In boxing, it’s a guarantee that deserving stars will end up going unfairly overlooked. It’s a zero sum game, with only so much room available at the very top.
Middleweight Daniel Jacobs deserves as much attention as nearly any other active fighter in the sport. Six years ago, the Brooklyn native was battling a life-threatening form of bone cancer. His perserverance is an inspiration to people who would not normally give boxing a second thought.
He is also an elite talent. Gennady Golovkin is widely viewed as the top current pound-for-pound boxer in the sport–at the very least, in the top five. Last March, Jacobs climbed off the canvas in Round 4 and gave Golovkin all he could handle. I actually had him winning the fight, 114-113.
So if Golovkin is at, or very near, the pinnacle of the sport then Jacob is clearly in the upper echelon.
In normal circumstances I would have loved to see an immediate rematch. But given the demand for Golovkin to face Saul Alvare, it is understandable that Jacobs was pushed to the side. And since Golovkin vs. Alvarez ended in an unsatisfying draw and the two will rematch in May, it’s understandable that Jacobs will remain pushed to the side.
Understandable, but hardly fair. Still, life is not fair. Boxing especially.
So Jacobs will return to action this weekend in what is essentially a stay-busy fight vs. Luis Arias.
Arias deserves some respect in this equation. He was a two-time United States amateur champion. He is undefeated–18-0 with 9 KOs.
But Jacobs is a huge step up in competition for him. Arias’ best wins were over 18-1 Arif Magomedov and experienced journeyman Darryl Cunningham. Those are good wins for a fighter with only 18 fights. They are not the kind of wins that prepare a fighter to face a guy like Danny Jacobs.