Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki – Results
By Allan Fox: Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) had to battle harder than expected to defeat previously unbeaten junior middleweight Maciej Sulecki (26-1, 10 KOs) in a WBA middleweight title eliminator match on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The scores were ridiculously bad by the 3 judges that worked the fight, as Jacobs appeared to just barely win the fight by pulling out the victory by scoring a knockdown in round 12. The judges scored it 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112, all for Jacobs. The 117-110 score was especially bad. Boxing News 24 gave it to Jacobs by 7 rounds to 5 score.
The performance by Jacobs tonight suggests that he’s NOT the best middleweight in the division, as he and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been repeatedly saying for months. When you’re the best fighter in the 160 lb. division, you need to be able to easily defeat fighters that have been hand-picked from the 154lb weight class like Sulecki. Jacobs wasn’t fighting one of the talented contenders tonight at middleweight like Sergiy Derevyanchenko or Jermall Charlo. Had Jacobs been in with either of those fighters, he would have lost. Jacobs is a good fighter, but he’s more like a No.5 or No.6 middleweight, behind Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Derevyanchenko and Billy Joe Saunders.
The win for Jacobs tonight makes him the WBA mandatory challenger to WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Jacobs already lost to GGG last year, so hopefully that fight doesn’t have too soon. It’ll look bad if Jacobs keeps getting shots at Golovkin while other contenders are frozen out. Jacobs says he wants to fight Jermall Charlo. Now is a good time for him to prove that by facing him. Frankly, I’d be very surprised if Jacobs gets anywhere near Jermall. Now that Jacobs has a guaranteed title shot against Golovkin as his WBA mandatory, I suspect that his promoter Eddie Hearn will spoon feed him the most beatable recognizable fighters available until he gets his title shot against GGG. Jacobs can’t fight just a stiff though, as he’s under contract with HBO still. They’re going to expect Jacobs to at least fight contenders while he waits for GGG to fight him again. Hopefully, Hearn doesn’t keep picking out 154 lb. fighters for Jacobs to fight like he did tonight in selecting junior middleweight contender Sulecki. Jacobs needs to at least be fighting guys from the middleweight division. As big as Jacobs is, he shouldn’t have to fight guys from the 154 lb. weight class, especially with him saying he’s the best fighter in the 160 lb. division. If Jacobs is the best, then he should be able to fight the best contenders at 160.
Jacobs was fighting in his hometown of New York, so it’s not surprising that the judges turned in such crazy scores. Sulecki would have had to do something special for him to win the fight, and he didn’t have the punching power to do the job, although he was clearly the better fighter of the two in terms of boxing ability tonight. Jacobs was just the stronger guy given that he’s guy that has fought most of his career above 160.
This was not the same Jacobs that we saw in his 12 round decision loss to Gennady Golovkin. Either Jacobs has aged and deteriorated, or he was fighting a guy that was better than he expected. Either way, Jacobs did not shine tonight. When Jacobs isn’t fighting defensively like he did against Golovkin, he looks bad because he gets hit a lot.
Against Golovkin, Jacobs’ offense was poor. The only thing he did in that fight was run around and land some occasional shots. Golovkin won based on Jacobs not letting his hands go. In tonight’s fight, Jacobs was getting outworked and hit a lot by Sulecki, because he was trying to be offensive. Jacobs is not a very good offensive fighter. He’s just a guy with power. He’s not sound offensively. It’s not surprising that Sulecki exposed Jacobs, but he’d already been exposed before by Pirog and Golovkin.
Sulecki did a good job of following the Dmitry Pirog blueprint in how to beat Jacobs by pressuring him and hitting him with hard shots. Jacobs looked like he was sick with worry most of the fight. He did not look comfortable at any time in the fight until the last two rounds. The scoring was embarrassingly bad by the judges. The scores the judges handed in made Jacobs look bad.
Jacobs fought like he was injured from the 5th round on. He wasn’t using his right hand and throwing shots the way he needed to, which made it difficult to give him rounds until the 11th. You can argue that Sulecki deserved to win rounds 5 through 10. That’s 6 rounds that easily could have gone to Sulecki, but of course not with the trio of judges that worked the fight. They gave Sulecki zero credit and instead scored it wide for the home fighters Jacobs. That’s par for the course in boxing. The home fighter tends to win decisions and often by wide scores.
The 28-year-old Sulecki looked like the better fighter of the two during the first 8 rounds. What gave Jacobs the edge in the fight was his superior power. Jacobs was able to take over.
Size-wise, Jacobs is more of a super middleweight, but he’s able to still melt down to 160 so fair is fair.
You can understand why Jacobs wouldn’t want to fight at his natural weight of 168 though, as he would come apart at the seams getting hit by the heavy-handed super middleweights like George Groves and David Benavidez. Those guys can hit, and Jacobs has shown a weakness with his punch resistance in the past.
Sulecki was picked out by Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn from the 154lb. weigh class. The fight wasn’t supposed to be this close, but Jacobs showed that he’s not as good as many boxing fans thought he was. Jacobs is lucky that he wasn’t fighting Jermall Charlo tonight, as he would have likely been knocked out quickly.