By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs and promoter Eddie Hearn hope his HBO deal eventually continues the way it was designed.
The plan Hearn arranged along with Jacobs’ manager, Keith Connolly, was for Jacobs to win two HBO bouts before getting either a rematch against Gennady Golovkin or a shot at Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez. Now that he has beaten Luis Arias and Maciej Sulecki in those two fights, it appears as if they’ll have to wait longer than they thought for a high-profile fight against Golovkin or Alvarez.
Assuming Golovkin defeats Vanes Martirosyan on Saturday night, the unbeaten IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion probably will face Canelo Alvarez in his following fight. Their rematch, which was supposed to take place Saturday night, is expected to be rescheduled for September 15, four weeks after Alvarez’s six-month suspension for failing two performance-enhancing drug tests is set to end.
That’ll leave Jacobs’ handlers to seek another opponent for his next fight.
Hearn mentioned two other undefeated fighters as potential options – Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) – if Jacobs can’t get Golovkin in the ring again next. He would welcome a shot at WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders as well, but Hearn said he thinks England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) would want too much money to fight Jacobs in the United States and acknowledged that his contentious relationship with Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren, would make it tough to come to an agreement.
Regardless, Hearn admitted it’s time for the 31-year-old Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) to take a more meaningful fight now that he has recorded unanimous-decision victories over Arias (18-1, 9 KOs) and Sulecki (26-1, 10 KOs).
“I think the most impressive thing Danny’s done is he’s fought two guys where he hasn’t got a lot to gain in those fights, but they have everything to gain,” Hearn said during the post-fight press conference early Sunday morning at Barclays Center. “You know, the first one, an undefeated fighter, against Arias. This one, a much better fighter than Arias, in Sulecki. You know, he’s come through. He’s proved his worth.
“He’s the one going out there, fighting the undefeated guys. And now, he must have a marquee fight next because he will rise and box even better against the better fighters. And, you know, I think it’s very important that he fights a Charlo, Golovkin, Derevyanchenko.”
Jacobs beat Poland’s Sulecki on all three scorecards (117-110, 116-111, 115-112), but not before Sulecki consistently landed his right hand and created some troublesome moments during their 12-round fight in Brooklyn. Jacobs took risks defensively against Sulecki that he might not have taken against a bigger puncher, but they provided entertainment in what was a competitive fight.
“We’re proud of the deal we’ve done with Danny,” Hearn said, “and also the fact that he’s doing extremely well over here and he has HBO backing him. And they’ve backed him in two fights, and now they want, along with us, the big one. You know, we came to HBO to fight Gennady Golovkin or Canelo.
“Since then, the division has split and opened up a little bit. So there are big, marquee fights out there for him, outside of those two. But, you know, again, it’s really on the network to deliver the fights that we came for. And that’s Gennady Golovkin and Canelo. So obviously it’s slowed down a little bit in that process.”
Jacobs recognizes he’ll have to win a difficult fight later this year to remain in line to fight Golovkin or Alvarez sometime in 2019.
“We took this guy’s 0, just like we took the last guy’s 0,” Jacobs said, referring to Sulecki and Arias. “And we’re not gonna cherry pick. We’re not gonna go down the line of what I call scrubs. But at the end of the day, I just wanna make sure the fans are happy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.