By Jake Donovan
A packed house was on hand for the weigh-in ahead of Friday’s Spike TV-televised card, which takes place at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. The crowd was nearly treated to a fight before the actual fight, as main event players
Anthony Dirrell and Badou Jack had to be separated during a brief on-stage skirmish.
On the lighter side of news, b
oth fighters checked in within the 168 lb. limit; Dirrell (27-0-1, 22KOs) tipped the scales at 167.1 lbs., while Jack (18-1-1, 12KOs) weighed 167.6 lbs. for his first title fight.
The co-feature and opening bout of the televised portion of the show features Daniel Jacobs in his first defense of a secondary middleweight belt. The fighting pride of Brooklyn, NY faces Minnesota’s Caleb Truax (25-1-2, 12KOs), fighting for the third straight time at UIC Pavilion.
Jacobs (28-1, 25KOs) weighed in at 159.4 lbs.; Truax tipped the scales at 159.6 lbs. for his first title fight.
The staging of Dirrell and Jacobs on the same show was hardly coincidental.
Both boxers are cancer survivors who went on to win a major title, the only two fighters in boxing history to do so.
Their respective feats came one week apart - Jacobs knocked out Jarrod Fletcher in five rounds last August to collect a middleweight belt on his second try; Dirrell followed suit one week later, scoring a 12-round win over Sakio Bika in a rematch to their controversially-scored draw some eight months prior.
Both legs of the Premier Boxing Champions broadcast on Spike TV pit cancer survivors-turned-titlists versus once-beaten first-time title contenders.
Jack has won two straight since his lone loss, a shocking 1st round knockout at the hands of journeyman Derek Edwards last February. Truax’ lone setback came with a bit more shine, flooring a comebacking version of Jermain Taylor late but ultimately dropping a 10-round decision in April ’12. He has since gone unbeaten in his last eight starts (7-0-1, 5KOs).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox