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Jacobs: I’m going to knockout Arias

Daniel Jacobs

By Juan Flores: Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) will be taking his first step back to becoming a world champion again tonight in his scheduled 12-round bout against Luis Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) on HBO Boxing. This is a new beginning for the 30-year-old Jacobs. He’s getting a fresh start with HBO, and he has a new promoter in Eddie Hearn.

(Photo credit Marilyn Paulino, Matchroom, Salita Promotions)

Tonight, will be Jacobs’ first of a multi-fight deal with HBO Boxing against the 27-year-old Arias at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Jacobs comes from New York, so he’ll have a good crowd that will turn out to watch him take on the little-known Arias. It helps that Jacobs hand-picked Arias as his opponent.

Jacobs didn’t pick Jermall Charlo, a fighter that the boxing world wants to see him fight. Jacobs picked out Arias instead, and he’s counting on him being someone he can beat. Even if Jacobs had selected Charlo, his promoter Hearn likely would have nixed that idea, considering he’s already said that he doesn’t want to make that fight. Hearn is a shrewd promoter. He clearly knows Jacobs’ limitations. He’s not push Jacobs past his ceiling unless it’s in a fight where he’ll make a boatload of money like in fights against Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

Jacobs is counting on his win over Luis Arias opening the door for him to get the bigger fights that he wants against Canelo, Golovkin and David Lemieux. Those are the 3 names that Jacobs and Hearn want at middleweight. You can throw in Billy Joe Saunders’ name to that mix if he beats Lemieux in their fight next month on December 16. The problem that Jacobs has is he selected such an unknown fighter in Arias, it’s hardly going to do much for his popularity if he wins tonight.

To gain popularity, Jacobs needs to take risky fights against the likes of the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade and Erislandy Lara. I mentioned Lara and included Jermell Charlo, as there aren’t enough well-respected contenders in the middleweight division for Jacobs to get much attention from in beating them. The casual boxing fans won’t likely take notice if Jacobs destroys Arias tonight, as they’ve never heard of him. Jacobs needs to take some real risks by fighting both Charlo brothers, Lara and Sergey Derevyanchenko if he wants doors to be opened for him to get the bigger fights. Playing it safe won’t do anything for Jacobs, because he’s mostly been doing that for the last 7 years. Jacobs has only had 2 tough fights in 7 years, and those were against Golovkin and Peter Quillin.

This is Hearn’s first promotion in the U.S, as he’s been in the UK, dominating boxing with huge promotional cards on Sky Sports. Hearn has an exclusive deal with Sky, which has helped him lure a lot of the top fighters in the UK to join his Matchroom Sport stable. Hearn is the 900-pound gorilla of promoting in the UK, thanks to his contract with Sky. Not content with just being the biggest promoter in the UK, Hearn is now looking to become the No.1 promoter in the U.S. Signing Danny Jacobs and heavyweight Jarrell Miller is Hearn’s first step towards him trying to achieve his goal of becoming the top promoter in the States. Hearn thinks he’ll turn Jacobs into a household name in the U.S. Hearn doesn’t quite realize how difficult that will be, given that boxing is not even close to be the number 1 sport in the country.

Jacobs achieved a degree of popularity in his last fight by going the distance and coming close to beating IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin on March 18. Jacobs lost the battle, but won the war, as the fight was close enough for him to claim that he should have won. There are a percentage of the boxing world that agrees with Jacobs. Obviously, HBO and Hearn were impressed enough with what they saw in Jacobs to sign him, hoping that he can achieve future success with them. What we don’t know is whether Golovkin intentionally took it easy on Jacobs to make sure he could lure Saul Canelo Alvarez and his promoters at Golden Boy to agree to fight him. Canelo seemingly wanted no part of fighting Golovkin until his back to back less than stellar performances against Kell Brook and Jacobs. If Golovkin did take it easy on Jacobs, then HBO and Hearn are going to wind up disappointed very soon when the “Miracle Man” fails to produce for them.

Jacobs believes he’s on the cusp of becoming a superstar in boxing, with the help of HBO and Hearn. However, at Jacobs’ age, the guys that have earned stardom in the past, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Muhammad Ali and Saul Canelo Alvarez, they’ve already achieved superstar status. There are very few fighters that become stars after they hit their 30s. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin has achieved a degree of superstar status after he hit his 30s, but he’s not a superstar. To be in that category, you need to be able to fight on pay-per-view and bring in a lot of buys. Golovkin hasn’t done this, other than in his fight with Canelo last September.

“HBO is backing me as well, so I think it’s a dream come true to have the best manager (Keith Connolly), promoter and network, to have the best team with the potential to make me a superstar,” said Jacobs to ESPN.com.

Jacobs will need to beat Arias tonight, and then look to clean out the middleweight division by beating Golovkin, Canelo, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, David Lemieux, Billy Joe Saunders, Ryota Murata and Sergiy Derevyancehnko. That’s going to be extremely difficult for Jacobs to beat all those guys with the way he fights. Jacobs is no longer the slugger that he once was when he first turned pro a decade ago. Jacobs is now a boxer/puncher, who uses a lot of movement. That means that we’re likely going to be seeing Jacobs involved in a lot of fights that go the distance like his last one against Golovkin on March 18. Jacobs’ fighting style might not please the judges if he uses too much movement. He could very well lose to many of the guys in the above-mentioned list unless he’s capable of standing his ground and fighting.

