Daniel Jacobs almost did the unthinkable twice. Fitting since his nickname is “The Miracle Man.”
He took Gennady Golovkin the distance when few thought that was remotely possible and came oh so close to pulling off a gigantic upset in their middleweight unification bout.
Golovkin scored a narrow majority decision early Sunday morning at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, retaining his belts and adding Jacobs’ WBA world middleweight championship to his cadre as he improved to 37-0 in his career.
But when the final bell of the 12-round slugfest rang, many in the crowd thought Jacobs, a Brooklyn native, had pulled out the victory.
“I think I won the fight,” Jacobs said in the ring immediately after the bout. “I think I won by at least two rounds, minimum.”
Jacobs (32-2) was arguably a round away from taking it, rallying from an early knockdown to land vicious blows against the seemingly invincible Golovkin, making “GGG” sweat out the scorecards for the first time in his career. Golovkin landed 231 of 615 punches compared to 175 of 541 for Jacobs. Golovkin’s knockout streak ended at 23.
“He’s my best opponent,” Golovkin said. “He doesn’t lose control.”
The slugfest between the two best middleweights was shaping up to be an easy victory for Golovkin early on. He dropped Jacobs in the 4th with successive shots and racked up rounds halfway through the fight. But Jacobs showed a ton of grit, especially during rounds 10-12, battling back to make the judges seriously consider awarding him the fight.
Judges Don Trelia and Steve Weisfeld scored it 115-112 while Max DeLuca scored it 114-113, all in favor of Golovkin.
The fight, airing on HBO PPV, more than lived up to the hype and brought plenty of celebs out, including comedians Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, and Jerry Seinfeld, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, and former heavyweight champion of the world Evander Holyfield.
Whether there’s an appetite for a rematch remains to be seen, although Golovkin said he would grant Jacobs one. Golovkin likely sets his sights on a mega-matchup with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez later this year. Where Jacobs goes from here is unknown.
While the main event didn’t produce an upset, the undercard did as the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, suffered the first loss of his career in a controversial majority decision that the MSG crowd did not agree with.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KO) became the new WBC super flyweight champion scoring a majority decision over Gonzalez. Both fighters ended up at the hospital after the match.
Sor Rungvisai also handed Gonzalez his first knockdown since 2006 when he landed a devastating body blow in the first. But Chocolatito (46-1, 38 KO) appeared to take control of the fight over the ensuing rounds despite dealing with a cut above his eye suffered in the third round when the two collided heads. Chocolatito landed 56.4% of his power punches and more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds but the judges – Glenn Feldman and Julie Lederman scored it 114-112 in favor of Sor Rungvisai while Waleska Roldan scored it a draw—saw it differently. Complex Sports had Chocolatito as the winner.