DANNY JACOBS INSPIRED BY ALGIERI — If your name is “Miracle Man” Danny Jacobs and you’re fighting undefeated middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden on HBO Pay-Per-View a week after seeing fellow Brooklynite Curtis Stevens knocked out cold in upstate New York by left hooker David Lemieux on HBO BAD, you might be looking for some extra inspiration. Something to believe in. Someone who believes in you.
Something out of a Rocky movie will do.
Cerebral Assassin Stevens ended up looking like Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa after Clubber Lang wiped the mat with him in their first big screen battle. Victim of a perfectly timed left hook, Stevens was down and out for several minutes while his visibly concerned mother (!) stood by at ringside. In 1982’s ROCKY III, Balboa’s beloved trainer Mickey expired in the dressing room as Rocky was counted out of time. Never one to be outdone in the miracle department, the aptly named “Miracle Man” has an ace up his sleeve for his big shot at Golovkin.
“You never want to see people you’ve known for a long time end up like that,” said Jacobs of Stevens being laid out in three. “This is a reminder of how brutal boxing can be and it’s not a good feeling,” admitted Jacobs. To that point, if Jacobs were to hear what some fans and media are saying about his chances to upset Triple G on Saturday, you couldn’t blame the cancer survivor for being crestfallen.
“This is boxing,” says Jacobs. “I know what can happen.”
Fortunately for Jacobs, in his camp for this fight is a fellow New Yorker; former world champ Chris Algieri. In 2014, Algieri overcame two early knockdowns and a hideously swollen right eye to box his way to a twelve round decision victory over a marauding Ruslan Provodnikov at the Barclays in Brooklyn to win the WBO junior welterweight crown. Major media outlets called it the upset of the year. It was another glaring example of the fact that anything can happen in boxing, including unexpected upsets by undeterred underdogs.
Like Jacobs against Golovkin, few gave Algieri a chance to defeat the Siberian Rockywhen the pair met in the ring. “I told Chris what an inspiration it was for me to be there in Brooklyn when he captured that title,” said Jacobs, himself a WBA champ. The dramatic overview photo of an overjoyed Algieri celebrating as new world champion with his “cut me Mick” eye injury is one sight Jacobs won’t ever forget.
“That’ll always be memorable,” Jacobs said.
I asked Jacobs about his relationship with Algieri and about the encouragement he must draw from having such a proven warrior in his corner. “It [Algieri-Provodnikov] was just like a Rocky movie, the perfect story for Chris; to see him get off the canvas, continue to fight, have that big swollen eye — and still give it his all when most guys would’ve quit. Having a guy who hasthat experience and has captured his own championship memories like the memories I’m trying to create, it can only add inspiration,” Jacobs told TSS during fight week.
I asked Algieri, who Jacobs calls the best nutritionist he’s ever had, about his role as motivational cook for avery hungry fighter. “It’s a similar situation to me [versus Provodnikov] with Danny as the underdog [versus Golovkin] and people all saying what they’re saying about what’s gonna happen. During my camp for the Provodnikov bout, we had no doubt about what was gonna happen. The momentum and positivity was way up and I was just ready to perform. I’m feeling that same way now being in Team Jacobs’ camp.”
“Danny’s done the work. We know he’s prepared,” concluded Algieri. “Chris believes one hundred percent in my ability to win and I’m one hundred percent prepared,” said Jacobs.The Miracle Man has a strong self-belief and a Rocky-esque chef who believes in him. Danny Jacobs must now prove he can stand the intense heat inside Triple G’s KO kitchen. That’s a tall order for any middleweight.
Danny Jacobs believes he can deliver it on March 18.
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Jeffrey Freeman covers boxing in New England for The Sweet Science