Collision course or business as usual for GGG and Jacobs?
While he had some moments on Saturday in front of a partisan crowd at the O2 Arena in London, England, Kell Brook, for as brave as he was in accepting the match-up against the middleweight monster that is Gennady Golovkin, was simply overwhelmed and overpowered by the bigger, stronger man. While Brook certainly looked the part physically, the reality is he was still a welterweight (one with an IBF belt around his waist) who had completely bypassed the 154-pound weight class to accept this daunting challenge.
After getting buckled early on by a left hook to the body, Brook actually rallied in the next couple of frames and struck Golovkin cleanly with fast combinations and uppercuts, that brought the English fans to their feet. But alas, it was still Golovkin – who seemed to become unhinged technically, as he swung for the fences – who was still the bigger, stronger man. Yes, size matters. And so did his thudding power that fractured Brook’s right eye socket earlier.
As the Golovkin avalanche came down upon him in the fifth, Brook – who showed a real durability in never officially being sent to the canvas – was rescued by his trainer Dominic Ingle, who threw in the towel. You can debate all you want if this was the right decision but there’s no denying this fight was only going in one direction from this point on. While it’s the fighters’ job to have a mentality that they will go out on their shield, it’s the trainer’s job to make sure that never happens. Brook will live to fight another day – and most likely at junior middleweight, where he should compete well.
Ultimately it was an entertaining – if one-sided – affair, in which the results were never really in doubt from the time this fight was signed on the dotted line.
But the question is: Just where does Golovkin, who improved to 36-0 (33), go from here?
Currently, he is in possession of the IBF, WBA and WBC straps and his catch phrase for awhile has been “All the belts.” And predictably, observing some of Golovkin’s perceived moments of vulnerability against Brook, “Baffling” Billy Joe Saunders, who holds the WBO strap, tweeted this out after the fight:
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) September 11, 2016
The only problem is that the “B” in “BJ” could stand for “bluffing” as he’s better at bantering about big fights (as Golden Boy Promotions and Saul Alvarez most recently found out) than actually participating in them. Then, of course, Chris Eubank Jr. chimed in with his usual delusion. Perhaps these two remain options for the future if Golovkin and K2 decide to return to the U.K. But the fight many Stateside fans want is against Danny Jacobs, who dispatched Sergio Mora in seven rounds in their rematch in Reading, Pennsylvania on Friday night.
Literally less than a minute after the Golovkin-Brook fight had concluded, this reporter received a phone call (and Michael Montero is my witness) from Andre Rozier, who trains Jacobs. He let it be known that they would absolutely take the assignment to face “GGG” next and, based on what he had just seen on HBO, against his man, Golovkin “would’ve been (down) on his (own) ass.”
Now whether or not that’s true remains to be seen but the WBA has made it clear that they will mandate this fight. (In the often convoluted world of the WBA, in which they have “super” champions, “regular” champions and “interim” champions, Golovkin is the “super” version and Jacobs is the “regular,” which, in essence, makes Jacobs Golovkin’s No. 1 challenger. Its now the WBA’s turn to enforce its mandatory after the IBF did so back in April, as they foisted the over-matched Dominic Wade on Golovkin. Organization Presidente Gilberto Mendoza Jr. stated to me shortly after the fight: “120 days for GGG-Jacobs, 30 days negotiations period just started. #boxing”
So what can stop this from happening in the fall?
Well, unfortunately the business of boxing and all its machinations and alliances.
Golovkin is now a franchise fighter for HBO Sports. Jacobs – who doesn’t really have a network affiliation (his latest outing was on Spike) – is part of the Premier Boxing Champions universe and is advised by Al Haymon. This right here is the biggest sticking point. While a couple of Haymon clients over the past several months have fought on the other side of the street (Wade against Golovkin and Amir Khan against Saul Alvarez on pay-per-view), it’s unclear if Haymon would be willing to send Jacobs over. On the other hand, if the two sides can’t come to a resolution in the next month and this fight goes to a purse bid, will Golovkin’s side risk having Haymon win it? It is well-known that Golovkin has an exclusive contract with HBO, which is going through a bit of a budget crunch. Could we see a scenario that is similar to when Main Events and IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev dropped out of their purse bid against WBC counterpart Adonis Stevenson for this very same reason?
The plan is for Golovkin to fight once more in 2016.
The question now is against whom.
