NEW YORK • Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin has something of a Mike Tyson aura about him, acknowledged Daniel "Miracle Man" Jacobs, but do not expect the challenger to feel intimidated in their title clash today.
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 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 Kazakh.
"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, rehabilitation and comeback after being sidelined for 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."
I'm a more mentally strong fighter. He's not cancer.
'' DANIEL JACOBS, American boxer, on how surviving his fight against bone cancer has made him stronger.
Golovkin has never been short of confidence, dominating the middleweight class despite being relatively undersized in the 160-pound division.
He has, however, said he is not going to underestimate Jacobs.
"I know he has good boxing IQ. Looks good in his last fights. Right is good, left is good. Everything is good," said Golovkin.
Jacobs is bigger and faster than Golovkin and hits harder than many of the Kazakh's previous victims.
But the American concedes some fighters appear wary of Golovkin once in the ring.
"We've seen it a lot in Mike Tyson fights. Guys become totally different fighters," he said.
Jacobs has gone to great lengths, setting up camp in the Bay Area to work with light-heavyweight champion Andre Ward and get conditioning advice from former Balco (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) chief Victor Conte.
He also used former junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri as a nutritionist.
"I'm not going to be intimidated," added Jacobs.