NEW YORK -- If you have watched a Gennady Golovkin or Daniel Jacobs fight at any point over the past several years, they have at least one thing very much in common -- none has required the ring announcer to read the judges' scores.
Not since June 2008, when Golovkin went the eight-round distance in a one-sided win against unknown journeyman Amar Amari in Denmark, has he not ended a fight via knockout.
And not since Jacobs went the 10-round distance with former junior middleweight titlist Ishe Smith in August 2009 has one of his fights not ended in a KO, though one was Jacobs' only defeat. That was when he faced Dmitry Pirog for a vacant middleweight world title in 2010 and suffered a fifth-round knockout.
Between them, Golovkin and Jacobs have combined to knock out their past 35 consecutive opponents.
So when the world's two best middleweights square off on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at Madison Square Garden in one of the year's biggest fights, for Golovkin's three major world title belts, most believe it will end with referee Charlie Fitch either counting to 10 or waving his arms to signal the end.
As for judges Max DeLuca, Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld? They'll have the best seats in the house at the ring apron, but it's not clear they'll be needed, as two of boxing's pre-eminent punchers, both of whom typically make entertaining bouts, go at it against the best of opponent of their respective careers.
"Two guys, two dedicated knockout punches," Jacobs said. "You can't get any better than this. We both are devastating punchers. We both have amazing skill."
Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs), whose 91.7 knockout percentage is the best of any middleweight world titleholder in history, has knocked out 23 opponents in a row, including in all 17 of his title defenses. His punching power is unquestioned.
He has stopped men in all manners in his title fights: going backward (Daniel Geale), by highlight-reel one-punch KO (Nobuhiro Ishida), with a body shot (Matthew Macklin), by breaking facial bones (Kell Brook), by administering a lengthy one-sided beating (Martin Murray), by first-round destruction (Lajuan Simon) and on cuts (Gabriel Rosado).
GGG has scary, damaging power and he knows it.
"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."
"Of course I feel that I have power, and it is very important to me. and I can feel the power in my punches. 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."Gennady Golovkin
Abel Sanchez, Golovkin's longtime trainer, holds the pads for him daily during training camp. Sanchez has been around for decades and worked with other great punchers, including Hall of Famer Terry Norris and reigning cruiserweight titleholder Murat Gassiev, so take his words to heart.
"In 40 years I have never had a fighter that hits as hard as Gennady, but I am fortunate that he doesn't hit me as hard as he can and as hard as he has hit someone in a fight," Sanchez said. "I have seen him hit someone 100 percent with protection on, but I have never seen him hit someone 100 percent in a fight. He hits very hard and I feel it at night when I go to bed. My shoulder hurts, but that is part of the job.
"It does hurt and I feel for the guys that catch it in the ring with small gloves and wraps, but that's part of his business. It is fortunate that I have a guy that fights with dramatic endings and fights dramatic rounds and I am glad to be part of it."
Andre Rozier, Jacobs' trainer and an old friend of Sanchez's, has shown respect to Golovkin but did downplay his power.
"He has good punching power. I will not say that he has hellacious punching power," Rozier said. "He doesn't hit people with one shot then they go away. Most of his knockouts come through attrition where he's constantly banging at you and wearing you down. He's had a couple, but Danny has had more first-round knockouts than he has, and Danny has hit a lot more people with one or two clean shots than Gennady has."
While Golovkin-Jacobs appears likely to end by knockout, regardless of who emerges as the winner -- though Jacobs, owner of a secondary world title and Golovkin's mandatory challenger, is a significant underdog -- the fighters are not predicting knockouts and are noncommittal about the ending.
"I don't know; this is boxing," Golovkin said. "He is a very good fighter and maybe has a little bit more power than me. He has big power and he is a very good boxer."
Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) offered his take.
