By Andrew McCart (@Andy_FCBoxing)
With a little over four weeks to go until Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs face each other for middleweight supremacy, FirstClassBoxing.com caught up with Jacobs’ friend and business manager Keith Connolly. The fight has caught the interest of fans and boxing experts alike. You have two fighters who have accumulated 35 consecutive stoppage victories between them and both hold the top two knockout percentages in the 160 pound division. Which makes for an exciting contest. “It’s rare you see two fighters in their prime fight each other.” Mr Connolly added when asked about his thoughts on the fight. “Normally they will circle each other for years. But, here you have the number one and number two guys facing each other.”
With negotiations for the long-awaited middleweight showdown seemingly stuck in the mud after months of talks, both teams are thrilled that, at long last, a deal has been finalised.
“Tom Loefller and Al Haymon are both true professionals.” Connolly told FirstClassBoxing.com. “It was just a matter of ironing out all the details, were Danny [Jacobs] was happy and so was Gennady [Golovkin]. So, it took about three months to make, but it was never adversarial […] both camps at all times were acting in a true professional way. There might have been a few hurdles in the end, but they were all made… So here we are.”
Golovkin has tried and failed to coax the top middleweights to fight him, until now and Jacobs is leaving no stone unturned as he prepares to face the 34-year old Kazakh wrecking machine. The Brooklyn native has travelled to the West Coast to have his camp in Virgil Hunter’s gym out in the Bay Area and Connolly feels this will give Jacobs “less distractions” as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.
“Anytime you are living in your home town, you have everybody pulling you in all different directions. So, we wanted to isolate Danny for two months to make sure that Gennady is the only thing on his mind. We’ve also added Virgil Hunter to the team. It’s sort of another set of eyes with the other head trainer Andre Rozier… It never hurts to have another experienced guy in there with another opinion […] it was sort of a combination of working with Virgil Hunter and isolating Danny.”
The fight is at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden; an arena Golovkin has headlined and sold out in the past. Despite being a Brooklyn guy and fighting at MSG, Jacobs has never actually headlined there. However, Keith Connelly does not believe that the venue presents a home field advantage for either fighter.
“Come fight night when the bell rings all that is going to go out the window. Obviously, we have a great relationship and partnership with the Barclays Center. Danny is the face of their Brooklyn boxing brand, so, we would of preferred the fight to be at the Barclays Center. But, we know once we beat ‘GGG’ we’re going to go right back to the Barclays Center […] but you know Madison Square Garden is a storied arena, if it couldn’t be at the Barclays Center then MSG is a great spot to have it in as well. Danny is from New York, so we’re not looking at it as an away fight, we are fine fighting there. In the end it’s about fighting the top guy and beating him, that’s the most important thing… Danny can prove to everybody that he is the top middleweight in the world and one of the top fighters in the world.”
It is no secret that ‘GGG’ has yet to be dropped in sparring, his amateur career or to date in his pro career. Golovkin is currently on a 23 fight knockout streak, dating back to June 2008. When asked what Jacobs brings to the table which none of Golovkin’s past opponents have, Connolly was quick to answer, “power and speed.” As the fight approaches Golovkin is the clear favourite with bookmakers. Mr Connolly however, doesn’t concur and believes the ‘Miracle Man’ will dominate on the night.
“He [Golovkin] has never fought anyone as fast as Danny, he’s never fought anyone with Danny’s power. Everyone talks about ‘GGG’s’ power… almost every single guy that Danny has fought he has knocked them out as well. I think their knockout percentages are side by side.
“We went through this a year and half ago. When everybody was saying Peter Quillin was the more powerful guy and I told Danny a week before the fight that the reason that they are saying that is because all Quillin has is power […] Quillan was the first guy were Danny felt like his back was up against the wall and that everybody was picking the other guy and we saw what happened… he took care of the guy [Quillan] in 85 seconds.” Connolly continued. “I don’t think ‘GGG’ has fought anybody like Danny and come fight night I think everybody is going to be surprised. I think Danny not only wins, but I think it is going to be a dominant victory within five rounds.”
Golovkin maybe the toughest fight Jacobs has faced in the ring, however it isn’t the toughest fight Jacobs has faced; he beat cancer and made a return to the ring in 2012 after 19 months out. When you compare the media attention Lance Armstrong had during his successful battle against cancer, it’s hard to believe the lack of attention Jacobs has had. When FirstClassBoxing asked Mr Connolly about this, he had this to say…
“Danny feels like if he beats [Golovkin] he should be the new face of the Livestrong campaign, that Lance Armstrong had. […] Does it bother him? [lack of media attention] No I don’t think it bothers him, but I think when we win this fight, I think Danny should be the new face of that campaign […] anyone that has boxed knows that boxing is the toughest sport on the planet, hands down. So, when Danny wins, it opens all those sort of doors for him.”by