It is known as the Mecca of Boxing.
It is the boxing cathedral where some of the greatest fights of all time have taken place. Legends have been made and fighters have been disgraced. Champions have been crowned and champions have died.
There have been more fights in Las Vegas, there was the Thriller in Manilla and the Rumble in the Jungle, but no place has a more storied boxing legacy than The Garden.
It is in the World’s Most Famous Arena tonight that another champion will be crowned and another legendary fight could take place.
Undefeated Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) faces Danny ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
Golovkin holds the WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight championship belts. Jacobs is the WBA title holder. Both are knockout machines.
In the blink of an eye, the middleweight division could be unified. Don’t blink.
“Two guys, two dedicated knockout punchers,” Jacobs said. “You can’t get any better than this. We both are devastating punchers. We both have amazing skill.”
Jacobs is best known for winning the greatest fight of all. In May of 2011, the Brooklyn native was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a life-threatening form of bone cancer.
He experienced paralysis from the waist down. Doctors at New York Presbyterian performed the surgery that removed the tumor wrapped around Jacobs’ spine. Seventeen months later he won his title.
“I would never have thought five years ago through a whole bunch of craziness that I went through that I would be fighting for the unified middleweight championship,’’ Jacobs said. “I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, the biggest challenge on the biggest stage. I’m so focused; I’m so ready.’’
He will have to be. Golovkin is considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. He has devastating power and a jaw that could sink the Titanic.
In more than 300 amateur fights and his pro career, Kazakhstan’s ‘Triple G’ has never been knocked down. He has knocked out his last 23 opponents, including all 17 of his title defenses. Hie 91.7 knockout percentage is the best of any middleweight world titleholder in history.
“Of course I feel that I have power, and it is very important to me, and I can feel the power in my punches,” Golovkin said. “I get that from hard work and practice … but it is not just power. It has a lot to do with timing and distance. It is not all in the punch.”
There has been no nonsense leading up to this fight. Both fighters are well aware of each other’s power and professionalism. Golovkin is the favorite but as Jacobs pointed out, “He’s not cancer.’’
Golovkin, who is so dominant he has seemingly allowed opponents to hit him squarely in the face only to prove he can’t be hurt. It’s unlikely he’ll allow Jacobs a free shot. Too much risk.
And Golovkin still yearns for a megabucks fight with Canelo Alvarez, the light middleweight champ. Golovkin, 34, still is in the prime of his career but an upset loss to Jacobs will be seen as a sign that he’s slipping. For a man that has never been knocked down, that’s not an option.
“Daniel has great power,’’ Golovkin said. “His knockout over Peter Quillin was very impressive. I know I have to be smart in the ring against Daniel and use all of my skills to win.”
Both fighters are thrilled to be fighting in The Garden.
Golovkin has fought here numerous times, most recently in October of 2015 when he scored a TKO win over David Lemieux. For Jacobs, a Brownsville native who faced death in the eye and didn’t blink, this is the pinnacle bout of his career.
“I was 15 years old when I first came to Madison Square Garden to watch the Golden Gloves,’’ Jacobs said. “So to have an opportunity like this and fight at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’ again for the biggest opportunity that I could possibly have.’’