It started with a pinching feeling in his legs following a trip to Iraq to support American troops, within three weeks what was thought to be a pinched nerve deteriorated going from walking with a cane, to crutches and then confined to a wheelchair as boxing’s ‘Golden Child’ was given the dreaded news from a team of oncologists.
Daniel Jacobs had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, told that he would be lucky to walk again but in no uncertain terms would box which to the Brownsville man was the hardest pill to swallow.
The financial burden of having his livelihood taken away from him crept in, temporarily having to go back to Brownsville, Brooklyn to live with his mother whilst his wife Natalie provided as much as she could for him and his young son Nathaniel.
Boxing was all Jacobs knew, handcuffed further knowing that his recovery would hinder any help to Natalie financially, a frustrating period to a proud man like Jacobs, up until the life-altering news he was regularly touted as the next in line, one of the best prospects in boxing but had now hit rock bottom,
‘Stay your behind out the gym. Don’t you go to the gym; boxing is done. You’re gonna have to look for another career,'” he says doctors told him “It was devastating, but after a while it turned into a motivation because once I was able to walk again, I was like, ‘That’s half the battle,’ because I just couldn’t accept not being able to box again. I was so motivated. It was the hardest challenge that I ever faced.”
Jacobs like a man possessed got himself into the best shape of his life, using the doctor’s orders as motivation to return to the boxing ring, it took a gruelling 19 months of recovery to make that return,
“I remember my first walkout, seeing the atmosphere again, seeing the fans cheer, it was like, ‘Wow this is unbelievable.’ told sportinglife “Getting into the ring, there was no fear. It was all motivation. I wanted to prove that I can control my destiny,” he says. “I went in there, knocked the guy out in a minute and some change, and it was a sign, you know what I mean? It was a sign to take this s— full throttle because you may not have this opportunity again.”
Eleven contests followed, all victories before he landed at the feet of the Middleweight juggernaut Gennady Golovkin, the general consensus beforehand was that GGG would be too much for Jacobs but what unfolded was a performance which should have merited victory in a brilliant showing that was only denied by scores of 114-113, 115-112 and 115-112.
He had proved his point, he had nearly returned to promised glories, now a significant figure in the middleweight landscape he had came full circle this weekend with his win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Derevyanchenko had never tasted defeat up until Saturday, on one scorecard he still shouldn’t but regardless of that Jacobs produced another Miracle.
The Ukrainian is regarded as one of the best fighters in the deep Middleweight division but was made to touch down in the first following a right hand to the top of his head, the very first time he had ever been on the canvas.
The touch paper from that moment on had been lit as both men took turns to take over the fight, Derevyanchenko trying to get inside the guard of Jacobs whilst the latter tried to use a combination of the jab and right hand.
Jacobs took a split decision by scores of 113-114, 115-112 and 115-112 to crown him the IBF Middleweight champion.
“It was a very close fight,” Derevyanchenko said. “I knew that the knockdown could come back to bite me. But I felt like I was hurting him every round, controlling the action. Maybe I could have jabbed my way in a little bit more and gone to the body a little more.
“It was a great fight. He’s a tremendous competitor, and I’d like to fight him again soon.”
A great fight which we would not be opposed to seeing but for now Jacobs has other avenues open to him which would be even more so enticing, The big name which continues to arise is Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, a fight which Jacobs is happy to commandeer.
“Only time will tell, but I really feel like I’m in my prime,” Jacobs said of what might be next. “I showed true grit tonight, and I had another tank in me. [As for Alvarez], absolutely. I think that’s the fight the fans want. This would be a great fight for the fans. Let’s make the fight happen.”
It’s a vast change from being told that he may never walk again to doctors saying that he would never box again, Today Danny Jacobs continues to defy logic as he looks to reclaim the Middleweight throne once promised of him, his nickname is very fitting he has shed the moniker of ‘Golden Child’ to become the ‘Miracle Man’ Saturday he proved again that tenacity can overcome all.
Until next week, Thank you for reading #MyTake