Daniel Jacobs was so depleted during fight weeks in recent years, he’s not even sure how he was able to squeeze down to the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.
That’s not at all the case this week as the former IBF and WBA middleweight champion comfortably comes down to the super middleweight maximum for the first time in 8½ years. Brooklyn’s Jacobs decided to move up eight pounds following his 12-round, unanimous-decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in their middleweight title unification match May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Jacobs discussed during a press conference Tuesday in Phoenix how much fresher he feels for his super middleweight fight Friday night against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. than he did for his loss to Alvarez.
“This is gonna be a great opportunity for me,” Jacobs said. “I’m stepping up [from] the middleweight division. I feel like this is the perfect weight for me. I’m only two pounds away from 68. And, for me, that’s the first time ever. I’m probably gonna eat breakfast the morning of the [weigh-in]. I feel strong. My whole camp has been extremely positive, extremely happy. I couldn’t ask for a better camp than what I’ve had.”
Jacobs has fought at or within 1½ pounds of the middleweight limit for each of his 15 fights since he beat cancer and launched his comeback in October 2012.
The 32-year-old Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs), who stands 6 feet even, will face a taller opponent in the 6-feet-1 Chavez who competed at light heavyweight in his last fight. He is heavily favored to win, however, because Chavez (51-3-1, 33 KOs, 1 NC) has fought just once in the past 2½ years and was dominated by Alvarez in their May 2017 bout at T-Mobile Arena.
Jacobs is even more confident because he feels so much stronger than he did at middleweight.
“When I fought for the middleweight championships or when I fought at middleweight,” Jacobs explained, “for the last two years you guys don’t understand the amount of damage I’ve been putting on my body, trying to make the weight. We’ve been looking exceptionally well inside the gym, but those last two weeks to a week prior to making weight is where we leave it in the gym.
“Now, I have an opportunity to be able to carry over those skills and be hydrated, be 100 percent and allow my skills that’s in the gym, that my team sees, allow the world an opportunity to see that. I’m extremely excited to have this new opportunity. I know the super middleweight division is full of great competition as well. So, I look forward to this test come Friday night. God willing, we get the victory, move on to bigger and better things.”
The 33-year-old Chavez received a temporary restraining order against the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a Clark County (Nevada) district court Tuesday that’ll allow him to box Jacobs on Friday night. The son of one of Mexico’s most beloved boxers was temporarily suspended by the NSAC late in October for not making himself available for a performance-enhancing drug test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
The Jacobs-Chavez fight initially was supposed to be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which was why NSAC executive director Bob Bennett sent VADA to test Chavez. The fight later was moved to Talking Sticking Resort Arena in Phoenix.
DAZN will stream Jacobs-Chavez as the main event of a nine-bout card Friday. Its coverage is set to start at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.