascal, RTD 7), (Nadjib Mohammedi, RD 3), (Jean Pascal, RD 8)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Andre Ward (Loss UD), Jean Pascal
4. Gennady Golovkin
- Record: 37-0
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 4 KOs (Kell Brook, RD 5), (Dominic Wade, RD 2), (David Lemieux, RD 8), (Willie Monroe Jr., RD 6)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Daniel Jacobs (UD), Kell Brook (TKO 5), David Lemieux (TKO 8)
5. Terence Crawford
- Record: 30-0 (21 KOs)
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 4 KOs (John Molina Jr., RD 8), (Hank Lundy, RD 5), (Dierry Jean, RD 10), (Thomas Dulorme, RD 6)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Hank Lundy (KO 5), Viktor Postol (UD)
6. Vasyl Lomachenko
- Record: 7-1 (5 KOs)
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 4 KOs (Nicholas Walters, RTD 7), (Román Martínez, RD 5), (Romulo Koasicha, RD 10), (Gamalier Rodríguez, RD 9)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Nicholas Walters (RTD 7), Román Martínez (KO 5)
7. Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Record: 17–0 (11 KOs)
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 1 KO (Sod Kokietgym, RD 1)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Drian Francisco (UD 10)
8. Canelo Alvarez
- Record: 48-1-1
- KOs in the Last 5 fights: 3 KOs (Liam Smith, RD 9), (Amir Khan, RD 6), (James Kirkland, RD 3)
- Notable Opponents in Last 5 Fights: Amir Khan (KO 6), Miguel Cotto (UD), Erislandy Lara (SD)
We highlight these specific stats to showcase how the top fighters in the world have done when they've had to fight elevated competition and how their power has decreased as their opponents have become tougher.
GGG, on the other hand, has been competing in championship fights and Jacobs is the only fight he's recently had to make it to the judges. He also is tied for the most KOs amongst the top P4P fighters in his last five fights with four, and arguably had the toughest competition in his last five fights.
It's safe to say that GGG was deserving of the hype heading into the Jacobs fight, and despite many doubter appearing recently, Golovkin is still worthy of high praise. He was able to drop one of the best fighters in the world in Jacobs, and hold on for a narrow decision. The same can't be said of Andre Ward, who'll most likely move to the top slot in the P4P rankings due to Gonzalez's loss because he was dropped by Sergey Kovalev in their fight and given a disputed vitory by the judges.
Golovkin may not have been able to KO the second best middleweight in the world, but he showed that his power is official and he's skilled as more than just a knockout artist.