Golovkin retains belts after close call

'Triple G' takes narrow decision over Jacobs


Gennady Golovkin punches Daniel Jacobs during the 11th round. (AP photo)

NEW YORK: Exhausted beyond anything he'd felt in the ring, Gennady Golovkin could barely lift his collection of title belts.

Danny Jacobs thought they should have been in his possession.

Golovkin outlasted Jacobs in a superb 12-round defence of his middleweight titles on Saturday night. Both fighters are knockout artists, yet this one went the distance -- the first time GGG has not had a KO in 24 fights, and his first time going 12 rounds. The Kazakh won 115-112 on two judges' cards and 114-113 on the other.

The AP had it 114-113 for Golovkin.

"I give Gennady a 7½ or an 8 out of 10,'' said his trainer, Abel Sanchez. "Daniel's athleticism was very strong tonight. Gennady's accuracy was not quite as pinpoint.''

In by far the toughest fight of his stellar career, Golovkin often was stymied by Jacobs changing to a left-handed style. But a series of hard rights throughout the bout were enough -- barely -- to bring his record to 37-0.

"Daniel did a very good job,'' Golovkin said. "Daniel is my favourite fighter. I can't destroy him.''

He didn't, unlike so many other opponents who felt the fury of GGG.

"I thought I won it by at least two rounds, minimum,'' said Jacobs, nicknamed Miracle Man after he overcame bone cancer in 2011-12 to win 10 straight fights. "I did feel like I had to win the 12th round to make sure.''

He won it on two of the three cards, but it wasn't enough, perhaps because he was knocked down in the fourth round, which went to Golovkin 10-8 on all three cards.

Still, with Madison Square Garden reverberating from chants of "Triple G'' or "JACOBS,'' no one could be sure of the outcome right until the final punch.

"This is boxing, I need the decision,'' the 34-year-old Golovkin said. "I wasn't thinking that I needed the 12th round to win the fight. This was my first test at 12 rounds. I needed a quality fight, not just the 12th round.''

Jacobs is 32-2 and lost his WBA crown to GGG in the HBO pay-per-view card.

Golovkin, a world champion since 2010, is 5-0 at the Garden, which he calls a "second home.'' But Jacobs, from Brooklyn and, oddly, a representative of the competing arena the Barclays Center, tested him more than anyone has.

Golovkin keeps his WBC and WBO crowns -- the IBF belt was not at stake because Jacobs skipped that organisation's fight-day weigh-in. On the horizon for GGG could be that elusive meeting with Canelo Alvarez if the Mexican wins his fight in May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

"Of course I am ready to fight Canelo. Of course I want that fight,'' Golovkin said. "I am like an animal for that fight.''

But there's another option, GGG admitted.

"I will give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.''

Earlier, Carlos Cuadras outpointed fellow Mexican David Carmona in a super-flyweight fight.

Both from Mexico City, Cuadras and Carmona were coming off defeats. Neither was particularly sharp Saturday night, and the decision drew a lusty round of boos from the crowd.

Perhaps the unorthodox manner in which Cuadras fought, at times looking off-balance and awkward, didn't win over the fans. Or maybe it was the way Carmona came on late in the 10-rounder.

Regardless, the judges went for Cuadras 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94.

Cuadras (36-1-1 with 27 KOs) lost a close unanimous decision to Gonzalez in a sensational September matchup for the WBC belt he'd held since 2014. He wasn't nearly as impressive in his win at the Garden.

Carmona (20-4-5) was also coming off a loss, to WBO world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.

Cleveland's Ryan Martin improved to 18-0 with 11 knockouts when he totally outmatched Bryant Cruz before stopping him in the seventh round of their lightweight bout.

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