It was just 13 months ago that Daniel Jacobs proved he was good enough to stop Gennady Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak but not quite good enough to earn the decision as Golovkin scored a narrow but unanimous win despite the fact Jacobs landed more power shots.
As well as Jacobs performed that night at Madison Square Garden, he finds himself on the periphery of the middleweight title picture. When a recent rematch between Golovkin and Saul (Canelo) Alvarez fell through after Alvarez was suspended for using a banned substance, Jacobs’ phone didn’t ring.
“No, they never reached out to me,” Jacobs said earlier this week. “I wasn’t expecting a phone call. With short notice, it’s too risky. I was training already, preparing for a fight.”
Golovkin settled for Vanes Martirosyan as his opponent May 5 in Los Angeles, while Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) faces Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) of Poland Saturday night at Barclays Center. It’s the first fight at home for the Brooklyn native since he dispatched Peter Quillin with a stunning first round TKO in December, 2015.
“To see all my Brooklyn fans, to see my family and my friends, it’s going to be a true, true reward because I haven’t been to Barclays in a very long time,” Jacobs said of his homecoming. “I’m past the point where it brings pressure to me fighting in my home town. I believe it adds more motivation to hear that ‘Brook-Lyn’ chant. There’s nothing better than that when you’re a Brooklynite.”
In his only fight since the Golovkin loss, Jacobs scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Luis Arias last Nov. 11 at Nassau Coliseum in a bout notable for the determination Arias showed to survive. Jacobs believes the undefeated Sulecki is coming to fight, and he hopes to put on a show.
“This fight is a mandatory for the WBA title,” said Jacobs, meaning the winner is next in line for the WBA belt held by Ryota Murata of Japan. “We both understand the opportunity at hand and I’m sure he’s going to bring his best game. Polish guys bring the pain, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to go for all the glory come Saturday night.
“Last performance, I got a decision, but this one, I want to go for the knockout . . . This fight is going to be two bulls coming straight at each other. There’s going to be fireworks.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn said a victory by Jacobs also would position him to become the mandatory for the IBF belt held by Golovkin or could set up a match with WBC champion Jermall Charlo, who retained his title with a second-round knockout of Hugo Centeno last Saturday at Barclays Center. Charlo is expected to be at ringside for Jacobs’ fight.
“I think Jacobs against Charlo would be a brilliant fight,” Hearn said. “Danny Jacobs would also be mandatory to Gennady Golovkin. There are so many options for him after this fight. The ultimate game is to become world middleweight champion again.”
Eventually, Jacobs wants a rematch with Golovkin, but he understands Golovkin and Alvarez likely will fight their rematch in the fall after Canelo’s suspension ends. “It’s not disappointing,” Jacobs said. “Let them get it over with.”
At the same time, Jacobs’ ultimate goal remains a rematch with Golovkin. “It’s very important,” Jacobs said. “A lot of fans truly believe I was the victor in that fight. I didn’t get the decision from the judges, but I gained a lot of respect from the boxing world in general. So, it’s about climbing that ladder and making sure I can prove that I am the best in the division.”