By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs believes he proved against Gennady Golovkin that he is the best middleweight in the world.
That’s how much confidence the Brooklyn native’s performance in a close loss to Golovkin gave him. Jacobs got up from a fourth-round knockdown during that March 18 fight at Madison Square Garden and boxed well to make it close on all three scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113).
The highly competitive nature of his loss to Golovkin helped Jacobs secure contracts with promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA and HBO. Luis Arias, Jacobs’ opponent Saturday night, contends Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) has received too much credit for losing to Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and is overrated in general.
Jacobs admits Arias’ demeaning comments have given him extra motivation as they move toward their HBO “World Championship Boxing” main event in Uniondale, New York (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT).
“That fight made me realize that I am the best middleweight in the world,” Jacobs said before a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “And that mentality and that chip that you have when you go inside the ring gives you that extra factor. When you know you belong, when you know that you have the skills to be the best, nothing, especially Arias – not underestimating nothing that he brings, but when this is his first rodeo and he’s saying all these different things, like I haven’t done or I haven’t accomplished anything, we’re gonna show him November 11th. But like I said, it just adds that motivation and just adds that oomph to it, knowing that I belong, being there with the rest of those guys.”
The 30-year-old Jacobs hasn’t underestimated Arias (18-0, 9 KOs), despite that this undoubtedly is the biggest fight of the Milwaukee native’s five-year pro career. In fact, Jacobs thinks it’s Arias who hasn’t displayed enough respect toward his opponent prior to their 12-round fight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“I think he’s underestimating me a lot,” Jacobs said. “Boxing is a mental sport, and whatever a fighter needs to do to make sure that he is mentally confident in the ring, I think that’s exactly what he’s doing. And cheers to him. Whatever works for him. But I know I have a job to do and I’ve been here before. That’s the difference. I know what it takes to be at this level and I’ve been doing it for a very long time.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.