"I've never faced him but anybody can be hurt and I'm confident in my power that I can hurt him."Daniel Jacobs
"No, I don't see [a knockout] is the only route," Jacobs said. "You have to understand that I am a boxer and we both come from boxing backgrounds. We do have a lot of knockouts as professionals. If adjustments need to be made, it could go the distance.
"I'm not saying that my plan is to go in there and knock somebody out. This is boxing -- you can't really say what is going to happen because anything can happen in that square ring."
Jacobs, 30, of Brooklyn, has 12 knockout victories in a row since the loss to Pirog, though his competition level pales compared to Golovkin's.
"Most people would say he has a lot more power but just because he has A-plus or A-minus power and I have B-plus or B-minus power doesn't mean both guys can't go down or both guys can't get hurt," Jacobs said. "This is boxing and it's all about putting your punches together perfectly. I have a different type of power. I have athletic power that people can't see, that sharpness, the big bang that hits you. It's a different type of power.
"If you ask whose is better -- I like mine better obviously. It's just a matter of going in there and putting it together because you can have all the power but can't do anything with it."
Said Keith Connolly, Jacobs' longtime manager, "He has just as much power as Gennady. This is Danny's coming-out party. Danny's ready and we hope Gennady is ready."
Rozier said he believes Jacobs' power has been overshadowed by the universal reverence for GGG's.
"In [Jacobs'] fight against Kid Chocolate [Peter Quillin], he showed athleticism and incredible aggression, a little more than I wanted," Rozier said of Jacobs' 85-second KO win in the biggest fight of his career, in 2015. "He was a monster, and that's what Danny can do. Danny can go from being up on his toes, flash and jab and quick combinations or he may come at you like a wild beast -- bang and dig and scruff you out. He has many, many options.
"Gennady can punch but Danny can punch too. Gennady is rough and Danny can be rough too. Danny's hands are a lot faster than his opponent. You are going to see some of the differences play out in this fight."
While their power is well-known, what about their ability to absorb a shot? Golovkin, 34, of Kazakhstan, had more than 300 amateur fights, including winning an Olympic silver medal in 2004, and has never been knocked down or so much as visibly shaken in a fight.
In fact, Golovkin often has talked about how he will allow opponents to tag him just to see how good their power is and to give the fans a thrill, as fights with Willie Monroe and Brook will attest.
"I've never faced him, but anybody can be hurt and I'm confident in my power that I can hurt him," Jacobs said.
Jacobs has been knocked down twice as a professional, once in the loss to Pirog, though he was attempting to get up early in the count when the referee waved it off and forcefully kept him from rising, and in the first round against Sergio Mora, known as anything but a puncher, in 2015.
The fact that Golovkin has the reputation for having an iron chin and Jacobs does not is what could prove the difference.
"I can see how people would say that," Jacobs said. "I can see how people would say that given that fact that he's never been down or never been hurt from what we've seen. It would be easy to say, 'if anyone would go Jacobs would go.' I could see how people would say that. But like I say, this is a sport where you have to continuously prove yourself. So no matter what the past says, no matter what people say, it's really up to me to go in there and do the job."
Said Sanchez: "His chin or weakness is not what we are concerned with. We are concerned with his punching power and his ability to move and his ability to box."
OK, so what if Jacobs lands his best shot and Golovkin got dropped? Sanchez and Golovkin both say it's nothing they've ever discussed.
"I don't believe in discussing negative things in training camp, and I believe that as a human you are going to do what your natural instincts tell you to do," Sanchez said. "If you are really hurt, you are going to stay down then get up. If you [get dropped], hopefully he would look at us and in the spur of the moment we will decide what we want to say to him and motion to him. I don't discuss anything negative with my fighters at all, ever. Until it happens we don't discuss it."
So has getting dropped ever crossed Golovkin's mind?
"No, I have no idea. Really," he said.
That said, Golovkin expressed his respect for Jacobs' power because of what he's seen of it.
"Daniel has great power. 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."
Whoever wins, a knockout would seem probable.
"It's going to be an entertaining fight," Jacobs said, "for however long it lasts."