By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – The legend of Daniel Jacobs skipping the IBF’s second-day weigh-in before his fight against Gennady Golovkin has grown to the degree Jacobs can’t help but laugh.
It seems as if every time Jacobs hears or reads about that situation, he was heavier the night he walked into the ring and gave Golovkin what to that point was his toughest professional fight 17 months ago at Madison Square Garden.
“It gets higher and higher,” a smiling Jacobs said following a recent press conference in Manhattan. “I mean, I was a heavyweight when I fought him.”
The incident has been brought up again because Jacobs will fight frequent sparring partner Sergiy Derevyanchenko on October 27 for the IBF middleweight title that was stripped from Golovkin on June 6. Jacobs has assured fans, reporters and the IBF itself that this time he’ll have no difficulty abiding by the restrictions of the IBF’s second-day weigh-in, which prohibits boxers fighting for an IBF title from gaining more than 10 pounds over that division’s limit at another weigh-in the next morning.
Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, estimated in the immediate aftermath of Golovkin’s close, unanimous-decision victory over Jacobs that the Brooklyn-born challenger weighed more than 180 pounds when he stepped into the ring. Sanchez said Golovkin was about 170 pounds when their 12-round, 160-pound championship match began in March 2017.
Sanchez’s projections would’ve given the taller Jacobs at least a 10-pound weight advantage over Golovkin on fight night.
Jacobs contends he weighed no more than 175 pounds against Golovkin. The former WBA world middleweight champion figures Sanchez and Golovkin made an issue out of their weight differential to discredit how well he boxed versus the Kazakh knockout artist who had knocked out 23 straight opponents prior to Jacobs taking him the distance.
“It’s just like everybody talked about how strong he was, all of these different things,” Jacobs said. “And then they made it seem like I had to cheat in order to have the success. It was just unfair to me and all my fans. If you truly, honestly wanna know my weight that night, I was literally about 173 to 175, at the most. And that’s normal for a middleweight. And everyone brags about [Golovkin] sparring heavyweights and light heavyweights and knocking out those guys. But when he got in there and I might’ve looked like a light heavyweight, what happened then?”
Golovkin knocked down Jacobs during the fourth round, but Jacobs got up, survived those troublesome moments and boxed well over the final eight-plus rounds. Golovkin won their bout by slim margins on all three scorecards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113) and retained the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC middleweight titles.
Right after their fight, Golovkin inferred that Jacobs’ choice to not return to the IBF’s scale the morning of their fight was disrespectful to the sport.
“It’s his problem,” Golovkin said. “I respect my sport. I respect boxing. This IBF [situation], it’s his problem, not mine. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Jacobs completely disagreed with Golovkin’s take on the situation.
“It wasn’t really me being disrespectful,” Jacobs said. “It’s my prerogative to wanna get up at 6, 7 o’clock in the morning to do a weigh-in, and be restricted to 170 pounds. So it was mainly me just wanting to stay hydrated and not have to focus on the little things, even though I respect this boxing game. I respect all [sanctioning bodies] and their rulings.
“But for me, I really wanted to focus on this fight. And we had a game plan. We wanted to make sure we used our size and we had the best possible nutrition that we can. And waking up early [on Saturday morning], for me, was just a hard thing to do. Not because we were overweight, but I didn’t wanna have an issue whatsoever.”
Jacobs intended all along to skip the IBF’s second-day weigh-in before facing Golovkin, but he didn’t reveal those plans before he didn’t show up for it. Golovkin’s handlers felt that gave Jacobs an unfair advantage because Golovkin participated in the second-day weigh-in.
Golovkin, who weighed in at 159.6 pounds, was 169½ pounds that Saturday morning. Jacobs officially weighed in at 159½ pounds the day before their fight, but he wasn’t weighed again before he entered the ring, not even on HBO’s unofficial scale.
Andre Rozier, Jacobs’ trainer, can’t believe how much controversy Jacobs’ decision to skip the IBF’s second-day weigh-in has caused.
“It’s been blown completely out of proportion,” Rozier said. “As you can see now, Danny weighs about 175 [for the Derevyanchenko fight]. He’s in striking range already. He’s gonna be fine. He happens to put on a little weight afterward, anywhere from 13 to 16 pounds. But that’s almost natural for most everybody. So for them to say he was like 200 pounds is ridiculous.”
The IBF obviously didn’t hold Jacobs’ decision against him, despite that it cost the New Jersey-based organization the sanctioning fee it could’ve received from Jacobs’ seven-figure purse if he would’ve fought for its middleweight title. Once the IBF stripped Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) for not agreeing to make his mandatory defense versus Derevyanchenko in his next fight, it ordered a bout between the top-ranked Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) and the third-ranked Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) for its unclaimed middleweight title because the No. 2 spot in its rankings is vacant.
Jacobs expects he’ll have less time between the New York State Athletic Commission’s weigh-in October 26 and the IBF’s second-day weigh-in the following morning because the NYSAC’s weigh-in will take place in the afternoon.
The NYSAC’s weigh-in for the Golovkin-Jacobs fight took place early in the morning March 17, 2017, because the NYSAC had to regulate another boxing card that night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. That would’ve meant Jacobs would’ve had to avoid adding more than 10 pounds after that official weigh-in for a longer period of time prior to the IBF’s second-day weigh-in than he will for the Derevyanchenko fight in The Theater (HBO).
“I have to make no adjustments,” Jacobs said. “See, with the Triple-G fight, everybody thought that I purposely skipped the IBF [second-day] weigh-in. No, I knew that if I beat Triple-G, I’m the champion in everyone’s eyes, regardless of what belt [I would’ve won]. So I just wanted to make sure I got the proper rest. I [didn’t] have to stress about eating a little bit and then not making weight the next day.
“I mean, to me it’s like I’ve done it before and I can get it done. But with the Triple-G fight, the dynamic was completely different. With this fight, only the IBF belt is on the line, so I have to abide by the rules, which I’m 100-percent comfortable doing. It’s just at that time, I really wanted to get my rest and I figured if I beat Triple-G, I’m the champ in everybody’s eyes.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.