Daniel Jacobs’ upcoming super middleweight matchup against John Ryder at the Alexandra Palace in London on Feb. 12 could be the last fight of the “Miracle Man’s” career if he loses, according to Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn.
“For Danny Jacobs, it’s a must-win, and for John Ryder, it’s a must-win. That fight is likely to be an eliminator for the WBA [168-pound] world title, and it’s a really, really good fight,” Hearn said on his company’s YouTube channel.
“Jacobs has a chip on his shoulder. He’s coming to the U.K. to do a job, and this is career-defining for Danny Jacobs because if he loses to John Ryder, I think that’s the end of his career.”
The 34-year-old Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) was last in the ring in November 2020 and fought to a lackluster and underwhelming split decision win against rugged contender Gabriel Rosado.
“[Jacobs] really underperformed [against Rosado], and he’ll be looking to make a big statement,” said Hearn. “Look, Danny Jacobs’ performance against Rosado was under par, but Danny Jacobs is an elite super middleweight. He’s a world-class fighter, and he’s a two-division world champion. He’s a top, top, amateur pedigree, and everything. John Ryder will need to put on the performance of his career to beat Danny Jacobs that night because I think if you would have got Daniel Jacobs that came after the Chavez fight, the one that turned up for Rosado, John might be the favorite going into that fight. So, he’ll be coming to put on a spiteful performance and looking to win.”
The 15-year professional Jacobs has been facing elite competition for better parts of the last seven years. He's beaten the likes of Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Julio César Chávez Jr. and lost to Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez. The Brooklyn-based cancer survivor's first career loss came against Dmitry Pirog via KO in 2010.
Talks of a Jacobs retirement of which Hearn is alluding to may be premature considering the fighter hasn’t alluded to calling it a career.
“I’m super excited to be returning to the ring,” said Jacobs. “It has always been a dream of mine to fight in London as a professional, and I’m looking forward to fighting in front of a great crowd. I’m putting my best foot forward on February 12.”
The 33-year-old Ryder (30-5, 17 KOs), a former interim titlist at 168 pounds, has mostly exclusively campaigned overseas and come up short against the likes of Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding, and Billy Joe Saunders whenever he’s stepped it up in competition.
"This is the fight I need to really bring the best out in me," said Ryder. "Jacobs is a great fighter but he has had his time and now it's my time to shine. My dreams are at stake on February 12 and destiny awaits. It's time to get right back to where I need to be."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com