In a time of war, they threatened us with peace.
Former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29KOs) held a 12 round summit with an outgunned Luis Arias (18-1, 9KOs) to earn a UD that just under 7,000 fans could not care less about.
Televised on HBO, accustomed to bringing a box office smash to your home, presented ‘Home Body Odor' in the form of Jacobs V Arias and Miller V Wach. You could smell the pain of living rooms from ringside. Called by the stellar broadcasting crew of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones from a frigid Nassau Coliseum in freezing Long Island, the fight was fought over what felt like a frozen lake (the Islanders do play hockey there) and failed to produce any chills.
What's worse, is that the card's co-feature attraction Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, didn't melt any hearts while rendering a heartless performance against the tall, listless Polish mole Maruisz Wach (33-3, 17KOs). Sure, as Matchroom Boxing promoter (and a rather sensational one at that) Eddie Hearn would say later, Miller officially gets a 9th round stoppage over a very credible opponent on his resume. But unofficially– he picked the wrong time to smell like a ‘Big Baby' with a dirty diaper.
Affable and naturally charismatic, Miller would later give himself the same “F” that brutal New York fans were giving the Brooklyn product throughout. Ponderous and heavy despite never being slimmer, Miller looked like a bloated Bermane Stiverne with a Mohawk suffering from food withdrawal. Fans were heard yelling, “Big Baby you fat, fake Mike Tyson!” and all kinds of nonsense stemming from diseased excitement.
Tim Smith, now a Premiere Boxing Champions executive, was bemoaning wishes of still being a journalist so that he could lay into Miller. He likened Big Baby's work on Wach to someone bludgeoning a huge tree with a dull ax. Then, Twitterville was going in on Wach, calling him the lovechild of Ivan Drago and Jay Leno.
For what it's worth, LI's hometown star Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldon (21-0, 17KOs) looked pretty good in beating up and bloody elbowing Ricardo Ortiz (36-2, 25KOs) inside of three rounds. I don't know how the intriguing and high pitched personality invaded HBO, but he did make it a show.
Anyway, back to Jacobs, who flashed evidence of the lightning hand speed and power to remind us of the guy who put Gennady Golovkin in check for long stretches in March. But to truly be a star on the ‘Network of Champions' requires world championship status and an A-list presence, pitted against someone dangerously vying for both.
Arias does not fit this description at all and didn't try to. Though his disdain for Danny was real, “Louisa” (as the crowd coined him for not fighting) revealed his pre-fight banter as straight hype. It worked on Jacobs — who really seemed to loathe the Cuban/Nicaraguan from Milwaukee, as he threw everything with ICU intentions. In fact, his anger may have even left his performance undone in pursuit of a home run. “The Miracle Man” stoned a retreating or groping Arias (who went way beyond clinching and was an octopus in there) whenever possible, but it's hard to see how those stones turn into bread at the box office.
Canelo Alvarez would obviously make for a blockbuster, but Jermall or Jermell Charlo would arguably present more fireworks. A David Lemieux fight would work, as would Billie Joe Saunders in the UK.
NY Fights spent a lot of time with Eddie Hearn after the formal press conference, as he coyly addresed a number of issues with sardonic wit and candor. If you thought Lou DiBella was impressive in reducing Hearn after Deontay Wilder's massacre of Stiverne at Barclays, all of that would change after a few minutes with the world's best boxing promoter.
As if Sonny Corleone without the temper– but nevertheless a boss, Hearn turned DiBella into Fredo, dismissing the Barclays Center magnet as irrelevant in the Anthony Joshua V Deontay Wilder sweepstakes, while claiming pole position at the negotiating table with Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel.
The good news is, not only can we expect to see Jacobs and Big Baby in some sort of 2018 megafights next spring, but we ain't going back to that damn Nassau Coliseum. Oh yes, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will rock once again, as the addition of Matchroom Boxing and its roster brings even more excitement on deck.
“I have to get out of here, learn from this one and take a long hot shower… Clear the mind and get reenergized,” said Hearn, mulling possibilities for Jacobs and Miller, while not even close to throwing in the towel with HBO. “There's a long flight back [to London] and then we'll get right into sorting things out on Monday.”