Gennady Golovkin claimed a narrow points victory, in the toughest test of his career, against Danny Jacobs at Madison Square Garden in New York.
At the end of the contest, the judges at ringside scored the fight 114-113, 115-112 and 115-112 – all in favour of Golovkin.
The fight was very close throughout, with a number of rounds which you could score for either man.
In the opening stanza, both men trod carefully, utilising the jab.
Each man also offered the other a taste of their power in the opening three minutes, with both fighters landing stiff right hands.
Things remained cautious throughout the second and third rounds.
Jacobs, often on the back foot, found some success with his left hand, while Golovkin sought to target the body of Jacobs.
Golovkin closed in on his target in the fourth, landing two solid right hands, and leaving Jacobs on the canvas. However, a stunned Jacobs beat the referee’s count and recovered well to see out the round.
Jacobs continued to switch to between orthodox and southpaw stances throughout the contest. It was, however, perhaps most worrying in the fifth, not long after the knockdown, when such a move could have proved deadly, as it left Jacobs susceptible to Golovkin’s big right hands.
In the sixth, Golovkin continued to walk his man down. Jacobs, however, was no pushover, finding space to unload a mean combination of punches which ended with a powerful uppercut.
Both men found their target with blistering combinations in the seventh.
As the final seconds of the seventh round ticked away, Golovkin unloaded a barrage of shots on Jacobs, who attempted to return fire from against the ropes as the bell rang.
In the eighth, Jacobs found success working the body, while Golovkin’s big right hand proved powerful enough to rattle Jacobs.
Round nine offered even more action, with Golovkin landing big uppercuts on more than one occasion. Jacobs responded well to the first, landing a hard left in response but was hurt by another and forced to retreat.
In the tenth round, the work rate of both men subsided, the only burst of real action came in the closing seconds when both men traded blows.
Entering the championship rounds, Jacobs again found himself on the receiving end of an uppercut, while Golovkin ate yet another big left hook.
Both fighters looked to stake their claim in the 12th round, unloading powerful salvos, and aiming to seal the deal in the final three minutes.
At the end of the contest, the judge’s decision received boos from the crowd, and while it may not have been Golovkin’s finest night – it was certainly not a robbery.
In his post-fight interview Golovkin told Max Kellerman; “He [Jacobs] did a very good job, a very clean job. I give him respect.”
While a dejected Jacobs, unhappy with the judge’s decision, claimed he was the real victor.
“I think I won the fight,” Jacobs said. “I think the fans will support me on that.”
Regardless of how tight the Jacobs fight became and no matter what move Golovkin makes next – he will remain one of the most feared men in boxing.