By Thomas Gerbasi
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - The first time Daniel Jacobs challenged for a world title in 2010, he was stopped by Dmitry Pirog. Then Jacobs beat cancer, and Saturday night, in his sixth fight following that winning effort, the Brooklynite finally earned that coveted championship, stopping Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round to win the vacant WBA middleweight title.
This journey has definitely been a long one, said Jacobs, who was sidelined for 19 months as he battled, then conquered, cancer.
Jacobs was sharp from the start, walking Fletcher down behind a high guard and thudding hooks and crosses. Midway through the round, Fletcher was dropped by a left hook, and things didn't get much better for the Australian from there, as he never appeared to get his legs back under him while Jacobs fired away with both hands.
The game Aussie made it out of the first round, and he came out aggressively for the second, eager to erase the memory of the first three minutes. His punches did little to deter Jacobs though, as the New Yorker put another round in the bank.
Fletcher was more competitive in the third, with his rapid-fire jabs throwing Jacobs off his rhythm. Early in the fourth, Jacobs clipped Fletcher with a left hook and went on the attack, but this time the Brisbane native shook off the power shots and got back to business, showing that he was still in the fight, so much so that in the fifth he landed his best shots of the fight, giving Jacobs plenty to think about as he marched forward. Yet by the end of the round, Jacobs roared back with more thudding blows, and as he chased Fletcher into the corner, the corner of Left Jab had seen enough, with referee Michael Griffin intervening at the 2:58 mark.
With the win, Jacobs improves to 28-1 with 25 KOs; Fletcher falls to 18-2 with 10 KOs. Jacobs led 40-34 twice, and 39-36 at the time of the stoppage.