By Thomas Gerbasi
Less than a month after his 12-rounder with Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs isn’t sitting in a dark room, lamenting his close decision loss to “GGG” at Madison Square Garden on March 18. He’s already moved on, appreciating the lessons taken from the fight, the fans gained in the process, and awaiting a special day on April 22.
What day? Well, ‘Daniel Jacobs Day’ in Brooklyn, of course.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Jacobs said of the honor bestowed on him by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Everything happened so fast, and for this to be something that is signed, sealed and delivered, something official that is real and that can be celebrated for years and years to come, this is an honor that as a fighter and a human being I’m grateful to be able to accomplish.”
It wasn’t something the 30-year-old ever expected growing up in Brownsville, but through boxing, he found his way out, first as an amateur star, then as a pro world champion. But more went into Jacobs getting his own day, from his inspirational victory over cancer and his Get In The Ring Foundation, to his status as a role model who has shown that anything is possible.
“I was once a kid that walked those streets and feared not being able to grow up and have a positive, successful adulthood,” he said. “And that’s kind of the aura of the neighborhood and the community, that there’s no success beyond what you have as a kid, and whatever you see is what you get. And an accomplishment like this, it signifies something. For me and for those kids and anybody in the Brownsville community, it’s a breath of fresh air. You could say someone did it, we have hope, and I can do it. He comes from where I come from and it gives me a little inspiration to be better at whatever I want to accomplish.”
The timing for this is perfect, given Jacobs’ effort against the unbeaten Golovkin, where he shocked many who expected him to be the Kazakhstan killer’s next victim. The fight didn’t turn out that way, with Jacobs showing the talent and grit that those in the New York area knew he had since his amateur days. When it was over, he had risen from a fourth-round knockdown to give Golovkin one of his toughest tests ever, and though he lost the unanimous decision, many believed it was a verdict that should have gone Jacobs’ way. And after those 12 rounds were done, his star was shining at its brightest.
“I’ve always known that I had star potential, and it was just a matter of time before it actually started to flourish,” he said. “I always knew that I was very, very skillful and I always knew that I could be the best amongst the best and the fact that I didn’t have that (fan) following hurt me a little bit. But with the Golovkin fight, it was my coming out party. We didn’t get the victory on paper, but I believe it was a winning situation for me.”
More than a winning situation for his career, Jacobs was one of those people who thought he had done enough to win the fight on the scorecards. And while the defeat stung, he is starting to take what positives he can from it.
“You think about all you could have obtained, and all the glory and all the things you could have had with that one victory,” he said. “But for me, also knowing that I captured a lot of fans that say this truly wasn’t a loss, that’s slowly but surely starting to aid me and guide me and cure me and allow me to digest those feelings, because it was tough when you get stripped of something that you truly feel like you deserve and you earned. I just take it one day at a time.”
And the day will be coming soon when Jacobs returns to the ring to resume his career. He’s already asking fans on Twitter who they want to see him in with next, with Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr. and David Lemieux all getting attention. And while his ideal next foe would be Golovkin, he also knows that the middleweight king will likely be chasing down Canelo Alvarez before he turns his attention back to Jacobs.
“I know that there’s a strategic game plan that GGG and his team have as far as making the most of his career,” Jacobs said. “He’s on the end tip of the career path, and they want to make the most of it, which is understandable. So to make a rematch with me that wouldn’t financially be a better opportunity for GGG, it just makes more sense for his team to do something different. Taking a dangerous fight that they’re not sure if they’re gonna win or not, especially with it not being the most lucrative fight for him, it’s too dangerous. The fight with the smaller Canelo, he brings more fans and more money to the table, and business wise it just makes more sense for him to go that route.”
It’s a mature approach from Jacobs, who knows the game and is even more aware that all the posturing in the world won’t make a rematch happen. But it is the fight he wants, and if he doesn’t get it, it will be disappointing, but won’t keep him from chasing more glory in the ring.
“It (the rematch) is always going to be something in the back of my head but, in my estimation, what it (the first fight) was able to do for me is open so many doors and I will prove that I am the best in a different route,” he said. “It’s not always going to be the glorious story that you would have liked it to be, but I definitely think the loss just prolonged the story, it didn’t stop it. Of course I want that rematch a hundred percent, but if he (Golovkin) was to go a different route, I wouldn’t be sour about that, either.”
Jacobs has survived plenty of bad times, from his fight against cancer to the loss of his beloved grandmother, and his first pro loss to Dmitry Pirog. None of it kept him down, though, and this loss to Golovkin won’t be able to do it either. Daniel Jacobs is cut from a different cloth from most, and he’s not done moving forward yet.
“I still have some goals for myself that I would like to accomplish,” he said. “And I don’t really like to glorify my success. I like to chill and not get caught up in the hype, especially when I’m home. I’m home, I’m in the bubble and that’s how I live my life. I don’t really want to get too caught up in believing that I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. I prefer to always have an opportunity to reach a higher plateau and break more boundaries wherever I go. Because if I get set into thinking that there’s nothing more I can accomplish or there’s nothing to obtain, then I wouldn’t have any drive.”
Daniel Jacobs Day in Brooklyn will be capped off by a ceremony in the ring at Barclays Center during the April 22 Berto vs. Porter card. Jacobs will be honored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and will be donating 100 tickets to children in the community to celebrate the occasion.