By Mitch Abramson
Danny Jacobs, the charismatic middleweight from Brooklyn who struggled in a title shot last year, will be out of action for perhaps a year after life-saving surgery to remove a tumorous growth on his spine nearly two months ago, said his trainer, Andre Rozier.
“I’m glad they caught it when they did because it was spreading rapidly and climbing up his spine,” said Rozier from Las Vegas, in town to watch Zab Judah square off against Amir Khan on Saturday. Jacobs was doing roadwork when he reported feeling numbness in his legs. Rozier advised him to visit a hospital. A day later, a neurologist was operating on him to remove the growth, Rozier said.
“It was inhibiting his nerve function,” Rozier said of the non-cancerous growth. “It was growing fast. It might have gone to the top of his spine. It could have been deadly.”
Jacobs is currently recuperating in his Park Slop home in Brooklyn after a two-week hospital stay. Rozier said that Jacobs (22-1, 19 knockouts) was still intent on continuing his boxing career once he regains his strength and goes through an arduous period of recuperation.
“It’s going to be a long process of healing, as with any surgery,” Rozier said. “It’s going to be a step-by-step process. I call Danny my oldest son, and I’m just glad they removed the growth when they did. I’m glad they caught it when they did.”
Rozier said it might be a full calendar year until Jacobs returns to the ring. He last fought March 5, a first-round knockout against Robert Kliewer. It was his second straight win since floundering against Dmitry Pirog in a middleweight title fight for the vacant WBO title in July of last year. Jacobs struggled from the outset against Pirog’s swarming style and was stopped in the fifth round. Rozier said that Jacobs stopped by the Coney Island Boxing Club on Thursday where Rozier was training fighters.
“He was just touching the bag, just moving around, just getting a feel,” Rozier said.
Rather than be frustrated at his career being interrupted, Rozier said that Jacobs was more relieved to be in good health after the surgery.
“It was more of a ‘Thank God I’m ok,’” Rozier said. “Thank God I can still walk, and I’m healthy right now- that’s what he was feeling.”
Ali healing: Another one of Rozier’s fighters is also recuperating. Sadam Ali, the undefeated former U.S. Olympian, has been inactive since his last fight against John Revish in May because of a bruised right knuckle, which he sustained two fights ago last December. Ali (13-0, seven knockouts) figures to be out of commission until the fall, Rozier said, interrupting a blistering pace in which Ali fought seven times last year and twice in 2011.
“He went to the doctor and the doctor said to just give it a rest,” Rozier said. “He’ll be ready to get back to it in the fall, to pick up where he left off.”