Coming Full Circle: Daniel Jacobs

Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) will face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) this Saturday night live from the T-Mobile Arena. The two fighters will square off for the WBC, WBA, IBF, and Ring Magazine world middleweight titles. It is a highly-anticipated fight that promises high-level action but for Jacobs, this is hardly the biggest fight of his life.

Danny Jacobs, born in Brooklyn, New York, had a standout amateur career compiling a record of 137 wins and 7 losses, winning 4 New York Golden Gloves championships and 2 National Golden Gloves. He was expected to take the pro ranks by storm, and for the early part of his career, he did. Jacobs quickly compiled a record of 20-0 before his facing his biggest test up to that point in the form of Dmitry Pirog (20-0, 15 KOs) in 2010. The fight featured on the Marquez-Diaz 2 HBO card and it was widely expected to be Jacobs’ breakout moment. Pirog, however, had other plans. After 4 competitive rounds, Pirog landed a right hand flush on Jacobs and dropped him. Jacobs failed to make the count and suffered the first loss of his career in devastating fashion.

Jacobs then rebounded with two easy victories, but terrible news came crashing down in 2011. After having increasing leg pain, Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive cancer in the form of a tumor wrapped around his spine. This caused paralysis in Jacobs’ legs. Jacobs was forced to undergo a six hour surgery to remove the tumor, but doctor’s told him to forget about his boxing career.

Jacobs ignored the doctor’s orders, but took several months before stepping back into the ring. He officially made his comeback in late 2012 and began to slowly rack up the wins, many of them by knockout. Jacobs slowly began to return to his prior form. He had a huge opportunity in 2014, when he faced Jarrod Fletcher for the vacant WBA middleweight title, in his hometown of Brooklyn.

Jacobs made the most of his opportunity and knocked Fletcher out in round 5 to become a world champion. It was an incredible story. Just 3 years ago he had been told he would never boxed again, and now he had just become a middleweight champion.

Jacobs continued his impressive run, racking up wins over the likes of Caleb Truax, Sergio Mora, and stopped Peter Quillin in one round to cement himself as one of the elite middleweights in the world. The guy who had been told he’d never box again was now rated as the #3 middleweight in the world by many boxing media outlets. The number one guy at the time was Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), who was on an absolute tear in the middleweight division. He was regarded as one of the very best fighters pound-for-pound and was having a hard time finding people who would fight him. Jacobs himself had been offered the fight in the past but had decided he still needed time to build himself back up. However, now a world champion with victories over top competition, Jacobs felt ready and signed the fight with Golovkin.

The fight took place March 18, 2017 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Daniel Jacobs was thought to be Golovkin’s stiffest test at the time, but was still a big underdog. Many believed the fight would play out like the last time Jacobs fought an Eastern European in Dmitry Pirog. Golovkin’s murderous punching power was thought be too much, and that Jacobs would fold when he’d feel it.

After a competitive start to the fight, those predictions seemed on the verge of coming true when Golovkin floored Jacobs in round 4. Golovkin seemed to be on his way to another knockout but the adversity seemed to wake Jacobs up. After a stern talk by his coach, Jacobs began to use his range, movement, and combinations to out box Golovkin in many of the middle and late rounds. Golovkin answered back like a true champion to win some rounds back, but he hardly looked like the boogeyman of his past fights. Jacobs made Golovkin seemed human and came very close to pulling of the upset. He lost a narrow unanimous decision. Despite the loss, Jacobs stock skyrocket and he proved he could compete with the absolute elite of the sport. This was the same man who doctors had urged to never box again.

Jacobs bounced back later that year when won a unanimous decision over Cuban boxer Luis Arias (18-1-1, 9 KOs). In early 2018, Jacobs returned to his hometown of Brooklyn to face Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs). The fight proved much tougher than expected for Jacobs as Sulecki boxed well. The fight seemed up for grabs in the championship rounds, until Jacobs once again showed his incredible determination and floored Sulecki in round 12 to clinch himself the win.

With that hard-earned victory, Jacobs set himself up for another world title shot, this time for the IBF middleweight title. Jacobs faced highly touted Ukranian boxer Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs). As expected, it was a highly competitive affair with both fighters showing why they were considered middleweight elites. Jacobs fared slightly better and won a split decision to become world champion for the second time in his career.

So now in 2019, Jacobs prepares himself for the biggest fight of his career, yet. In just a few days he will go up against the WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine champion of the world, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a packed T-Mobile Arena. It is one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year, and for good reason. Jacobs is no longer that young prospect, or the fighter with a few good wins. He is now a fighter who has faced the elite of the middleweight division and is considered by many as one of the best fighters in the sport.

However, no matter what happens on Saturday night, Jacobs is a winner. His ability to persevere and come back from obstacles that would crush most men is truly inspiring. Whether he wins or he loses, he has already inspired and given hope millions of people with his incredible comeback story. A victory over the most popular fighter in the sport today would simply be the cherry on top.

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