– I found this article on BoxingScene.com in which Jacobs brought up race as a factor in him not being a bigger star a bit peculiar. While his points might have some validity, the fact of the matter is, prior to Friday night, he had been out of action for about nine months after his first round TKO of Peter Quillin last December and had failed to capitalize on that momentum by standing idly by. And isn’t that on his adviser Mr. Haymon?
One boxing insider said of Jacobs’ comments:
“Danny is not doing himself any favors with an interview like this. Three middleweight champions fighting within eight days. The guy from Kazakhstan in a major PPV event in London, distributed here by HBO. The guy from Mexico (Saul Alvarez) is filling up a stadium in Texas and fighting on HBO PPV with a delay a week later on HBO. And Danny is fighting on Spike in where? Reading, Pennsylvania?! They will send out a press release touting the event as a major success if they get 500,000 viewers!
“And they are actually begging people to buy tickets and to watch the fight. Maybe Danny should point a finger at his ‘genius’ manager/promoter instead of blaming nebulous forces beyond his control.
“Haymon did not build Floyd Mayweather (Jr.). (Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob) Arum did that. And he sure hasn’t built anyone else either – especially when you consider all the resources that have been at his disposal for well over 10 years: First carte blanche at HBO. Then a half a billion dollars of investor money and time on seven broadcast and cable networks. And now carte blanche at Showtime.
Noticeably, during the fight on Friday night, many in the audience at the Santander Arena had left after the vacant IBF lightweight title bout between Robert Easter Jr. and Richard Commey. It turned out that Easter had brought a sizable contingent from Toledo, Ohio. While Jacobs was wearing apparel that touted his hometown that read, “Brooklyn Boxing,” he was showcased in Pennsylvania.
Perhaps Jacobs has a right to point fingers. That said, maybe he should be pointing them in a different direction.
And, just maybe, that road to stardom he craves so badly, goes through Golovkin.
– Easter-Commey was a really good fight and, in my opinion, the judges got it right, awarding the decision to Easter by split decision. With the victory, Easter is the new IBF lightweight champion and joins contender Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla (who meet on Sept. 24) and Terry Flanagan as 135-pound beltholders. By the way, while some will be loath to credit sanctioning bodies for whatever reason, the IBF basically made this happen as its title was vacant and these Easter and Commey were mandated to square up, given they were the two highest available ranked contenders.
– In front of a spirited crowd (which was officially announced at 6,714) at The Forum in Inglewood, California, WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez took the WBC 115-pound title away from the pesky Carlos Cuadras in a hard battle that only intensified and got tougher for the dynamic Nicaraguan, who got visibly marked up. “Chocolatito” made a bit of history by becoming the first boxer from his country to win four titles in as many weight categories, surpassing the great Alexis Arguello. (Gonzalez himself admits this alone does not make him greater than his mentor.) With the way he looked after this fight. one must wonder if he has reached his weight threshold. It will be interesting to see where Gonzalez goes from here.
But what was really eye-opening was just how many of his countrymen showed up to support him. It was one of those rare occasions in which the Mexican boxer did not have the lion’s share of the support. He has certainly come a long way since he headlined an UniMas card against Ramon Garcia Hirales at the Fairplex in Pomona, California in front of about a thousand people in 2012 and then later at the LA Sports Arena, opposite Juan Francisco Estrada, where a few thousand were in attendance on a wet, rainy night.
Chocolatito has arrived in more ways than one.
Yoshihiro Kamegai simply looked like the fresher fighter than Jesus Soto Karass in their rematch…Andy Ruiz Jr. is on to Hughie Fury after defeating Franklin Lawrence on Saturday night…Interesting move by UniMas and Top Rank to go back to Friday nights for “Solo Boxeo”…The Nov. 4 edition of Solo Boxeo will be at Treasure Island in Las Vegas with a main event of Andy Vences-Casey Ramos…I’ll be in Dallas/Arlington for much of the week with Doug Fischer and Beto Duran for RingTV.com, covering Liam Smith-Saul Alvarez…Miami plays Appalachian State this week. How did they end up with a home game in this series?…Great slate of college football games this weekend coming up…When is FOX’s “Empire” coming back?…Jameis Winston looks like he’s going to have a huge sophomore campaign in Tampa…Huge win for the young and talented Raiders, huh? Can you feel the autumn wind?…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.