”This is what you do when you fight a so-called bum with no experience — you knock him out,” said Jacobs in referring to Arias as a bum.

Jacobs feels that he’s going to be steered around by Canelo and Golovkin, because he’s too much of a threat to both and they don’t see the benefit of fighting him. Jacobs hasn’t become popular unfortunately despite putting together an impressive 32-2 record during his 10-year boxing career. The reason why popularity has eluded Jacobs is mostly due to the type of opposition that he’s been facing his entire career. When you remove the fluff opposition from Jacobs’ resume, you’re left with 2 fighters: Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin. Jacobs’ record in those 2 fights is 1-1. You’re not going to become a star when you only have 2 big names on your resume with the rest of your opponents being mediocre fighters. For Jacobs to become a star, he needs to change the way he’s matched. He had a chance for his November 11th fight, but he chose Arias rather than a dangerous fighter like Jermall Charlo. You can argue that old habits are hard to break. Charlo says Jacobs is a “Roadrunner” with the way he runs from him. Jacobs isn’t going to become a star if he’s going to avoid the best contenders, and only fight record-padding opposition like Luis Arias.

”I’m in a lose-lose situation with those guys because I am not technically a champion,” Jacobs said. “I am one of the best in the division and the fans do want me to fight those guys. But they know it’s not worth it to step in there with a guy like me. To fight me right now? I don’t see that happening,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs fails to realize that he’s his biggest problem. He’s not fighting the right guys in to force the top fighters to want to face him. Let’ look at Jacobs’ recent opponent. When you remove Golovkin and Quillin from the list of recent opponents that Jacobs has fought, you’re left with these guys in the last 7 years of his career:

• Sergio Mora – twice

• Caleb Truax

• Jarrod Fletcher

• Keenan Collins

• Chris Fitzpatrick

• Milton Nunez

• Josh Luteran

• Robert Kliewer

• Jesse Orta

It’s clear that Jacobs hasn’t been fighting the right guys for him to put any kind of pressure on the likes of Canelo and Golovkin. Jacobs stunted his own boxing career by fighting the above guys for a solid 7 years. Why did Jacobs let his management put him in with those guys? It’s unclear. Jacobs should have nudged his management to match against good fighters, because he was never going to become a star fighting those guys.

“These guys are looking at it from a business perspective, so I need to go in there and not get frustrated, let my team do their job and I continue to do mine,” said Jacobs in continuing to vent about him not getting a rematch with Golovkin and a fight with Canelo Alvarez.

Jacobs can do his job to get the bigger fights if he stars taking on bigger names each time he fights. Hearn wants to match him against the winner of the Lemieux vs. Saunders fight. That’s not going to happen. Lemieux and Saunders have a chance of fighting Canelo or Golovkin. They’re NOT going to fight Jacobs. Even if Hearn offered them absurd money, they’re not going to take a fight with Jacobs for a couple of reason. First off, Jacobs isn’t going to bring them the kind of attention they’d receive fighting Canelo or Golovkin. Secondly, Jacobs is a huge middleweight, who rehydrates to the point where he looks like a light heavyweight. He’s a huge fighter. Lemieux and Saunders aren’t going to want to deal with someone that walks into the ring looking like he belongs in the 175-pound weight class like Jacobs. There’s no reason for them to want to fight Jacobs.

Hearn needs to be realistic in the type of opponent he can get for Jacobs in early 2018. Hearn should shoot for one of the Charlo brothers, Andrade or Derevyanchenko for Jacobs’ next opponent. Tureano Johnson would also be a good option if he’s recovered from his grueling fight with Derevyanchenko. Tureano Johnson would be a nightmare for Jacobs. He would force Jacobs to brawl with him. It wouldn’t be a forgone conclusion that Jacobs would beat Johnson like he’s expected to do tonight against the little-known Arias. If anything, Hearn is utterly predictable. When it comes time to select Jacobs’ next opponent for April next year, he’ll select someone like Martin Murray. In fact, Murray’s name has already been mentioned as a potential opponent for Jacobs’ next fight. You can argue that Murray would be a step down from Arias. It would play out well in the UK if Jacobs fights Murray next, but it won’t do anything in the U.S, as the British fighter is only known by the hardcore boxing fans in the states. The casual fans have never heard of Martin Murray. The fact that Murray’s name is already being mentioned as Jacobs’ next opponent for April 2018, suggests that he’s going to be the one that he’ll wind up facing in the first quarter of 2018. Golovkin did defend against Murray 2 years ago in February 2015 in stopping him in the 11th round. Murray has looked poor since then, losing to George Groves and Arthur Abraham, and getting a recent controversial 12 round majority decision win over Gabriel Rosado earlier this year on April 22 in Liverpool, England. Jacobs has got to do a heck of a lot better than Martin Murray if he wants to create momentum to get Canelo and Golovkin to fight him. If Canelo and GGG were from the UK, then fighting Murray would be the thing to do, I suppose. I don’t think it would though; Murray is more of a journeyman at this point in his career than a relevant contender.

If Hearn wants to match Jacobs against a British fighter, the he needs to pick out someone like George Groves. Yeah, Groves fights in the 168-lb. division, but he’s basically the same size as Jacobs. If Hearn wants to increase Jacobs’ popularity in the UK, then matching him against Groves would be the best way of doing it. I don’t think Jacobs would hang with Groves though, especially with the way that he’s throwing more body punches at this stage in his career.


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