By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Familiarity breeds complacency sometimes.
Daniel Jacobs is certain that won’t at all be the case when he encounters frequent sparring partner Sergiy Derevyanchenko on October 27. Jacobs expects their 12-round fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title to unfold as “a war” that night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO).
The Derevyanchenko-Jacobs bout was officially announced Thursday during a press conference in Manhattan.
“I look forward to October [27th],” Jacobs said. “I know it’s gonna be a tough challenge. Me and Sergiy have damn never over 300 rounds together in sparring. He knows me, I know him and I just think that the professionalism we carry is gonna extend into that ring. But it’s not gonna make a sparring match. It’s gonna be a war. It’s gonna be an exciting war. This man comes forward. He’s strong, durable. And you guys know what I bring to the table.”
The 31-year-old Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) and the 32-year-old Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) share a head trainer, Andre Rozier.
Because he has worked with Jacobs much longer, Rozier will prepare Jacobs for their 160-pound championship match. Gary Stark Sr., an assistant trainer for Jacobs and Derevyanchenko, will prepare Derevyanchenko.
Rozier called this unusual situation “very awkward” on Thursday. The veteran trainer eventually accepted, though, that Jacobs and Derevyanchenko wanted an opportunity to fight for the middleweight title the IBF stripped from Gennady Golovkin for failing to make his mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko.
“I know a lot of people have questions about why is this fight happening?,” Jacobs said. “It’s a question I asked myself – do you dare to be great? What are the obstacles you will allow to get in your way to prevent that? The answer to myself is nothing. I won’t allow anything. This is for the love of the sport. This is for the love of boxing. This is for the fans. This is for my dreams. This is for his dreams. And we both have families we’re fighting for, so this is not a sad time.
“This is a time to embrace the real, true passion and grit of what boxing really means. Because we share a relationship, so if that doesn’t tell you that this is for the love of the sport and that we truly desire the sport and we wanna become champions for the fans and we all have our own legacies we wanna realize for the love of boxing.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.