By Jake Donovan
Daniel Jacobs is grateful for every breath of fresh air he enjoys these days, but it doesn’t mean he always has to be in a forgiving move.
The middleweight contender appears on the Showtime-televised undercard Saturday evening, facing Chris Fitzpatrick in a scheduled 10-round middleweight bout at Madison Square Garden.
The main event pits unbeaten 154 lb. titlist Austin Trout against house favorite and former three-division champion Miguel Cotto. Jacobs and Fitzpatrick are slated to appear in the evening’s chief support, though only fighter properly did his job prior to fight night.
“A little beefy in the middle,” Jacobs commented moments after his opponent missed weight on his first two attempts on Friday afternoon. “It’s a professional fight, and you have to be on point.”
Jacobs came in at a fit and ready 161.2 lb, well within the contracted limit of 162 lb. Fitzpatrick, whose midsection suggested a lack of proper preparation for the televised bout, was 163.8 lb on his first try. An immediate second attempt – complete with underwear removal and a towel shielding any view of his naked body – proved unsuccessful, as he was at 163.3 lb, still over the tolerable limit.
The New York State Athletic Commission offered an additional hour to sweat off the remaining 1.3 lb. Failure to do so will result in a fine, as well as put him at the mercy of his opponent as to whether or not the show will go on.
Chances are that Jacobs (23-1, 20KO) will proceed as planned with his second fight back since recovering from osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that left him out of the ring for more than 18 months. Still, he has every intention of making his opponent literally sweat it out.
“You either lose the weight or you pay the penalty,” Jacobs stated. “He’ll do what he has to do. It’s a professional fight.”
Jacobs’ ring return came this past October, televised on Showtime Extreme live from the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. His time spent between the ropes didn’t last very long; Jacobs needed just 73 seconds to dispatch Josh Luteran.
Still, the real victory was being able to climb through the ropes. Now that the hard part is over, Jacobs hopes to return to old form and make another run at a middleweight title.
“Now I know I’m capable of doing it,” Jacobs said of the difference between his mindset prior to October 20 and how he feels going into Saturday’s bout. “I got the jitters out and can continue on my focus of becoming a world champion. The saga continues Saturday night and then it’s back to Barclays Center on Feb. 9.”
Jacobs came up way short in his lone attempt at alphabet hardware, suffering the lone loss of his career with a 5th round stoppage of Dmitry Pirog in July ’10. Two tune-up wins followed before being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which left him fighting for his life, never mind his career.
Ever the fighter, Jacobs made a miraculous recovery, followed by an inspirational return to the ring earlier this year. His comeback prompted those closest to him to give him a new nickname. Formerly also known as ‘The Golden Child,’ Jacobs is now known in boxing circles as ‘The Miracle Child.’ Given his current and future lineup, he could very well soon become known as ‘New York’s Finest.’
“That means everything to me,” Jacobs says of returning to the Garden, his third fight at the venue, and being able to become a regular attraction in New York. “So much history has gone down at Madison Square Garden and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox