This weekend the bright lights of New York City will be shining brightly on Madison Square Garden. MSG will be hosting a couple of jam-packed boxing events. On Friday, St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s own, Michael Conlan will have his debut bout. It will take place against Tim Ibarra in the theater of Madison Square Garden. And on Saturday, two of the best Middleweight fighters in the world square off. The WBC, IBF, IBO, and “Super” WBA Middleweight Champion, “GGG” Gennady Golovkin defends his belts. He defends them against the “Regular” Middleweight Champion, “The Miracle Man” Danny Jacobs.
Top Rank Promotions got one of the biggest stars from the Olympics when they signed Michael Conlan, the man who flipped off the Olympic judges when they pretty much screwed him in the Olympics. Despite him not fighting a fight yet, he appears to have the charisma that would make him a fan favorite. Linking him to fight on St Patrick’s Day was a brilliant move by Top Rank and it should serve them well as Top Rank has shown more than once in the past that they know how to build a star.
The 25-year-old, Conlan, will be stepping into the ring for the 1st time as a pro against Tim Ibarra. He goes into this fight with a 4-4 record and will be looked at by many as the sacrificial lamb to Conlan’s debut. With no disrespect to Ibarra, this night will be all about Conlan. This is a fight he should easily win and this will be the beginning of a career that Top Rank expects to take off very early. This fight will have a limit of 6 rounds and will be fought at a catchweight limit of 124 pounds.
If the Conlan debut is characterized as the appetizer. Then Golovkin vs. Jacobs Middleweight battle in the large room at Madison Square Garden, promoted by K2 Promotions, is looked at as the main course. This bout will be presented on HBO PPV and also with the ability to stream the PPV from your phone, laptop or any portable device.
Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, aka GGG, will be stepping into the ring with an unblemished record of 36-0 with 33 by way of stoppage. He has had 23 straight fights that have ended by stoppage and no one in his career has ever made it through 11 rounds with Golovkin and only 2 guys have made it through 9 rounds. Golovkin pack power in both hands and throws one of the hardest jabs in the sport, just ask David Lemieux. He is widely known as the best middleweight fighter in the world.
Danny Jacobs enters the ring Saturday with a record of 31-1 with 29 stoppages. Jacobs has stopped 12 straight opponents since he was stopped by Dmitry Pirog almost 7 years ago. He also packs good power in both hands and displayed that by destroying his arguably best opponent, Peter Quillin, in the 1st round at the end of 2015.
The biggest knock on Golovkin has been the level of his opponents, with no fault of his own. Golovkin has tried to fight guys like Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, but thus far, no one with a big name has accepted the challenge. Of the people he has faced, his best opponents include Martin Murray, Daniel Geale, and David Lemieux. The biggest name on his resume is from his last fight where he went to London to face Kell Brook, who came up from 147 pounds to 160 pounds to face Golovkin.
Most people know the story of Daniel Jacobs. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening bone cancer back in May 2011. After receiving treatment for over a year, he re-entered the ring 17 months later and less than 2 years after that, fulfilled his dream of becoming a world champion. He now hopes to shock the world and defeat the king of the middleweight division. He is someone, that whether you are rooting for GGG or not, that is a good person. Someone to really root for.
The 2 biggest, and probably the key, questions to this fight are: How will Jacobs, who has previously shown that he could have a weak chin, survive the hard punches of Golovkin? And how will Golovkin react to a flush shot from Jacobs, if he can get one? Golovkin doesn’t get the credit for being a skilled boxer that he should. People see the KOs and look at him as just a hard puncher. However, he has shown from a great amateur career and from how he has changed his style within the ring that he is more than skilled enough to do pretty much what he wants.
With that being said, Jacobs definitely has the pop to give GGG issues. His biggest problem will be his chin. We saw Pirog stop him. We all saw Sergio Mora, who is not the biggest puncher, also put Danny on the canvas. This could be a very exciting fight if Jacobs catches Golovkin early. But in the end, I don’t think Jacobs can stand up to the constant punishment and power. Golovkin stops him in 4 or 5 rounds.
All in all, this will be a very exciting weekend for boxing fans. They get to see the launching of a new career. They also get to see the 2 best middleweights in the world fight. This fight could lead to a mega-fight with Canelo Alvarez later. Or it can lead to a unification fight with BJ Saunders. However it ends, this is a great weekend to watch the sport and the atmosphere should be like no other. When you throw the holiday weekend into the mix, it’s a great time to sit back and relax. Enjoy the fights.