Danny Jacobs hoping to put on a show for the fans against John Ryder
Danny Jacobs has overcome the kind of adversity that means boxing in the Alexandra Palace against popular John Ryder on Saturday doesn’t faze him.
In 2011, he suffered with a rare form of cancer that had not only stopped him from boxing, it had left him unable to walk and wondering how his life would pan out without the ability to further chase his fighting dreams.
Ten years on, the 35-year-old former world champion faces Ryder in a crucial clash at 168 to determine who moves in to pole position for big fights. Ryder wants another shot at the world title, Jacobs wants to add to a legacy that extends far beyond the ring.
“I’m feeling great,” said the New Yorker, having touched down in England. “I feel exceptionally well, my mind is focused on being victorious on Saturday and I’m going to embrace the atmosphere on Saturday night.”
Jacobs has boxed twice since a narrow loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2019. He beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in five rounds and then won a controversial decision over perennial contender Gabe Rosado in his last fight. Jacobs was unusually flat, and he said the lack of an audience for the contest at the Hard Rock in Hollywood maybe played its part.
Now he meets Ryder and it will be in front of a packed and noisy crowd and he is content to be the villain of the piece, even if it’s hard to despise ‘The Miracle Man.’
“Hate is a strong word,” Danny laughed, when asked what he thinks the Alexandra Palace crowd will think of him. “Maybe they’re going to be against me because I’m the outside guy but I’m going in to give a good show. Their energy will be motivation for me.”
Jacobs likes and respects Ryder, too, and while he comes to the UK with a big reputation, he feels scalping Ryder will only add to that. He disagreed that the assignment is high risk, low reward.
“He’s a great guy and a great fighter,” he said of Ryder. “I’m looking at it as a very important fight and he will be putting it all on the line. It’s all about perspective. I think it’s high-risk high-reward because both of us have the opportunity to go on and fight for a world title or have another big fight before fighting for a world title after this one.”
This week, Ryder called Jacobs – whose record is 37-3 with 30 knockouts – a future Hall of Famer and Jacobs modestly accepted that term.
“I agree, and I’m grateful for him saying that,” Jacobs added. “But I haven’t accomplished my ultimate goals and that’s one of my goals, to be remembered as one of the greats of my time. The goal is to be the best version of myself. I’ve been lacklustre in some fights without the crowd being there and my output hasn’t been good and I haven’t showed my fans the things they’re used to seeing from me normally. On Saturday, there will be the atmosphere to do what I can do.”
And taking on a Brit in front of his home fans is the least of Danny’s problems. Ten years ago, he had the shocking news that no one would ever want, and he overcame that with an emphatic ‘W’.
“The only time was when I was told I would never box again, when I had cancer and when I was paralysed,” when asked whether there were times he’d never be in this position again. “I have had a lot of adversity but I take that like an opponent coming to give me an ‘L’ and I figure out a way to beat the opponent, in life or in the ring.”
John Ryder – I needed this fight against Danny Jacobs