By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs owned a portion of the WBA’s fragmented middleweight championship for 2½ years.
Never during that reign did Jacobs feel as though he was really recognized as a world champion. That distinction belonged to Gennady Golovkin, who was correctly considered the WBA’s true middleweight champion when Jacobs owned the WBA’s world 160-pound crown.
Golovkin clarified that situation when he beat Jacobs by unanimous decision in their March 2017 bout at Madison Square Garden.
Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs) fought well versus Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), even overcame a fourth-round knockdown to win several rounds thereafter. But Golovkin won a unanimous decision in their 12-rounder (115-112, 115-112, 114-113) and Jacobs left The Garden a former champion that night.
On Saturday night, however, Jacobs can win what will be considered a more legitimate middleweight title. The Brooklyn native will face Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF 160-pound championship in a 12-round main event HBO will televise from The Theater at Madison Square Garden (10 p.m. ET/PT).
They’ll fight for the title the IBF stripped from Golovkin four months ago for failing to agree to make a mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night,” said Keith Connolly, who manages Jacobs and Derevyanchenko. “Danny’s really looked forward to this the last 14 years. I know he won the WBA title, but you always have those writers out there that would call it the secondary title and they’d always point that out. I know that would always bother Danny.
“So this is really a chance for Danny to win his first real world title. And I know he’s in great shape, I know Sergiy’s in great shape and I really, really expect a great night of boxing. There’s really nothing better than a title fight in Madison Square Garden.”
Jacobs, 31, won the WBA world middleweight title by stopping Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher (then 18-1) in the fifth round of an August 2014 fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Derevyanchenko has limited professional experience (12-0, 10 KOs), but he is widely viewed as a much more formidable foe than Fletcher.
“You’re not gonna wanna miss this fight,” said Jacobs, who was stopped by Russia’s Dmitry Pirog in the fifth round of his first title shot in July 2010. “It’s gonna be a stellar fight, a competitive fight. This guy has tremendous skills and you guys know that I bring everything I have inside that square ring.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.