Daniel Jacobs Pulverizes Sergio Mora, READING, Pa. – It isn’t particularly unusual for big-time boxing to play off-Broadway these days, or off-Flatbush Avenue for that matter. What took place here Saturday night in the Santander Arena, however, could become the new reality for a sport whose former fever-pitch prominence on the East Coast suddenly seems in danger of fading even more so than has been the case in recent years.
Daniel Jacobs, the popular Brooklyn, N.Y., native who retained his WBA “regular” middleweight championship with a personally satisfying, intentionally brutal seventh-round stoppage of Sergio Mora, insists that his next title bout will be on an undisclosed date in mid-December at the Barclays Center in his favorite New York City borough, where he has fought five times before increasingly larger and more supportive audiences. The 29-year-old “Miracle Man,” so dubbed after his successful and inspirational comeback from bone cancer, also has made four other ring appearances in the Big Apple, including three in Madison Square Garden.
“Make no mistake, that’s not going to have an effect on whether or not I fight in New York,” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) insisted in his dressing room after he mercilessly floored Mora (28-5-2, 9 KOs) five times, a total that might have risen to seven had not referee Gary Rosato ruled that two other trips to the canvas by the challenger in the sixth round were the result of pushes rather than punches. “I want to clear that up. This (his rematch victory over Mora taking place in Reading instead of Brooklyn) has nothing to do with insurance and the whole commission thing. For whatever reason, it was determined beforehand that we were coming here. We have to spread the love around, but I’ll be back home in December and headlining at the Barclays Center.”
Perhaps Jacobs’ confidence of a triumphant return to the Brooklyn ring wars three months hence is warranted, but that date is hardly carved in stone. On Sept. 1, legislation went into effect in the State of New York that required all promoters of boxing matches and other martial-arts competitions to purchase a minimum of $1 million per show to cover medical, surgical and hospital care for the treatment of life-threatening injuries. Some have linked the new law to the devastating damage suffered by heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov in his 10-round, unanimous-decision loss to Mike Perez on Nov. 2, 2013, at the Garden. Abdusalamov suffered serious and permanent brain injuries, which continue to produce “staggering” medical bills.
Several New York promoters, including Lou DiBella and Joe DeGuardia, have stated that, unless there is a prompt modification of the legislation mandating the enormous cost hike involving insurance for boxers, they may no longer be able to afford putting on fight cards in Manhattan, Brooklyn or anywhere else in the Empire State. Given that another favored destination, Atlantic City, N.J., has become a virtual ghost town for major bouts because of its casino-industry woes, fighters who for the most part prefer to ply their trade in the Eastern Time Zone, like Jacobs, Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev, might have to reassess their location priorities or take a look at off-the-beaten-track venues like the Santander Arena, which, in Jacobs-Mora II, was hosting its most significant boxing card since WBC/WBA/IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins defended those belts by trouncing Carl Daniels, who quit on his stool after 10 one-sided rounds on Feb. 2, 2002, when the place was still known as the Sovereign Center.
Asked if there was a cause-and-effect reason as to why Jacobs-Mora II – Jacobs also won the first go-around, on a second-round stoppage on Aug. 1, 2015, at the Barclays Center – wound up in Reading, a blue-collar Pennsylvania city with a population of 88,000 located 60 miles west of Philadelphia – one knowledgeable source, who asked not to be identified, said, “Why do you think they had this fight in Reading? The (New York State Athletic) Commission could have changed (the insurance mandate), and they chose not to. Right now there’s not a fight scheduled in New York City.”
The always-high-and-getting-higher cost of doing boxing business in New York aside, Jacobs’ Reading road trip was intriguing in its own right. Just nine months earlier, in his “Battle of Brooklyn” showdown with fellow borough resident Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, Jacobs had raised the roof, not to mention his own profile, before a very vocal crowd of 8,843 with an electrifying, one-round technical knockout, for which he was paid a career-high $1.5 million.
