One year removed from his hotly-contested bout with pound-for-pound standout Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden, Daniel Jacobs has been on the comeback trail to re-establish himself as a top figure in boxing’s middleweight division.
Along the way, the 31-year-old Brownsville native made a business decision that could start a trend. Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) signed a collective deal with British-based promotional giant Matchroom Boxing, becoming their first fighter from American soil, and HBO.
“I’ve always tried to do things differently,” Jacobs, who previously often competed on Showtime, told amNewYork. “Now, I have a network that focuses on making me a star and a promoter who is advertising me to the world. The fact that I’m the first American boxer to do so speaks volumes. At the moment, the U.K. is the hottest place for boxing.
“They even have a Boxing Day that I wish we had here,” Jacobs added, playfully referencing the British holiday that doesn’t actually involve the sport.
After a successful first fight as part of the deal, in which he decisioned Luis Arias in November at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, Jacobs returns to Barclays Center for the sixth time in his career Saturday when he faces Maciej Sulecki in the main event. As a former world champion and cancer survivor — his nickname is “Miracle Man” — Jacobs is no stranger to obstacles both in and out of the ring. He views the 28-year-old Polish contender as a formidable step in his journey to the top.
The matchup with the undefeated Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) has been deemed an eliminator to determine a mandatory challenger for WBA champion Golovkin, who currently holds the majority of the major middleweight belts.
“I have to take every individual seriously, because in boxing it only takes one punch, so I secure myself by training hard,” Jacobs said. “[Sulecki has] been training his entire life for a chance like this, and the fight being a mandatory just adds icing to the cake. We both have something to prove.”
While the recent cancellation of Golovkin’s anticipated May 5 rematch with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez left a void in the major boxing calendar, it reopened a path for Jacobs to earn a second crack at “GGG,” whom many believe the Brooklyn native outpointed last March.
“Obviously, I wanted the rematch after the first fight,” Jacobs said, “and I still 100 percent want the opportunity to prove that it should have went in my favor, and a second wouldn’t be left to question. But, I’m willing to fight any middleweight that considers themselves the best.”