Danny Jacobs looked the sharper and stronger and more confident, the better brand of boxer, in his main event tango with fellow middleweight Luis Arias Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum, and on HBO.
After twelve rounds of action, Jacobs had to feel mild frustration that Arias didn’t take more chances, come to rumble and instead chose to survive rather than truly thrive.
The judges got it right, scoring it for the Brooklyn boxer, 118-109, 120-107, 119-108.
Arias might see his stock rise, in the eyes of those who expected him to get stopped. But did he truly work to win for three minutes of every round? Jacobs was faced with a slick guy who worked like the dickens to not get tagged clean and that’s hard to look great against.
A respectable 6,921 sat and watched the card, and they were keen for Jacobs to get into a fourth gear and punish Arias who had talked a stellar game in the lead up.
In the first, Jacobs, now promoted by Eddie Hearn/Matchroom, showed a hand speed edge. And a strength edge. And a physique size advantage. The Wisconsin based hitter Arias looked to be the aggressor, shoot low then high. Jacobs, in his first fight after signing an HBO exclusivity deal, buzzed him, a right hand did it, and he hit the deck, no knockdown. Arias was now edging backward to close the round.
To round two; Jacobs looked in total command as he started out. He wasn’t running, for the record. He was stalking Arias, who went from aggressive to much less so right quick. Levels, Jacobs had talked about in the lead-up. Indeed. The Brownsville bred fighter, now 33-2 (30 KOs) moved later in the second, switching up the attack. In the third, Jacobs, who gained so much fan respect with his neck and neck waltz with GGG in March, acted as the patient predator. Arias was in a more defensive mode, now, and Jacobs’ legs and mobility edge kept him safe from the Roc Nation boxer’s launches. In the fourth, Jacobs started setting down on shots even more.
In round five, Arias was again smart-cautious. We heard some boos after the round, as people wanted Jacobs to get into demolition mode, and Arias to open up, get less cautious. To the sixth, Arias landed a counter right, when Danny thought he’d press and hurt him. The crowd noted it and appreciated the underdog. To the 7th; Arias threw sparingly, moved a bunch, threw a max of two shots and then reset defensively.
In the eighth, Arias was in survive not thrive mode. In the ninth, Jacobs ramped it up a quarter notch. Arias was still slippery, but was he getting a bit more fatigued? In round ten, Jacobs ate two counters, but he sensed something. Arias felt the need to throw more to keep Jacobs off. Arias held time and again to buy time. To the 11th—Danny pressed hard, looking to give that climax. Jacobs scored a knockdown, a glove touch, late in the round. It was forearm behind the head, replay showed. To the 12th we saw a counter right by Arias, still sneaky and quick and game. He wanted to hear that final bell, and did.
Jarrell Miller was the busier man and he ground down Mariusz Wach, who had the plug pulled on him by docs in round nine, because of a hurt hand. Miller becomes the second man to stop the 6-7 Pole, who been stopped out on a cut by Alexander Povetkin in 2015.
Miller changed speeds, worked the body a great deal and was in control of most every round, as he decided that the Pole really couldn’t hurt him. Some rights from Wach landed early but then Miller adapted. Mainly, when he was busy wach couldn’t out-work him. Miller rises to 20-0-1 and Wach slides to 33-3. Miller, age 30, is in line for a money bout and Wach, at 37, will need to assess the near future.