Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin has something of a Mike Tyson aura about him, acknowledged Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs, but don’t expect the challenger to feel intimidated in their title clash on Saturday.
The unbeaten Golovkin, nicknamed Triple G, has knocked out 33 of 36 opponents including the last 23, but Jacobs has survived a far more dangerous threat — bone cancer. And coming through that ordeal six years ago has given him strength.
“I’m a more mentally strong fighter. He’s not cancer,” Jacobs told reporters before this week’s final news conference ahead of their Madison Square Garden showdown.
Jacobs, a Brooklynite with an impressive 32-1 record of his own with 29 knockouts, has a height and likely weight advantage over Golovkin, but has been rated a 7-1 long-shot against the holder of the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO belts.
“Once again having my back against the wall, having everyone doubt me. I’m reliving those moments, the same thought process, same feelings, questioning myself,” Jacobs said, recalling his treatments, rehab and comeback after being sidelined 18 months.
“I was 23, 24 years old then. I’m 30 now. It’s instilled in me — I believe in myself. I believe in what I can do.”
Golovkin has never wanted for confidence, dominating the middleweight class despite being relatively undersized in the 160-pound division.
A relentless aggressor, he cuts off the ring to close in and punish opponents with a brutal arsenal of left hooks and power rights.
Golovkin, 34, stopped unbeaten welterweight champion Kell Brook in the fifth round of his September fight in London, but was stunned by an uppercut in the second round and absorbed many shots from the sharp-punching Englishman.