NEW YORK -- Daniel Jacobs is ready to move on. Move on from the memory of his first -- and only -- crack at a major title, a disappointing fifth-round knockout defeat to Dmitry Pirog in 2010. Move on from the shocking 2011 cancer diagnosis and the 25 radiation treatments it took to beat it. Move on from the tuneup fights his promoter, Golden Boy, has been giving him and get what he was wanted ever since that loss to Pirog: Another world title shot.
On Monday, Jacobs (25-1) will take a big step towards that goal when he takes on former title challenger Giovanni Lorenzo (32-5) the Best Buy Theatre (Fox Sports 1, 9 pm). It will be another New York fight for Jacobs -- his last three have been at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden -- against an opponent who clearly represents a step up in competition. Lorenzo has never won a major title, but he has proven durable against solid competition, going the distance in title fights against Felix Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester.
Cancer, Jacobs said, is far from his mind. His doctors have continued to give him a clean bill of health. He has been forced to overhaul his diet -- no more red meats, dairy, sugars, white bread -- and has to be careful about white kind of products he uses. Deodorant, for example. The aluminum-base in some deodorants have caused him to switch to all natural ones.
“The cancer isn’t even a thought,” Jacobs told SI.com. “I have to be careful about some stuff but basically, the doctors told me it was gone.”
Jacobs says the dramatic changes in his diet have had a positive effect on his career. Before his diagnosis, Jacobs said, he was having problems making 160 pounds. All the changes -- “I’m basically a vegan,” Jacobs said -- have made making weight so easy that he even has kicked around the idea of fighting at 154 pounds.
“A lot of people tell me I look better than I did before I caught cancer,” Jacobs said. “The new diet, I have so much energy in training. I’m like the bunny rabbit with the battery on his back.”
As a charismatic, well spoken, U.S. middleweight with power, Jacobs is an appealing opponent for titleholders. The network wars though make fights against Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin (who fight on HBO, which does not do business with Golden Boy) unlikely and newly crowned IBF champ Darren Barker has a mandatory defense due against Sturm in his next fight. That leaves only WBO titleholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in the mix. A Quillin-Jacobs fight is easy to make -- both are represented by Golden Boy and advised by Al Haymon -- and an appealing fight for Showtime and the Barclays Center.
“I can see how that fight is interesting for the boxing world,” Jacobs said. “Kid Chocolate and I are friends, so if I had my choice, I wouldn’t fight him. But in boxing you can’t say that. There is more on the line than just friendship. I’m fighting for my family, he is fighting for his. You can’t say ‘I don’t want to fight you because of our friendship.’ You have to do what you have to do.”-- Chris Mannix