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Daniel Jacobs: It takes a strong mind to beat Gennady Golovkin

Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions
12
Jan

Most fans that view Daniel Jacobs as a legitimate threat to Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight reign do so because of the Brooklyn native’s undeniable talent and physical tools. They figure if a welterweight like Kell Brook was able to get his licks in against the unified middleweight titleholder before being stopped in five rounds last September, the 29-year-old American middleweight can do a lot more.

Jacobs, who challenges Golovkin for the Kazakhstan native’s WBA, IBF and WBC titles in New York City on March 18, agrees with that reasoning but adds that his character will be his best asset when the top two middleweights meet at Madison Square Garden.

Mental fortitude, Jacobs (32-1, 29 knockouts) told boxing writers before Wednesday’s Los Angeles press conference for the HBO Pay Per View main event, is every bit as important as his style, size, speed and power.

“It takes a real strong mind to take advantage of some of those holes we saw in Golovkin’s game against Brook,” Jacobs said when asked what it would take to unseat the unbeaten Golovkin, who has stopped his last 23 opponents. “Brook didn’t have the size, reach or power to do it. We knew he wouldn’t win but we also knew he’d expose some of Golovkin’s flaws.

“I’m a boxer-puncher and I have a really good chance.”

Jacobs is the underdog against Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs), but fans, media and odds makers are giving him more of a chance to win his next fight than doctors gave him to continue boxing when he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in the spring of 2011. The form of bone cancer, which manifested as a fist-sized tumor that was wrapped around his spine, threatened Jacobs’ ability to walk, perhaps even his life, but according to his trainer and father figure, Andre Rozier, he never gave into despair.

“Danny was in a wheelchair after the surgery to remove the tumor, he couldn’t walk, but he had a big smile on his face,” Rozier said.

“He told me he couldn’t wait to get back into the gym. And, eventually, he showed up (to the gym), walking with a cane and wearing a back brace. He moved like he was 8,000 years old, and it hurt so much for him to move that he grunted while trying to shadow box, but he never lost his faith.”

Jacobs, who also underwent radiation treatments after the surgery, laughed when recalling his first sparring session.

“My first time back sparring, I was in with a little guy, probably 40 pounds lighter,” he said. “He hit me with a hook that shook me to my feet. I asked myself ‘Do I really want this?”

He obviously did. Less than 18 months after being diagnosed, Jacobs was back in the in the ring. Jacobs has scored 10 consecutive stoppages since his return in October 2012, including a first-round TKO of top-five rated Peter Quillin in December 2015.

“His hardest battle has been won and he faced it like a true warrior,” said Rozier, who stressed that Jacobs’ mettle shouldn’t be overlooked.

Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/K2 Promotions

“First and foremost, he’s not afraid. He has nothing to fear. Danny has speed. Danny has what I call sharp punching power – it’s the punching power you don’t see, that’s what gets you in trouble. And Danny is a mobile and elusive fighter.

“At times he wants to be the aggressive fighter and sometimes I might have to yell and scream at him, but that’s his nature. When he fights he fights.

“Those are the things that are going to make the difference in this. Gennady has a way of intimidating his opponents. If you’re not intimidated you’re gonna see a difference. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, outside of the ring he’s fantastic, but inside the ring he becomes – and wants to be – a bully. And we all know what happens when a bully faces someone he can’t bully. It becomes a harder night, it becomes a more difficult task.”

Jacobs believes that most of Golovkin’s opponents allowed themselves to be mentally bullied even before they took the first punch from the powerful pressure fighter.

“I think nine times out of 10 that’s mostly what happens with his opponents,” said Jacobs, who holds the “regular” version of the WBA title, which makes him the mandatory challenger for the WBA’s “super” title that Golovkin holds. “You think of the power, the pressure, the intimidation, most guys, really, are beaten even before they step into the ring.

“My mental state is so strong, I wanted this fight. I called Gennady Golovkin out before the WBA mandated it. A lot of people were saying I didn’t want this fight because negotiations were taking so long. No, I wanted this fight. I truly, deeply in my heart wanted this fight. There’s nothing about Gennady that intimidates me, there’s nothing about him that scares me. We’re men. We both can be hurt and this is boxing. May the best man win.”

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer and on Periscope

  • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

    roberts going to have a field day with this article

    • Ciscostudent561

      I’m beginning to think he’s a parody account yo

      • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

        has to be

    • Stephen M

      Well, Dougie is a good journalist and used the cancer thing to show that Jacobs is solid between the ears, he kept a solid moral and believed he would be back to the fight game. Self belief is useful in boxing. Dougie didn’t just used it to fill in a few lines to get his word count up.
      The Woods article was corny and tacky: “He beat that bastard (cancer) down”.

      • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

        i have no problem with anybody mentioning him beating cancer anybody who does that and then comes back to the top of such a tough business has to be appreciated and should be mentioned imo massive respect for that no problem with it on my part all credit to him.
        in regards to Doug i have nothing but the upmost respect for him and what he does imo he is impartial and gets involved with the fans through the mailbag which has to be respected.

        • Stephen M

          Well, maybe you are right. No disrespect to Jacobs, and this is not a criticism of him, but at a certain point it seems to ME like the journalistic equivalent of cat videos. YMMV.

        • Robert Archambault

          If Jacobs beats GGG he will be at the top of the business. He cannot come BACK to the top, because he was never at the top before. Reading this article show to me that both Jacobs and his team are terrible at evaluating his opponent. They are looking at GGG’s performance against ONE fighter who could not have hurt Golovkin if he had brought a baseball bat into the ring. They will pay the price for that in the ring.

          • fracture

            Shame on GGG for wanting to beat on a cancer patient. Shame!

          • IRISHBOXING NUT STEVIE

            come on now Robert to be fighting at the level he has been is the top of his profession to say otherwise makes you look silly and a little bitter to somebody you dont know personally i am all for supporting ggg i really like him as well but you cant shit on every other boxer in the sport unless their name is ggg

          • Robert Archambault

            And what level has he been fighting at? He has ONE tough fight on his resume, ONE fighter who has held a title, Quillin. That’s it, that’s all. MORA was able to knock him down! How many top 10 ranked opponents has he fought? One? That does not make for the ‘top of his profession’, no matter how you try to spin it.

      • Robert Archambault

        Bingo! Dougie went into the history in more depth and did not treat Jacobs’ fight against cancer as if it was an opponent he beat single handedly in a boxing ring. He gave it the appropriate weight and importance and used it to show Jacobs’ solid belief in himself.
        It still will not make the slightest difference when GGG knocks him silly in the ring. 🙂

  • Ewan Leaper

    If Golovkin gets tagged as easily as he did against Brook then I’ll stand corrected but I do believe he kept to his word and had a tear up with Brook because he knew he wouldn’t get hurt. I genuinely believe that Golovkin has the skills to fight a smarter fight against Jacobs and we shouldn’t read too much into the Brook fight. Jacobs probably won’t go balls to the wall like Brook did either, he appears genuinely confident in his boxing ability and I expect a different, more respectful fight.

    • Barley mcgrew

      I fully agree GGG is a versatile fighter – and one who took liberties with Brook that he would be most unwise to take against Jacobs. And I have Golovkin winning impressively. But Jacobs – rather shaky as that chin no doubt is – is a large, versatile middleweight who can punch. And he’s fast – faster than GGG. And that does afford the New York boxer-puncher some sort of chance of pulling off the upset in there – most unlikely as that is too happen (dito if Golovkin was fighting boxer-puncher Eubank jr – far more durable than Jacobs (almost certainly) yet not as powerful a puncher. Cheers mate.

      • Koninbeor

        I agree that there’s some real danger here, and that makes it exciting. Jacobs has a better chance of hurting GGG than David Lemieux did. He’s much more accurate with his punches. GGG can’t just let himself get hit like he did with Brook. If he can be hurt, Jacobs is the one to find out.

        • Barley mcgrew

          Yep. Jacobs has speed and that accuracy you speak of – and he can also be elusive if needed. Where Lemieux was more just a strong, face-first brawler there to be hit and hurt – and GGG did just that.

          Any fighter who has a chance against GGG MUST possess versatility IMO (a Jacobs or a Eubank Jr come to mind). And guys like Stevens and Lemieux – exciting as hell as they may be – are always going to be tailor made for the technically-adept Kazakh pressure fighter (as our Tony Sibsno was against the technically-adept pressure of Hagler). Kudos.
          .

          • Koninbeor

            Do you think Eubank is ready for him, though? Stylistically I see your point but I’m not sure if Eubank needs a year or two more under his belt first. Ward would just be a nightmare for GGG. I always thought so but even more after seeing his ability to absorb Kovalev’s heavy hands.

          • Barley mcgrew

            Absolutely. I don’t see Eubank Jr ever defeating GGG – although he has the style to do so. I also agree Ward is all wrong for GGG (although the Kazakh is a superior puncher and technician to Kovalev) – just simply too big and too crafty. Kudos mate.
            .

  • IanF69

    If you can bang ..GGG fights behind a solid and strong jab, only throwing power shots when he knows he is in range.
    If he feels that you don’t have the power required to bother him, he will just walk through whatever you throw and take you out….Ruthlessly.

  • Charlie U.

    Doug, you weren’t allowed to mention cancer. Brace yourself for a cyber attack.

