By Mitch Abramson
Danny Jacobs, the talented middleweight who suffered a setback when he was stopped in his title fight last year, received another setback when he was diagnosed with a tumorous growth on his spine, according to his trainer, Andre Rozier. After having what Rozier described as life-saving surgery to remove the growth earlier this year, Jacobs is back in the gym working out and may even start sparring in January, according to Jacob’s advisor, Keith Connolly, who reports that Jacobs could be back in the ring next summer. If that happens, it will be a dramatic return for one of the more charismatic and intriguing fighters of the sport.
Jacobs, nicknamed the “Golden Child,” was 20-0 with 17 knockouts when he challenged Dmitry Pirog in July of 2010 for the vacant WBO middleweight title. Things didn't go as planned, both inside and outside the ring. His beloved grandmother, Cordelia Jacobs, died after a brief battle with cancer just as Jacobs was leaving camp in the Poconos to trek to Las Vegas for the title fight.
Though he didn’t use it as an excuse, Jacobs didn’t look like himself in the fight, fighting mostly backward with little offensive attack, and he was stopped in the fifth round after absorbing a devastating right hand. Though Jacobs went down hard, he tried to get up, only to be kept down on the canvas by the referee Robert Byrd in a stoppage that seemed a tad premature. Jacobs came back to win two more bouts, fighting as recently as March of this year before he was treated for the growth, which Rozier said was not cancerous. Now, he is working to return to the ring.
"He's not at full strength but he's getting there," Connolly said. "Danny wants to start sparring in January, so we'll see how he feels at that point."