Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs defeated Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for the vacant WBA regular middleweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and on Showtime, on Saturday night. The Showtime crew made mention of Jacobs becoming the first cancer-survivor to win a world title.
While Jacobs’ solid win is noteworthy, it’s equally important to note that Jacobs is not the top man at middleweight, even for the WBA. The WBA super champion (whatever that means) is Gennady Golovkin. Other world titleholders include Miguel Cotto (TBRB, Ring and WBC), Sam Soliman (IBF) and Peter Quillin (WBO). Most consider Cotto the division’s true champion because he holds the TBRB crown.
Jacobs’ advantage in quality over the far-traveling Fletcher was almost immediately apparent. Both Jacobs and Fletcher wanted to work behind a jab in the first, but Jacobs’ was faster and better timed. The leaner, meaner looking Jacobs just appeared everything necessary in a prizefight: taller, faster, more powerful and better skilled.
Jacobs put Fletcher down to the blue canvas with a left hook to the head followed by a short right halfway through the first round. Fletcher rose to his feet and made his way around pretty well until Jacobs opened up full throttle for the last minute of the round. Fletcher stayed upright just barely.
Fletcher did better in Round 2. Jacobs wasn’t able to get his combinations going like he did in the first. Fletcher moved more and kept Jacobs from being able to set his feet.
Fletcher moved less in Round 3. Jacobs boxed smartly using a sharp jab to the head and body while Fletcher penetrated Jacobs’ high guard with quick jabs and crosses. Jacobs switched to southpaw as the round closed.
In Round 4, Jacobs landed a hard left hook as Fletcher become more aggressive. It seemed to stall Fletcher’s offense and Jacobs kept it stalled by loading up with big punches. Fletcher did not panic, though, and took the hard hits better than he did in Round 1. The action lulled a bit after some brief heavy-handed thunder when Jacobs realized Fletcher wasn’t yet ready to go. Fletcher filled the gaps with aggressiveness but Jacobs cracked him hard with a right hand to end the round.
Fletcher did solid work in Round 5. The Aussie threw combinations to keep Jacobs from letting his hands go. There was not much mustard behind them but they were quick and compact enough to keep Jacobs at bay.
Jacobs landed a short right hand to hurt Fletcher badly at the end of the round, then clubbed him hard with a combination to get the knockout victory. Fletcher’s corner had seen enough.
After the win, Jacobs told Showtime’s Jim Gray he wanted to fight WBO titleholder Peter Quillin next in Brooklyn, where both fighters are from. The bout would be a nice tussle in the increasingly interesting middleweight division.