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Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko this Saturday on HBO

Daniel Jacobs

By Dan Ambrose: Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) will be looking to capture the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight title this Saturday night on October 27 on HBO against unbeaten Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) on HBO at Madison Square Garden in New York.

This is Jacobs’ moment in the spotlight, and he can’t blow it if he wants to get the huge paydays against the stars in the middleweight division. Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA is already talking about him being the front-runner for Saul Canelo Alvarez’s fight in May 2019. What’s clear is Hearn is completely overlooking the threat that Derevyanchenko brings to this fight on Saturday by looking past him towards a fight between Jacobs and Canelo in early 2019. Hearn believes that Jacobs deserved a decision win over Golovkin last year, and he feels that he’s the best middleweight in the division by none.

Derevyanchenko’s heavy hands, aggression and ring smarts is going to make it difficult for Jacobs to win this fight. Derevyanchenko has had time to study Jacobs’ past loss to Dmitry Pirog, and he’ll have noted how he melted from the pressure that was put on him. Jacobs fell apart after only five rounds of pressure by the confident Pirog on the night. Derevyanchenko fights in the same aggressive way that Pirog does, which could prove to be a real nightmare for Jacobs.

The IBF’s 10-lb rehydration limit for the secondary weigh-in on the morning of the fight could spell doom for Jacobs, who likes to rehydrate a great deal overnight for his fights. The rehydration rule could spell doom for Jacobs in this fight, as it means that he’s going to need to wait until after the secondary weigh-in this Saturday, October 27 before he can rehydrate.

The only way around that would be for Jacobs to skip the weigh-in like he did in his fight last year against Gennady Golovkin in March 2017. Jacobs chose not to fight for Golovkin’s IBF title in order to rehydrate as much as possible overnight without having to keep his weight down to 170 lbs. Unfortunately for Jacobs, he still lost the fight, but his extra weight that he was able to put on appeared to help him against the smaller-looking Golovkin. Some boxing fans estimate that Jacobs rehydrated into the 180s for the GGG fight. It’s going to be a lot tougher for Jacobs to do that this Saturday, because he’ll need to wait until the morning of the fight to start rehydrating fully after he weighs-in for the secondary weigh-in. It wasn’t important for Jacobs to fight for Golovkin’s IBF title last year because he had his WBA and WBC middleweight titles on the line as well. This Saturday’s fight against Derevyanchenko is a lot different for Jacobs. He absolutely must win the IBF title if he wants to use the title to lure the likes of Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez to fight him. Just being a contender isn’t good enough. Jacobs needs the IBF middleweight title to validate him, and help him get leverage in the negotiations for a second fight with Golovkin or a match against the highly popular Canelo Alvarez. Jacobs isn’t going to get an equal footing in negotiations with Canelo obviously, but having the IBF title will definitely help him get a better deal.

With all things being equal in terms of the judging for the fight, this is a real toss-up. HBO Boxing will be giving the fans a real treat with the Jacobs vs. Derevyanchenko match-up, as this is a contest that is a 50-50 match-up. Jacobs has looked bad in his last three fights against Maciej Sulecki, Luis Arias and Gennady Golovkin. While some boxing fans think Jacobs looked good against GGG, many fans disagree. Jacobs fought like he was afraid of Golovkin in the first six rounds despite having a huge size, speed and the hometown advantage with the bout taking place in New York. Golovkin chased Jacobs around for the first six rounds, and then held on to get the decision in the second half of the fight.

The performances by the 31-year-old Jacobs in his last two fights against Sulecki and Arias indicates that he’s starting to slip due to age and the wear and tear from his fight against Golovkin. Jacobs looked vulnerable against Sulecki and Arias, showing weakness with his defense, mental toughness and his chin. One got the sense that Jacobs would have folded in both of those fights if they had better punching power. It’s a credit to Jacobs’ management for picking out weak punchers in Sulecki and Arias for him to fight, as if he had fought someone with power, he likely would be coming into this Saturday’s fight with the 32-year-old Derevyanchenko with an 0-3 record in his last two fights instead of a 2-1 record. Jacobs’ punch resistance hasn’t improved since he was knocked out in the 5th round by Dmitry Pirog in 2010. There’s absolutely no improvement in Jacobs’ ability to take a hard shot. The only thing that’s changed is Jacobs has put on more size, and he’s become good at dehydrating to melt down to the 160 lb weigh-in limit, and then putting a lot of weight back on overnight.

Jacobs, 31, is the favorite in the fight based on his experience against high quality opposition, as well as his size, speed, power and hometown advantage. The fight is taking place in New York, so if it’s anywhere close, Jacobs figures to get the nod. As we saw in Jacobs’ last fight against Maciej Sulecki, he’s hard to beat when he’s fighting in New York. In the eyes of most boxing fans, the 12th round knockdown by Jacobs was the deciding factor in him winning the fight. However, two of the judges had Jacobs winning by a slam dunk by the scores 116-111 and 117-110. The third judge seemed to be the only one with his eyes open, scoring it 115-112 for Jacobs. Based on how the first two judges scored the fight, it wouldn’t have mattered what Sulecki did in the 12th, he had already lost the fight by a wide margin in their eyes. We saw the same odd scoring in Jacobs’ fight against former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin last year in March at Madison Square Garden, New York. The judges gave Jacobs 5 of the last 6 rounds of the fight, and they seemed to give little credit for Golovkin, who appeared to win 4 out of the last 6 rounds. What his tells us is Jacobs is about as hard to beat when fighting at home in New York as Saul Canelo Alvarez is when he’s in Las Vegas competing. So, if Derevyanchenko wants to win this fight, he’s probably going to need to take it out of the judges’ hands by knocking out Jacobs if he doesn’t want to wind up on the losing end of a controversial decision.

This is one of HBO’s last fights before they stop broadcasting boxing at the end of the year. It’s not the final fight card, but it’s one of the last ones.

Jacobs still thinks he beat Golovkin last year. Jacobs has obviously had a difficult time coming to terms with his loss to Triple G. It’s not a good look on his part that he can’t admit that he was beaten and learn from the loss. What Jacobs needs to learn from his loss to Golovkin is that he can’t win against the elite by running around the ring without engaging. It’s extremely important for Jacobs to make sure that he shows the judges on Saturday that he’s winning to fight Derevyanchenko in center ring. It’ll look bad if the much bigger 6’1″ Jacobs is seen by the boxing fans and judges trying to get away from the 5’9″ Derevyanchenko for 12 rounds.

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