By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs tried to avoid looking down Thursday.
Jacobs and Maciej Sulecki stood face-to-face for photographers near a corner of a restaurant’s outdoor terrace, 15 stories above a Manhattan street. Jacobs admitted afterward that he is afraid of heights.
The former WBA world middleweight champion isn’t at all afraid of Sulecki, but he is wary of the undefeated contender entering their 12-round fight Saturday night in Brooklyn. Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) is listed by multiple Internet sports books as a 15-1 favorite over Poland’s Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs), yet Jacobs fully understands that Sulecki could destroy his plan to eventually land a rematch against Gennady Golovkin.
“A guy who has the mentality of nothing to lose is a very dangerous guy,” Jacobs told BoxingScene.com following their press conference Thursday. “You have to be careful. I learned that in the Sergio Mora fight. You have to be careful when a guy has his back to the wall, and you think he’s in danger or you think he has nothing to lose, you’ve gotta be careful. He can catch you with one shot and end it all. The chances of that are very unlikely, but you still have to keep that in the back of your mind. This is boxing and I believe anything can happen.”
The 28-year-old Sulecki has moved back up from 154 pounds to battle Jacobs in a middleweight match HBO will televise from Barclays Center (10 p.m. ET/PT). All but four of Sulecki’s 26 professional fights have taken place at or around the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, including a 10th-round stoppage of Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC) in June 2016.
“I don’t know if he’s the most talented or the strongest fighter I’ve ever faced,” Jacobs said. “He’s definitely one of the tallest guys I’ve ever fought, but it is yet to be seen what he’ll bring to the table come Saturday night. But I am prepared.”
Jacobs, 31, hopes their fight is more entertaining than his previous performance. He easily defeated Milwaukee’s Luis Arias (18-1, 9 KOs) in their 12-round November 11, although Arias’ reluctance to engage made for a mostly mundane matchup at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
“They put a little pressure on you, saying the fans love knockouts and in order to get the big fights you have to produce,” Jacobs said. “But it’s not nothing that I’m not used to. I have an 80-percent knockout ratio. I’ve been knocking guys out for a long time, so I know how to set it up. My last fight was a bit hard because I was in there with a guy who was trying to survive.
“This guy, I do believe he’s trying to come forward … trying to get all the opportunities he can get, and put on a great show as well. My thing is, if a guy’s coming in there to fight, it’s gonna leave him a little bit vulnerable, and those opportunities I’m really looking forward to.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.