Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki – analysis & prediction
By Allan Fox: Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) returns to the ring this Saturday night on HBO Boxing against the unbeaten Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) on April 28 in an important career fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Sulecki has a past 10th round knockout win over Hugo Centeno Jr. in June 2016.
Sulecki has enough punching power and boxing skills to give Jacobs a great deal of problems in this fight. Sulecki’s recent wins have come against Jack Culcay, Michi Munoz, Hugo Centeno Jr., Grzegorz Proksa, Derrick Findley, Damian Ezequiel Rodriguez Berrio, and Darryl Cunningham.
Jacobs has the power advantage over Sulecki, but he’s weak in the chin department and no longer the aggressive fighter he once was. Jacobs fights a lot like Saul Canelo Alvarez in only fighting in brief spurts, and retreating all over the ring when he faces a fighter that goes after him aggressively.
Sulecki isn’t as powerful as Jacobs, but he could put him on the run and beat him if he goes after him early in the contest and makes him afraid like he was in the first 7 rounds of his loss to Gennady Golovkin last year.
There is absolutely zero buzz about the Jacobs vs. Sulecki fight this Saturday night in the boxing world. Indeed, the fans are talking more about the $50 million offer from WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to IBF/WBA champion Anthony Joshua and about the May 5th Gennady Golovkin vs. Vanes Martirosyan fight than they are about Jacobs’ match against Sulecki this Saturday.
The reason for that is the casual boxing fans aren’t familiar with the Polish fighter Sulecki, and the fact that Jacobs isn’t a big name. He’s known for his loss to Golovkin and his recent boring fight against Luis Arias. Jacobs is an under performer, who talks better than he fights unfortunately. Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn likes to say repeatedly that he’s the best fighter in the 160 lb. weight class, but unfortunately those comments have zero to help him gain a following.
What Hearn is learning is that it’s enough for him to claim that his fighter Jacobs is the best fighter in the middleweight division. Boxing fans ignore promoters, especially when they’re making outlandish claims about their fighters. The fans only focus on what the fighters look like inside the ring and who they beat. Jacobs has not looked good in his last two fights against Arias and GGG. Jacobs looked timid in both of those fights, and that’s one of the reasons why there is scant interest from the boxing fans in his fight with Sulecki this Saturday night. Unless Jacobs improves his timid fighting style, he’s never going to gain a following in the sport.
It’s important for Jacobs, 31, to keep winning because he and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing believe the best way to get the likes of IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin or Saul Canelo Alvarez. Jacobs already fought Golovkin, but he lost the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision last year in March. Jacobs and Hearn believe that he deserved a win over Jacobs, but the boxing public felt Golovkin won. When Canelo pulled out of his scheduled fight against Golovkin on May 5, Jacobs briefly considered volunteering to step in and take the fight with GGG, but he then thought better of it and decided to stick with his scheduled match against the 28-year-old Sulecki instead. It would have been difficult for Jacobs to face Golovkin on 3 weeks’ notice, because he’d already been beaten by him before and this would have made him even more vulnerable against the Kazakhstan fighter.
”I know I’ll be the mandatory for the WBA if I win this fight and that’s what I’m focused on,” Jacobs said to ESPN.com about him being in the position to become the World Boxing Association mandatory challenger to Golovkin if he beats Sulecki on Saturday.
What’s unclear is why the WBA are allowing Jacobs to fight #5 WBA Sulecki instead of the higher rated #3 WBA Demetrius Andrade or #4 WBA Rob Brant in their WBA title eliminator. Jacobs-Sulecki will be televised on HBO this Saturday night on April 28 at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. The co-feature bout is heavyweight contender Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) fighting former heavyweight world title challenger Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) in a 12 round fight.
Sulecki wasn’t ranked in the top 15 by the WBA until after Jacobs signed to fight him. Before that, Sulecki was only rated at junior middleweight, which is the division he fights in. It would have made more sense for the WBA to reject Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn’s idea of having him fight Sulecki from the 154 lb. weight class in the WBA 160 lb. title eliminator. The easy the WBA has it setup, they’re making it easy for Jacobs to become the mandatory challenger by letting him fight a contender from the 154 pound weight class.
Jacobs has fought just once since his loss to Golovkin in beating the lower ranked contender Luis Arias by a 12 round unanimous decision last November on HBO. The fight was nothing special. Arias boxed and moved the entire fight, and Jacobs did nothing to try and force the fight. Afterwards, Jacobs blamed Arias for the fight being a dull one, but he did nothing to try and push the pace of the contest to make it a more exciting fight. Jacobs fought Arias the exact same way he did in his loss to Golovkin.
Jacobs treated Arias like a knockout threat instead of a pure boxer. HBO perhaps thought that they had signed an exciting fighter that Jacobs was earlier in his career when they inked him to a multi-fight deal recently, but the reality is Jacobs is mostly a boxer now that he’s in his 30s. Jacobs seems to be jaded since his 5th round knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog in July 2010. Jacobs has been a lot more careful in his fights ever since then. The only time Jacobs has deviated from his safety-first style of fighting was in his first fight against the light-hitting former WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Mora in August 2015.
If Jacobs beats Sulecki, he’s still likely going to need to wait until at least 2020 before he’s even considered for a title shot against Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez. I don’t think Canelo will bother fighting Jacobs, because he’s not a star and he probably never will be.
Jacobs recently left his adviser Al Haymon and inked with Matchoom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, because he believes the well-known British promoter can get him a rematch with Golovkin. Jacobs’ loss to Golovkin last year was a close 12 round decision defeat, but mostly because GGG chose to box instead of pressure and slug. When Golovkin briefly started slugging with Jacobs in the 4th round, he quickly put him on the canvas. Instead of continuing to slug, Golovkin backed off and spent the remainder of the fight on the outside jabbing. It was not a smart fight for Golovkin, who looked as good as ever physically, but it was his mental decision-making that was lacking in a major way. Either Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez is coming up with some crazy game plans or GGG is not following the instructions from his coach by failing to be as aggressive enough to wipe guys like he was doing before earlier in his career.
”This is a real fight against Sulecki,” Hearn said to ESPN.com in talking about his fighter Jacobs. ”We’re looking at Canelo and we’re looking at Golovkin, but we’re not overlooking the fight on [Saturday]. I’m really comfortable that after a great performance by Danny Jacobs on [Saturday], then you talk about the superstars of the division,” Hearn said.
Hearn can talk about the superstars of the division after Saturday, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to get any of them to agree to fight Jacobs. There’s no money in fighting Jacobs. Golovkin found out the hard way in making the mistake of fighting Jacobs on HBO PPV. The fight brought in very low PPV numbers, and it was clear that his management had miscalculated the interest the casual boxing fans would have in that fight. The only decent fight for Jacobs on the horizon if he gets past Sulecki is a match against former IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. That’s a fight that could help Jacobs’ popularity if he beats Jermall and looks good doing so. It could also hurt Jacob’ popularity if he gets knocked out by Jermall or if he runs from him for 12 rounds. It’s not going to help Jacobs if he keeps fighting little known guys like Sulecki and Arias. Jacobs needs to take some risks with his career by fighting the likes of Jermall Charlo and/or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. If Jacobs can beat one or both of those fighters, then he’ll have done something to help him improve his chances of getting Canelo and Golovkin to agree to a fight.
I’m picking Sulecki to win by an 8th round knockout in a big upset. Sulecki is the younger fighter, the much aggressive guy, and he’s got the confidence that we saw in Dmitry Pirog. Jacobs falls apart against aggressive guys with confidence.