Perhaps he’s feeling a little pressure, himself. At 34, he’s nearing the twilight of his career and on March 18th, he faces a young lion, four years his junior, Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KO’s), a product of Brownsville, New York’s mean streets who combines advantages in speed, movement, height (6’ 0” to Golovkin’s 5’ 10 ½”) and reach (73” to Golovkin’s 70”) with a wicked boxer-puncher style, making him a formidable threat.
At stake are Golovkin’s World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization World Middleweight titles, a potential mega-million dollar match versus Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (who faces the popular Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. for Cinco de Mayo on May 6th) – and maybe, just maybe a dream fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. whose most recent opponents made fortunes facing him.
Taking precious moments away from training, Golovkin teamed up with his trainer, Abel Sanchez, and promoter, Tom Loeffler of K- 2 Promotions, to field questions from a bevy of reporters via international teleconference.
On Golovkin’s power:
Abel Sanchez (who holds the punching drill mitts for Golovkin): “I’ve never had a fighter hit me as hard as he has. You feel it at night when you go to bed; the shoulders hurt, but that’s part of the job. I feel for those in the ring who get hit by him!”
Gennady Golovkin: “Of course, it’s very important for me. It’s not just power, but timing – not just lucky punching.”
On whether Jacob’s knockout streak suggests that a knockout is inevitable:
GG: “I dunno. This is boxing. Danny has maybe power. He has power, but not just punch. He’s a very good boxer.”
On training for Danny Jacobs:
AS: “(Golovkin has) learned to adapt to bigger guys throughout his career. (Jacob’s) punching power is my concern. We brought in sparring partners to help prepare. David Benavidez is 6’3”, John Jackson is 6’ 0.”
Tom Loeffler: “He trains hard for every fight. He’s going to prepare to be the best that he can be. It doesn’t change with the opponent.”
On Jacob’s sole knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog in 2010 suggesting a weak chin:
AS: “I don’t think he was unable to continue. He was being held down (by referee Robert Byrd). We’re concerned with his punching power and his ability to box.”
GG: “He’s dangerous for me. He’s great man. He’s very good as boxer and very good as (a) man.”
On defense being more of a priority considering he got hit a lot in his last defense versus Kell Brook:
AS: “Defense has always been a priority since we began together. To land the type of shot he likes to land (it opens him up to counter punches), it’s a concern. It’s always a concern. It’s part of the game. If he didn’t fight his style (that favors aggression over defense), we wouldn’t be sitting here talking. He is the kind of fighter he is by his choice.”
GG: “Right now, I think he’s the best (I’ve fought in my career).”
On how they’ll handle it if Golovkin gets knocked down:
AS: “We’ve never discussed that. We don’t believe in being negative. Natural instinct comes in. It’s part of the game; it’s part of the business.”
GG: “I don’t know. I have no idea, really.”
On how they see the fight unfolding:
AS: “I think that Danny will be aggressive. I think he will come out and draw a line. With the addition of (trainer) Virgil (Hunter), I think they understand that they’ll have to get his respect. Maybe the first round is a crazy round, and rounds two, three, four, five will be more tactical.”
On fighting Jacobs at Madison Square Garden:
GG: “I’ve very excited, I’m very happy. It’s like my second home – great atmosphere, great people – the best people in the world!”
On Floyd Mayweather, Jr. denigrating Golovkin, but fighting Mixed Martial Artist Connor McGregor instead:
AS: “I think by him talking about his deficiencies it says a lot…If (Gennady) is so flat footed, if he is so beatable, then he can be one of the three (that face Golovkin this year).”
For Golovkin, who previously expressed a willingness to drop down from the 160 lb. middleweight limit to 154, this would be the ultimate payday. But first, he needs to get by Daniel Jacobs, which may indeed be a tall order.
Gennady Golovkin versus Daniel Jacobs will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View on Saturday, March 18.