by Lee Groves/CompuBox TV
Nearly eight months ago, Daniel Jacobs lost a close but unanimous decision to three-belt middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Despite absorbing his first defeat in nearly seven years, Jacobs’ career path appears surprisingly bright.
How is that possible, you may be asking. Here’s how: First, Jacobs’ performance once he arose from a fourth-round knockdown was effective enough for many to declare him the rightful winner. One stat that supports that opinion is that Jacobs led 145-127 in landed power shots, a department Golovkin usually dominates. Second, Jacobs, previously aligned with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, signed multi-fight deals with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and, as part of the Matchroom deal, with HBO in September. The first fight of those deals will take place Saturday at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. when Jacobs meets undefeated Milwaukee middleweight Luis Arias. Finally, should Jacobs defeat Arias as expected, he will be positioned to exploit several potentially lucrative options. One is to fight the winner of the Golovkin-Saul Alvarez rematch. Another is to fight the winner of the December 16 match between WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux, win the WBO belt and challenge the GGG-Canelo winner to a fight for the undisputed championship. Finally, should he unite all the belts, Jacobs wants to make his mark at 168 and fade into the sunset. With all these story lines in the offing, it’s no surprise that Jacobs wants to take full advantage by staying active.
“I’ll be fighting a minimum of three times in 2018,” Jacobs told “Inside Boxing Live” host Dan Canobbio on the October 30 show. “It’s going to be a very busy year for me, something that I’m very grateful for because all boxers want to stay busy and active and give the fans what they want to see. HBO is one of the premier and biggest networks that’s out there, so if you’re directly affiliated with a network, then that’s guaranteed success, especially if they’re investing into you. So that means they want to make you a superstar, so everybody can win across the board. It’s just a win-win situation for me. I think this opportunity in my life, my career, this new chapter is going to be a great one.”
But before he can experience the new chapter that awaits him, he needs to defeat Arias, who scored a minor upset this past June 17 by stopping the previously undefeated Arif Magomedov in five rounds. However, the statistical margins Arias produced weren’t as lopsided as the final result. Averaging 55.4 punches per round to Magomedov’s 47.3, Arias led just 74-61 overall and 57-44 power while prevailing 30%-29% overall and 45%-34% power. History suggests that if Jacobs could drag Arias into the middle portion of this scheduled 12-rounder (the first of Arias’ pro career), he could exploit the prospect’s tendency to throttle down his volume after producing fast starts. Donyil Livingston survived Arias’ strong performance out of the blocks (48-25 overall, 40-14 power in the first two rounds), then managed to out-land him 21-16 in the sixth and final round, the only time he was able to out-perform Arias.
A similar scenario unfolded nearly 10 months later against veteran journeyman Dashon Johnson as Arias dominated the first five rounds (126-91 overall, 107-59 power) only to be out-landed 49-44 overall and 44-43 power in rounds six through eight. Conversely, Jacobs proved against Caleb Truax that he still has plenty of late-round pop (he scored a 12th round TKO) and that he could hang with the very best down the stretch by performing so well against Golovkin. Jacobs is rightly called “The Miracle Man” for his heroic comeback from cancer, but he won’t need a miracle to beat Arias, who he should stop sometime in the middle rounds.
“I’m looking to make a name for myself and 2018 is going to be that year,” Jacobs said. “No holds barred.”