Daniel Jacobs doesn’t care who he fights next week; all he knows is that he’s knocking somebody out.
Of course, the preference for the 32-year old Brooklyn native is his originally scheduled opponent, which for the moment remains Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The pair of former middleweight titlists are slated to collide Dec. 20 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, although their DAZN headliner remains dependent upon Chavez Jr. clearing up lingering issues that could prevent him from being licensed on fight night.
The second-generation boxer is currently under a temporary suspension with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), with whom he has filed a lawsuit and is seeking a restraining order which would go a long way towards being licensed by the Arizona Boxing and MMA Commission next week. Should that remain an issue, or any other issue that would prevent him from making it to the ring, a backup plan has been secured in the form of former title challenger Gabriel Rosado (24-12-1, 14KOs).
All that matters to Jacobs, is having someone to fight.
“I’m a fighter, it’s exactly what we do,” Jacobs (35-3, 29KOs) noted during a recent media conference call to discuss the upcoming event, which will mark his debut in the super middleweight division. “We go in, we fight and give the fans exactly what we want to see.
“That’s what I’m going to do on December 20th, whether it’s Chavez Jr. or Rosado.”
The obvious easier sell is Mexico’s Chavez Jr. (51-3-1, 33KOs), who is by far the biggest name in the room and the most appealing option to a market well outside of Jacobs’ marketing comfort zone. Chavez Jr. ended a 27-month ring hiatus this past August, scoring a 1st round knockout of Evert Bravo before resurfacing this fall to accept this assignment.
Chavez Jr’s status became problematic when he was hit with a temporary suspension after failing to comply with the terms of a random drug test as ordered by the NSAC when the event was tentatively slated to take place in Las Vegas. It’s a matter now for a courtroom to decide, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Meanwhile, the show has to go on for Jacobs, who will fight for the first time since a competitive 12-round defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their three-belt middleweight unification clash this past May in Las Vegas. The heartbreaking loss ended his second middleweight title reign as well as—for now—his days as a 160-pound fighter.
From the moment this fight was announced, Chavez Jr. has been viewed as an insurance risk long before his license status became an issue. With that in mind, Jacobs has been forced to prepare for either fight night scenario while himself also switching trainer, as he is now working with local training guru Fareed Saleem.
Ever the professional, the former champ insists it’s otherwise been business as usual regardless of who winds up in the opposite corner next weekend.
“Whether I fight Chavez or Gabe Rosado, stylistically it’s similar,” Jacobs insists. “Certain guys, you need unique style for sparring. One guy has more pressure than the other but it’s around the same skillset. Chavez pressures fighters more so than Rosado. He has that more Mexican style of fighting that comes forward.
“Obviously if I don’t fight Chavez who we signed up to fight, that would be a huge disappointment. But that won’t deter me to go in and do my job, to put in a great performance for the fans. This is an opportunity to fight for the fans in Phoenix. There will be people who tune in to see a good fight so it’s my responsibility to do my job and put in a great performance.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com, Twitter: @JakeNDaBox