First it must be scaled, followed by a storm that awaits. For any man that desires to be champion, he must ascend through fire while ignoring the broken rungs along the way.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29KOs) makes his debut under Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing banner Saturday night at Nassua Coliseum to face a defiant Luis Arias on HBO (9PM ET). In seeking to rescript an unfinished idea, the re-branded Jacobs looks to vanquish “Cuba” (18-0, 9KOs) with all of the promise that accompanied his genesis.
Jacobs, 30, the former celebrated Golden Boy prospect under Oscar De La Hoya known as “The Golden Child”, was well on his way to fortune and fame, dismantling 20 straight foes with flair. That all changed after a destructive 5th round KO loss to an underground Russian monster named Dmitry Pirog in July 2010.
A few tune-ups and a year later, he was diagnosed with a deadly cancer prognosis of osteosarcoma. He became “The Miracle Man” after winning a massive war with this insidious bone plague, ultimately returning to the ring in October 2012. By August 2014, he was defeating Jarrod Fletcher to capture a portion of the WBA middleweight title and reestablished himself among the 160 elite.
I journeyed to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago for his April 2015 litmus test against a gritty Caleb Truax. Showcasing a switch hitting, two-fisted phenom of speed and power, Jacobs brilliantly subdued the attack of Truax before getting him out of there in the 12th round. An iffy stoppage of Sergio Mora followed, which saw him hit the deck. But it set the stage for a 1st round massacre of WBA middleweight champion Peter Quillin in December 2015.
After avenging victory over Mora far more decisively in September 2016, Jacobs arrived at the fight he is most famous for: the March 2017 encounter with reigning middleweight tyrant Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
I had a beautiful aerial portrait of this fight from sky box office seats with a monitor on the table and a flatscreen on the wall. From every angle of my view, Jacobs was dropped and did not beat Golovkin, but in so many ways– he won. The valiant performance of Canelo Alvarez in September against Triple G can be traced to Jacob's Ladder, for he climbed Golovkin in a way no one else had. For this reason and a few others, Cuba Arias is very unlikely to make Jacobs fall.
JACOBS KO 9
Once a disciple of the great Floyd Mayweather and lost around the controversy of “dog rounds”, Arias can fight. He does everything well, and you can see in his footwork the footprints of TBE. His sterling 5th round stoppage over Arif Magomedev on the undercard of Ward V Kovalev II was impressive, but Jacobs is just too talented with too sizable of a speed advantage. Now that Arias is aligned with former Sergey Kovalev trainer, John David Jackson (who made his way to ROC Nation after all), their style mix implies we'll see a variation of Andre Ward's systematic dismissal of ‘Krusher' as this new union gets off to a ROC'y start.