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Daniel Jacobs vs. Dmitry Pirog on July 31st

Daniel Jacobs Dmitry PirogBy Jim Dower: Unbeaten middleweight Daniel Jacobs (20-0, 17 KO’s) will be facing undefeated Russian contender Dmitry Pirog (16-0, 13 KO’s) for the vacant WBO middleweight title on July 31st, on the undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Jacobs, 23, will be fighting the 29-year-old Pirog for the World Boxing Association middleweight title that was recently stripped from Sergio Martinez, who couldn’t make up his mind in time to advise the WBO whether he intended on keeping the WBO title or instead only defending his WBC junior middleweight title.

After waiting for Martinez to make a decision, the WBO made the decision for him by stripping him of the title. The Pirog-Jacobs fight is somewhat interesting in that both of them are undefeated. However, Pirog has very little power and is someone that likes to move a lot and throw lots of jabs. He’s somewhat similar to the light-hitting Yuri Foreman. Pirog hasn’t faced anyone to speak of during his five year pro career, with his best wins coming against Kofi Jantuah and Eric Mitchell. Pirog is winning his fights but it’s hard to get excited about him because he’s not showing any power whatsoever in any of his fights and his opposition is less than top level in most cases.

Jacobs, for his part, has looked good for the most part since turning pro in 2007. He’s still mostly fighting B level fighters but he took a big step up in class last year in his 10 round decision win over Ishe Smith in August 2009. Jacobs went into that fight with some people considering him as a knockout artist. However, Smith turned out to be the harder puncher of the two and ended up staggering Jacobs at point in the fight.

Jacobs fell back on his boxing skills to get him through the fight, jabbing and moving quite well. Jacobs does have nice boxing skills and has decent power when he loads up on his shots. With Kelly Pavlik out of the decision, Jacobs has a good chance of not only winning the WBO title but maybe holding onto it for a little while. The big question for Jacobs is whether he could beat a guy like Gennady Golovkin, a hard-hitting former Olympian from Russian, who is currently unbeaten and ranked number #3 by the WBO.

Golovkin has explosive power and if he connects with something big against Jacobs, it could be lights out for Jacobs. I rate Golovkin as a much better fighter than the light hitting Pirog and a real threat for Jacobs at some point down the line. Jacobs maybe able to avoid Golovkin for a little while, and thus get a title defense or two under his belt before he’s forced to make that fight.

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