By Jake Donovan
It’s rare that two fighters go into a bout sharing the exact same viewpoint. Daniel Jacobs and Sergio Mora hardly differ in opinion on what their August 1 clash represents—judgment day for a young titlist on the rise, and one last shot for a veteran former titlist who knows his way around a boxing ring.
The two collide for a secondary version of the middleweight title at Barclays Center in Jacobs’ home borough of Brooklyn, New York. The bout will air live in primetime on ESPN, as the chief support to a welterweight bout between former World junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia and Brooklyn’s own Paul Malignaggi.
Jacobs (29-1, 26KOs) comes in as the defending titlist, returning to the venue where he won his belt last August. Fight night will mark 51 weeks since his feat in becoming the first cancer survivor to go on to win a major title, doing so by stopping Jarrod Fletcher in five rounds.
His first defense came this past April, scoring a 12th round stoppage of Caleb Truax for his ninth straight win. With a major title and successful defense under his belt, the 28-year old now prepares for what he and his challenger agree will be his toughest test to date.
“I look for something negative to say and I can’t. He has overwhelming talent,” admits Mora (28-3-2, 9KOs), who points to one significant advantage he believes he enjoys in this matchup. “The thing I can say he hasn’t faced the opposition I have.
“He’s in his hometown defending his world title. I’m hungry for that world title. I know I’ll need more than a close victory to win that title. I’ll have to press the action and go out of my comfort zone, and he will have to fight outside of his comfort zone.”
Mora rose to fame a decade ago, winning the first season of The Contender, a boxing reality series that ran for four seasons in the United States. He also became the first from the series to capture a major title, scoring an upset win over Vernon Forrest in June ’08. Mora fell short in the rematch just three months later. Forrest was tragically murdered the following July, leaving their series knotted at one win apiece.
It’s been a long road back to respectability for Mora, who fought to a dull 12-round draw with Shane Mosley before dropping a pair of debatable decisions to Bryan Vera. He has since won five straight in boxing and mauling his way back into title contention.
While Jacobs comes in as a considerable favorite, he knows to expect a fight.
“Coming into this thing, I admitted he’s the most experienced fighter I’ll be stepping into the ring with,” Jacobs notes. “He has the experience, he knows what it’s like to get in a dogfight. I haven’t seen those things yet. I haven’t faced those top-notch guys yet, but that’s what I’m looking forward to.
“It’s a step in my career, like a ladder; you can’t skip steps on a ladder. I’m just trying to get that experience, most of all. I’m a young champion. I’m at where I want to be so far. It’s just about getting that experience, growing as a fighter.”
Mora plans to do everything in his power to help stunt that growth.
“He’s a special talent, and got a piece of the world championship. I’m going to be the best name on his résumé. We’re going to see how he handles a guy like me,” claims Mora.
That leaves the perceived outcome as the only aspect of the fight on which the two differ.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox