Fight fans will be able to check out two of the top tier of prospect/contenders on Saturday, in Juan Manuel Lopez and Victor Ortiz. One rung down is New Yorker Danny Jacobs, who showed that he’ll be one to watch in the middleweight ranks as he became the first man to stop George Walton in the main event of Friday Night Fights at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona.

No, he didn’t elevate himself into the buzz-zone of JuanMa or Ortiz, but he did just about everything pretty darn well, if nothing overwhelmingly exceptionally, and this bodes well for his future.

After having his way with Walton from the opening bell, the calm Jacobs stepped up his output in measured increments, and finished off the loser in the eighth. He is the No. 8 middleweight according to the WBA, and some might argue that’s too high for a guy who hasn’t fought more than eight round. But after you get past the champions, 160 isn’t an overly fertile field; Jacobs stacks up nicely right in that top 5 to top 10 neighborhood.

Jacobs (age 22; four time NY GG champion; 16-0 entering) had sparred with Walton (age 35; 20-3 entering; lives in Queens, NY) a year ago, and got the better of the practice session. Jacobs started out composed, and he has a likeable jab. He had a good four inches on Walton, a more muscled type who features good head movement mostly. In the second, Jacobs scored a knockdown, though it was more of a balance issue, from a cuffing left on the neck. In the third, Jacobs fought effectively backing up, most of the time, until the last minute. Then he piled up combos, while Walton wasn’t able to find a working gameplan. In round four, we saw Jacobs sometimes paw the jab, instead of snap it. They fought in an NYC studio apartment for a bunch of the fourth, a better place for Walton to be than Jacobs. Or so you’d think. Jacobs shortened up his punches a tad, and smacked Walton around. A cut from a clash appeared over Jacobs’ right eye, but it didn’t look all that threatening.

In the fifth, we saw Jacobs in complete control. He mixed speeds, and Walton was hung up on the ropes at the rounds’ close. Jacobs often backs up, and as him man stalks him, he sees an opening, and fires first. In the sixth, Walton was even more spent. In the seventh, we wondered if Walton would fold, but no, he hung in. In eight, it looked like we’d see a stop. Walton ate and ate, and wouldn’t go down. But the ref saw enough, and stepped in at 1:59.

Jacobs said after his knuckle hurt, and that impacted his jab, but he powered past it. He also said that the cut didn’t bother him much. He has a pleasing personality, please put Jacobs on the TSS Ones To Watch List.

Deontay Wilder (6-0, 6 KOs), the bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympic Games, took out part-time pugilist Kelsey Arnold in a heavyweight scrap. Wilder has reach galore, and Mark Breland is showing him the pro game. This was the fifth straight first round KO for Wilder, and he did it with a crushing right. The loser dropped, on his back, goodnight Irene. The time was 1:13.
People say he just started boxing in 2005. Um, he was an Olympian, he’s been doing this for about five years. He’s not a neophyte. C’mon, step it up, and book him some bouts that will test him, Shelly Finkel.

SPEEDBAG Atlas said that the heavyweight landscape is bare, and wide open for someone with solid traits, which Wladimir Klitschko has. Teddy said he’ be traveling to Russia on Saturday to help train Alexander Povetkin, for a two week trail period, to see how well they mesh. Ve-rrrry interesting. What do you make of this, TSS U?

–David Haye surfaced, via a phone call to Brian Kenny in studio. “I like to call him Wladimir ‘The Cure For Insomnia’ Klitschko,” Haye cracked. Haye, who pulled out two weeks before he and Wlad were due to clash, said he would’ve strategized, as opposed to Chagaev, and he would’ve moved his head and his feet. He’d come in and out of range, throw punches in bunches, and show intensity, the ex cruiser champ said. “I’ll be ready to go end of July,” the 28-year-old Brit said. A fight with either Klitschko would be his preference when his back is fully healed.

—Oscar De La Hoya chatted with Joe Tessitore and Atlas ringside before the main event. Oscar said nobody wants to fight Shane Mosley because he took down Antonio Margarito. Mosley/Pacman is still a ball in play, Oscar said, but he’d like that fight to be at 147, not a catchweight tussle.