By Mitch Abramson
After overcoming cancer, Danny Jacobs is now ready to fight for a world championship, so says Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
The middleweight boxer Danny Jacobs, who overcame cancer to resume his once-promising career, is ready to take a big step up in competition in the next few months as he prepares for another title shot, and Schaefer says the Brooklyn-born Jacobs is in line to face either WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin- maybe at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn later this year- or the respected Giovanni Lorenzo. Either way, Schaefer believes that Jacobs (25-1, 22 knockouts) is set to challenge some of the best fighters in the division after taking a logical and disciplined approach to his comeback, fighting three times against decent opposition after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
“Danny is getting ready to fight for a world title,” Schaefer said on Friday at the weigh-in for the welterweight title bout between Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner this past Saturday at the Barclays Center. “So one possibility is that he might be fighting Peter Quillin, so once again I have to look at the different dates and possibilities and then we’ll make a decision.”
Jacobs was diagnosed in May of 2011 with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that manifested itself in a quarter-sized tumor on his spine that caused partial paralysis in his legs. Though doctors advised him to quit boxing, Jacobs rejected the advice, removing the tumor through surgery and resuming his career with a first-round knockout on October of last year. Jacobs is now cancer free and says he’s more concerned with how he’s feeling emotionally than anything health related as he steps up the level of competition in preparation for a title shot.
“It’s not about who I face and it’s not about the opponent,” Jacobs said in a phone interview. “I just have the goal that whoever comes in the way of reaching that goal is the person I’m going to face. It doesn’t matter if it’s [Peter Quillin] or Sergio Martinez or Lorenzo. We’ve been matching my bouts accordingly and we’ve been stepping up just enough. We’re not trying to rush anything but I feel like all the rust is out and I have no more worries about my health.”
Jacobs believes he needs another fight against a perennial contender such as Lorenzo, who has challenged for a world title three different times while coming up short, before he’s ready to face a world champion. Jacobs was knocked out in the fifth round by Dmitry Pirog in 2010 in an attempt to win the WBO middleweight title.
“I feel like my body will tell me,” Jacobs said. “Once I’m in the fight with Lorenzo we will judge if we need one more fight before going for the title. I know the talent is there but boxing is a mental thing and if I go ten hard rounds then I’ll be confident and I’ll be mentally strong going into my next fight.”
According to Lorenzo co-manager Kurt Emhoff, Jacobs was to face Lorenzo on July 13 on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins and Karo Murat at the Barclays Center but the show was scuttled after Murat couldn’t obtain a visa in timely fashion. Jacobs’ trainer Andre Rozier said that Lorenzo (32-5, 24 knockouts) is a more realistic opponent for Jacobs in his next fight. Emhoff said that a deal is nearly in place to have Jacobs and Lorenzo face off on Aug. 19 at Best Buy Theater in Times Square to kick off the Fox Sports 1 boxing series in the main event.
“Eric Gomez [matchmaker for Golden Boy] liked the fight so much he was like, can we do it somewhere else on some other [venue] and we were like, ‘Sure,’” Emhoff said. “We haven’t gotten it finalized yet. We want it and Danny wants it and it will get done.”
But Schaefer said that nothing is imminent.
“That might be a possibility,” Schaefer said. “We’re currently looking at different options for him but that’s one of them. I still have to talk to Eric Gomez and [Jacobs advisor] Al Haymon. I really can’t confirm. I just have to sit down with Eric and Al to see if that is what’s going to be next.”
Emhoff said it was tough to gauge whether Jacobs is the same fighter he was before the bout with cancer because of the opposition he’s faced so far in his return.
“Since he’s come back he hasn’t really fought anybody who would test him,” Emhoff said. “It’s hard to say. Obviously you prepare for the best Danny Jacobs. He’s explosive; he has tremendous hand speed; he hits hard. We’ll just prepare for the best Danny Jacobs but since he’s come back his performances have been a little bit uneven. He’ll look great in spots and then he’ll gas a little bit. So he’s going to have to be ready fighting Giovanni because Giovanni has fought on the road and overseas so much that to get a fight in New York- he’s going to be very excited about that and it’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for him, so you’ll see him at his best.”
Regardless of who Jacobs faces, Rozier, his longtime trainer, believes he’s more than ready to resume his designation as one of the top middleweights in the world.
“I feel he’s a better fighter than he was before,” Rozier said. “He’s more mature. He understands what is necessary to happen in order to win a world title. He’s sharper. He’s just a much better fighter now than he was before. I believe our next fight will be Giovanni or someone of that caliber and then we’ll be jumping into monumental waters with the really big fish.”