Danny Jacobs Just Cracked the Middleweight Division Wide Open

Daniel Jacobs vs. Peter Quillin - Marilyn Paulino RBRBoxing (14)
Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing

Saturday night on Showtime, Danny Jacobs beat the hell out of Peter Quillin, who was out of the fight before he was ever in it. Quillin was just settling in, firing off a few jabs and figuring out his distance, when a one-two from Jacobs ended with a hard right hand erupting all over Quillin’s face.

It was queer street time. Quillin stumbled, fumbled and bobbed around the ring like a one-year-old trying to figure out just what the hell his legs are for. Of course, the logical thing would have been to drop down and take a knee, but who knows what frame of mind he was in? It would have been humiliating yes, but absolutely necessary if one wants to survive a vicious onslaught like the one Jacobs was perpetrating.

And let’s say this about Jacobs–he doesn’t waste much time, does he? Once he saw his man hurt, he fired off like Leo Santa Cruz on methamphetamines. Many of us figured that the fight would end by knockout. We just got the wrong guy. But this is why we watch the fights–weird stuff happens.

Jacobs came into the fight having defeated Sergio Mora after Mora’s leg snapped like a tree branch during their fight in August. It wasn’t a particularly good performance, but it was fun to watch. Still, if you find yourself on the canvas during a fight with Mora, whose knockout percentage hovers near Paul Malignaggi levels, something has gone very wrong.

That, or your chin may not be the sturdiest. And Jacobs’ chin has been dented before. Despite a fantastic, heartwarming, super-mushy PBC-friendly backstory, there were many questions surrounding Jacobs. The simplest one was this–how good is he?

As for Quillin, he came into the fight undefeated, having scored a draw against Andy Lee in his last outing. To be fair, Quillin probably did enough, especially early on, to win that fight. But he came in with the reputation as the harder puncher, the better fighter, someone more equipped to rule the Middleweight division than a guy like Jacobs. But just like that, things were over.

Referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight, and though some argued that the stoppage was premature, one look at Quillin’s bat-shit-crazy eyes told a different story–he was gone. I’ve always said that if the fighter doesn’t complain about the stoppage, nobody else should, and “Kid Chocolate” wasn’t exactly issuing a formal complaint. He appeared to be trying to figure out where the hell that train came from that ran him down.

And now, the Middleweight division is wide open.

At the very top of the heap, by way of his unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto, is Canelo Alvarez. For all the Gennady Golovkin fans out there–this does not mean that Canelo is the best Middleweight in the world. It simply means that he’s the lineal 160 pound-champ. He beat the man, who beat the man, etc.

And until he vacates or fights again, Gennady Golovkin is right behind him. Jacobs has just made a strong case to be right behind those gentlemen, with Andy Lee and Billie Joe Saunders (who fight in a couple of weeks on Showtime) right there as well. So as 2015 comes to a close, the top Middleweights are fighting each other, weeding out the top dogs. This is a good thing.

We’d of course love to see Canelo vs. Golovkin. It would pit the champ against the menace that has been terrorizing foes for years. Will it happen? I still have my doubts that Canelo will offer even the smallest of concessions to Golovkin. If this thing comes off, it will be on Canelo’s terms. In the meantime, we can look forward to the winner of Lee vs. Saunders hopefully fighting Danny Jacobs. There has been some talk of a Jacobs-Quillin rematch, but I’m not sure what the point is.

It brings up an interesting question though–if the referee from Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 1 had stopped the fight in the first round, and he would have been well within his rights to do so, how much would have changed? It’s highly doubtful that these two would have engaged in three subsequent and spectacular fights. Maybe if Quillin escapes that first round, we see a wild comeback.

The result was so damn surprising that human chew toy Jim Gray himself asked about a rematch immediately. Jacobs scored a KO 1. Do we really need to do it again? These guys are covered by the all-encompassing Al Haymon umbrella, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising.

For Quillin, if there is no rematch, he will most likely be placed with a softer touch than Snuggle Bear for his next battle. The dude has to be reeling, so sticking him in there with a guy like David Lemieux would not be wise. His best bet is to get back into the ring as soon as he can, and get back into the win column.

Bernard Hopkins dominated the 160 pound division for so long, we began to forget just how explosive this weight class can be. We’re seeing the effects of the free-for-all now. Big fights. Knockout wins. The stars are aligning and all that.

Cotto was the first star to drop, and to be frank, the division needed him gone. Canelo brings the money, but guys like Golovkin, Jacobs, Lemieux and Lee bring the pop. Let’s see if we can get lucky enough to score a few more big matchups.

Let the fight game sort ’em out.

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