Since his blowout of Quillin, Jacobs and his support team were frustrated by fruitless attempts to procure prestigious clashes with WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) and British middleweight titlist Chris Eubank Jr. (23-1, 18 KOs). Not disposed to idle any longer, Team Jacobs finally consented to taking an optional defense against the 35-year-old Mora, who was only rated No. 15 by the WBC and had been constantly harping on the fact he had scored a knockdown of Jacobs in the first round before being taken out himself in the following round.
As the rematch that no one seemed to want, including himself, drew near, Jacobs said that he was on a mission to not only make Mora his 12th consecutive victim inside the distance, but to do so in as pulverizing a fashion as possible.
“I want to hurt this man,” he said, insisting that his public ire was not merely standard prefight rhetoric. “I want to make him feel pain. I want to punch him in the face.”
Mission accomplished. Mora, whose nickname is “The Latin Snake,” apparently used up all his venom in the obligatory war of words. Inside the ropes, where boasts and insults are superfluous, it was soon apparent he was tossing beanbags at Jacobs and getting hit with sledgehammer swings in return.
“It just made me want to inflict a little bit more pain than I normally go into a fight wanting to do,” Jacobs said. “Obviously, I like knockouts. For this one, I actually wanted to hurt the man because … I don’t say disrespect, because of the tactics he used to get the rematch.”
Said Mora, a former WBC super welterweight titlist: “The guy punches really hard. He’s big and powerful. I knew I would have to catch him with a few shots and take him into the later rounds. I was doing that until my legs wouldn’t recover. You really need your legs to wake up when you get buzzed.”
But for all the firepower Jacobs unleashed upon Mora, the main event might as well have been staged at the opera or the ballet. “The Miracle Man’s” Brooklyn Battalion largely chose to stay home rather than to make the 150-mile journey to Reading, leaving the decibel count to be hiked to jet aircraft-takeoff levels by supporters of Robert Easter Jr., the Toledo, Ohio, native who took on Ghana’s Richard Commey for the vacant IBF lightweight championship.
Although Commey registered the only knockdown in the bout, in the seventh round, the taller, rangier Easter won the 12th and final round on two of the three official scorecards to eke out a split decision by scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 113-114.
“When I’m in the ring, I really don’t hear much,” said Easter, who was told that his Toledo fans – who had to come 487 miles to be in the house – accounted for 70 percent of the paid attendance, and, unofficially, maybe 95 percent of the noise. “That’s my time to zone out. But I do realize the love and support is there. It’s truly a blessing.”
Commey opined that “TBT” – which is what Easter calls “The Bunny Team” – influenced the judges, to his detriment. “I feel like I won,” Commey said. “I did everything I could. I landed the more accurate shots. I came from very far, and it’s hard to win here versus an American. I was devastated when I heard the scores.”
Other bouts of interest on the 11-fight card found fringe heavyweight contender Travis Kauffman (31-1, 23 KOs), scoring a second-round TKO of 42-year-old Joshua Dempsey (22-6, 21 KOs), who was unable to continue after apparently dislocating his left shoulder, and 36-year-old former IBF welterweight champ Kermit Cintron (38-5-2, 29 KOs), also of Reading, stopping Manny Woods (15-6-1, 5 KOs) in seven rounds.
Jacobs is hoping that December scrap in Brooklyn, or somewhere in close proximity to it, will come against Gennady Golovkin, whom many consider to be the best 160-pounder on the planet (an opinion reinforced by Golovkin’s showing vs. Kell Brook on Saturday in London). Or it might be against Saunders or Eubank, if an equitable division of the purse can be reached, or former WBO middleweight ruler Andy Lee of Ireland, who also has tossed his Tam into the ring of possible opponents.
“I want to prove to the world I’m the best middleweight,” Jacobs said, leaving the door open to anyone and anything that might be agreeable to his terms. As always in the fight game, such details constitute large and important `ifs.’
Daniel Jacobs Pulverizes Sergio Mora / Check out the Jacobs-Mora 2 wrap up video featuring Kid Hersh at The Boxing Channel.