  • Floridastorm

    Calling GGG a bully? One of the best skilled technicians in the ring does not have to rely upon being a bully. He approaches every fight the same. In superb condition, using all of his skills, and using his incredible punching power when needed. I would tend to say that taking on a 2nd rate fighter with limited punching power in Mora, and taking him on twice, is the definition of a bully. The fact that Pirog knocked this guy out cold fairly easily and feather fisted Mora knocked him down, does not bode well for Jacobs. How many times was Mora knocked down and then got up to continue fighting. What kind of punching power does Jacobs really have. After all, except for Quillan, who has he fought? Plus, Jacobs was at full conditioning for the Pirog fight. Against Mora he looked lethargic and pretty bad defensively as Mora was able to hit him flush quite a bit. I think this may be a pretty decent fight for as long as it lasts. If Jacobs starts to bang with GGG, as he did with Pirog, it may be over before the fans get comfortable.

  • Michel Desgrottes

    People want Jacobs to in gun slinging, but maybe he needs a methodical approach with strong mental fortitude to find success, I’m glad to see he’s thinking strongly about strategy and confidence

    • Rosalino Sanchez Felix

      if you are betting 1,000 bucks on the winner, who would you choose?

      • Michel Desgrottes

        i don’t bet on boxing or any sporting event with rivalries attached, too much what ifs and momentums can switch quickly

  • Robert Archambault

    The same shit that we heard from Lemieux and from just about every GGG opponent. IF Jacobs and his team thinks they saw weaknesses to exploit in the Brook fight, maybe they need to take a look at the Lemieux fight and see how many time GGG let himself get tagged by him. I find it distressing that professionals in the sport are not bright enough to notice that Golovkin never fights the same way against two different opponents. If they think Jacobs will find him as easily as Brook did, they are going to get a very rude awakening. Once Jacobs gets up off the mat, that is.

    • bradman

      I guess I’m in the minority, because I think Jacobs has no chance in this fight. Everything he can do Tri-G does 10 times better. If team Jacobs really are basing their strategy off of only the brook fight, it’s gonna be a short night. Miracle Man, meet The Sandman!

      • Robert Archambault

        I agree totally. I do not think Jacobs has a chance in hell of even lasting the distance, much less winning this fight. How long it lasts is completely dependant on the mood GGG is in that night. If he feels like getting in some extra work after a long layoff, he may take it into the later rounds. If he wants to make a statement, he could end it early. I would love to see him take Jacobs out as fast as possible and then make a huge point of calling out BJS for the final title and all the other big talkers who won’t get their ass in the ring. Except for Canelo. I would love to see him dismiss Canelo completely as nothing but talk and that he has no title to bring to the party anyways. 🙂

        • bradman

          I see this fight going very much the same way the Lemieux fight went. GGG will box respective of Jacobs’ power, gradually wearing the Brooklynite down to an 8th or 9th round TKO.

    • bradman

      Btw I agree Robert with your assessment that GGG (and many other top level fighters) doesn’t fight the same way against different opponents. If he did that he wouldn’t be at the level he’s at. That’s what the Rouseys of the world do; not the Golovkins.

  • Mauro Hermida

    Jacobs will have a plan till he gets hit…then he will be on his bike.

    • Barley mcgrew

      ‘Everybody has a plan……until they get punched in the face’.

  • Rosalino Sanchez Felix

    GGG a bully? so being the consummate professional fighter makes you a bully now?

  • Reggie Woodard

    “He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, outside of the ring he’s fantastic, but inside the ring he becomes – and wants to be – a bully. And we all know what happens when a bully faces someone he can’t bully. It becomes a harder night, it becomes a more difficult task.” –Andre Rozier

    -Bully is often used euphemistically in boxing. GGG likes to fight on his terms, always wants to dictate the pace, and of course(as evidenced by the sublime KO streak) separate his opponent from his senses sooner than later.

    Some of you guys latch on to anything in an article. Try standing across the ring from a stone cold killer like Golovkin and see if you dont do everything in your brain power to create some semblance of self belief and confidence.

  • fracture

    Shame on Golovkin for wanting to beat on a cancer patient. Shame!

  • denver

    LOl everyone saying GGG is easy to hit, GGG is former olympian, He can box, His jab is solid. GGG is more dangerous when he box and break you down slowly like what he did to Lemiuex

  • Brandon McMorries

    Good article, Doug! Well written with a strong finish. I always enjoy your mailbag, and in it we tend to overlook your gift as a writer. Kudos.

  • AngelMorningstar

    He’s gonna look just like Curtis Stevens did the moment his ass hits the canvas and he realizes the true power of GGG only then will this Jedi know the powa!

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