Middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs starts Act III of his professional boxing career tonight when he faces the upset-minded Luis Arias in Long Island, New York.
Former Middleweight titlist Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) lost the biggest fight of his boxing career back in March, dropping a well-fought unanimous decision to current pound-for-pound king Gennady Golovkin. Jacobs exited the ring with more than a moral victory to his credit. Several outlets thought he won the fight.
His status as one of the Middleweight division’s elite fighters was affirmed after he quickly recovered from a fourth round knock down along the ropes, and seized momentum throughout several of the middle rounds of the bought.
Getting a second crack at Golovkin became difficult because the Kazakh had the most lucrative fight of his career awaiting him in a showdown with Saul Alvarez.
How can Jacobs now capitalize on his newfound buzz within the sport? A fighter should have options when he disrupts a consecutive stoppage streak at 23 bouts. And, let’s be honest, there are still lingering memories of the immediate shock from his less than 90-seconds destruction of Brooklyn neighbor Peter Quillin from December 2015.
This is a bit of an aside, but watching emerging Welterweights Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and the more vocal Amir Khan attempt to properly position themselves for a big fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, as it became evident his Hall of Fame career was nearing its end, was cringe-worthy. You’d keep your hand raised and say “ooh, please pick me next” too, if it meant earning the career-best $4 million Andre Berto received after he was pegged as the opponent for Mayweather’s farewell fight.
For the aforementioned Welterweights – the division’s new guard with Khan swapped out for Errol Spence Jr – their respective time in the waiting line were fruitless, and they each had to immediately get busy building up their own businesses in the post-Mayweather world, sans the potential impact of a possible victory against an older Mayweather to help propel them into real stardom. And, real lucrative paydays.
So, in Jacobs’ case, it became intriguing to see exactly what he would do after having a chance to perform on one of boxing’s biggest stages – a Madison Square Garden bout on HBO PPV.
Jacobs made a pair of prominent moves to aid with successfully cultivating his business. In late September the Brownsville, New York native became the face of promoter Eddie Hearn’s newly formed Matchroom Boxing USA venture. In addition to ending his free agent status, in terms of promotional allegiances, Jacobs also announced a multi-fight deal with HBO. Headlining tonight’s HBO Championship Boxing card with his bout versus Arias is Jacobs’ first fight under the new joint deal with Matchroom Boxing and HBO.
Arias might not be the marquee name many expected as a symbol of Hearn’s career-handling prowess, but in a recent clip with SB Nation’s Fight Hub TV Jacobs indicated that he plans to be proactive in maximizing his current status, and establishing the Miracle Man as a fixture in the upper echelon of the Middleweight division. The former titleholder confidently addressed a small group of reporters, stating that if he couldn’t secure the coveted rematch with Golovkin he would pursue fights with the division’s other big names such as Golovkin mandatory opponent Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Canadian slugger David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs).
Such potential bouts are refreshing to hear, in contrast to some of the opposition Thurman and Porter faced while patiently waiting in line for a call from Mayweather Promotions. In actuality, Porter went out and added a few key names to his resume, defeating Devon Alexander for the IBF Welterweight title and then agreeing to a defense against Kell Brook in the UK.
That said, hearing Jacobs speak on seeking fights with a notable opponent such as the fast-rising Charlo is extremely encouraging. Even facing Lemieux would certainly deliver an exhilarating matchup.
Jacobs likely makes it past the younger, smaller Arias later tonight, a determined fighter who’s made it fully known he intends to shoot his shot in Uniondale. But many will be listening closely afterwards for specific details about what’s next for Jacobs. After all he’s from Brownsville, and by now you should all know, he never ran and never will.
Now we just have to wait and see what’s Eddie Hearn’s approach in the U.S. market, and how he overcomes hurdles such as competing premium cable networks.
Header photo by Julio Sanchez/RBRBoxing
Body photo by Marilyn Pauline/RBRBoxing