Daniel Jacobs Is Ready For 12 Rounds of Gennady Golovkin

Before his huge fight with the seemingly invincible Gennady Golovkin, Brooklyn's own Daniel Jacobs tells us what it will to take to hand GGG his first L.

Daniel Jacobs Barcalys Center Cabrera 1
Complex Original

Daniel Jacobs Barclays Center David Cabrera 1

Daniel Jacobs Barcalys Center Cabrera 1

Fresh from a grueling training camp purposely spent three time zones away from friends and family in Oakland, Daniel Jacobs couldn’t have picked a better afternoon to make the rounds in his hometown.

Six days before the biggest bout of his career against Gennady Golovkin, the Brownsville, Brooklyn native was chilling deep in the bowels of Barclays Center with, appropriately, Notorious B.I.G. blasting in the background.

“I’m a ride or die Biggie fan,” says Jacobs. “I’ve come out to ‘Victory’ so many times.”

The WBA world middleweight champ (32-1, 29 KO) was on hand for the Knicks-Nets game and Biggie Night, when the building celebrated the life and legacy of the late Brooklyn rapper. Jacobs also came to check out The Miracle Man Collection, a special collaboration between retailer Antler & Woods and Brooklyn Boxing that’s outfitting him for Saturday’s massive fight and producing a line of merch available online during fight week.

"I’m not going to be beaten before I go in there because my mental is at an all-time high. You can get hurt in boxing. Cancer can kill you. I was on my deathbed. I looked death right in the eye."

While the fight’s going down across the river at Madison Square Garden, Jacobs is bringing a distinct Brooklyn flair to the bout and a quiet confidence that Golovkin’s perfect record (36-0, 33 KO) and knockout streak (23) will come to an end.

“This can be an amazing movie once it’s all said and done,” says Jacobs. “But the victory has to assure Saturday in order for everything else to be possible.”

We caught up with the cancer survivor, who six years ago was just days away from succumbing to osteosarcoma, to talk about the opportunity of a lifetime, how to beat the seemingly invincible Golovkin, and whether the middleweight unification bout on HBO PPV will go a full 12 rounds.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

You’ve got some cool things going on here with the Miracle Man Collection. I know they haven’t revealed what you’re going to be wearing in the ring yet, but give me an idea.
My outfit inside the ring is what I always bring to the table: You look good, you perform good, everything is going in sync. We thought this would be a great idea to not only look good but have some type of meaning behind the brand. And also obviously being a cancer survivor, too, we wanted to make sure we represent in the right way.

And your corner is going to be properly fitted as well, wearing some old school, nontraditional boxing gear.
Old-school boxing. A lot of the trainers they wear their own thing, missing the essence of just the look of boxing. I miss people coming to the fights dressed up in suits. I miss corner men dressed up in the white cardigans, with sometimes the white hat they may have on. It’s going to give you a real Brooklyn-ish vibe. I’m happy I can be the one to sculpt that and change it back to it what it once was.

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So the fight. The biggest fight of your life was your battle with cancer. But this is by far the biggest boxing match of your life, right?

Give me an idea of what the mindset is like heading into fight week. Does it change from day to day as we get closer to the fight? 
I’m a very spiritual guy. I’m a firm believer of positive energy. I just believe this is the right opportunity to not only fulfill my dreams but what it represents as a cancer survivor and come back and be the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, fighting one of the baddest men out there that people say is the world’s most dangerous man. For me to overcome that obstacle, it speaks so many volumes I can’t even tell you. I’m going to be fighting different battles in this fight. And I’m just honored. It’s in my hometown. It’s on PPV. I’m a kid from Brownsville. I wouldn’t even imagine a fight of this magnitude. I’m honored. I’m hungry. I try not to get too caught up in the hype, but I’m a man on a mission.

Golovkin is talked about as the most feared boxer out there. Other people have speculated the reason his past opponents have lost is because they go into the fight with this underlying fear. But you’ve been very adamant that you’re not afraid of him. So where does that mentality come from, and why have you been so unequivocal about not fearing him when casual boxing fans would say, Well, Golovkin can hit the shit out of you, you should be afraid of him?
Numerous reasons. One of them being I’m a kid that comes from the mean streets of Brownsville, New York. I’ve been part of things, witnessed things that no child should have to grow up seeing. And my mentality battling cancer, learning how to walk again, having the doctors say you can never box again, that is a mental challenge in itself. Go through 25 counts of radiation. That mentally makes you a strong person. So for me, he’s not cancer, it’s a totally different battle. In the same token, I’m not going to be beaten before I go in there because my mental is at an all-time high. You can get hurt in boxing. Cancer can kill you. I was on my deathbed. I looked death right in the eye. For me, it’s just like I’ve seen the worst of the worst. The real boogeyman. He’s a human. He bleeds just like I bleed. He has vulnerabilities. Things I can capitalize on. I’m not worried about the challenge. I’m more excited about it.

Should he be getting those questions about you, though, because you’re the toughest opponent he’s faced and you’re the hardest puncher he’s faced? Should he be getting questions about whether he fears you?
Well, this is boxing. He’s been doing this for a very long time. I’m sure there’s no fear on both parties. But I do think he understands that this is his biggest opposition yet. Not just because of what I’ve gone through but just what I bring to the table inside the square. He’s fought fast guys, he’s fought powerful guys, guys that can move well, so on and so forth. But he’s never fought all those guys in one.

And you have a size advantage.
Yeah, so I’m all those different guys in one. I’m fast and strong and I can switch. I can do it all inside that ring. As long as my mentality is right and you tell yourself you’re not going to lose, and keep reminding your body and your soul and your core that, it’s going to show.

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Are you the hardest puncher he’s going to face?
I don’t know if I’m the hardest puncher. You can never really gauge if you’re the hardest puncher. But I definitely think I’m the most skillful fighter he’s faced.

Does it bother you then that you’re such a big underdog?
I don’t care. I would expect it to be this way. He’s been promoted right, even though his opposition hasn’t been world class. He’s been promoted as this guy who’s unstoppable and the most feared man in boxing. So I would assume for the general public to continue that type of thing around his name.

So how do you nullify his power on Saturday?
It’s all about adjusting. Floyd Mayweather said it best: True champions know how to adjust. We have a game plan. But this is boxing. Anything can happen. You have to have Plan B, Plan C if need be. That’s just really what I’m looking forward to. See what works, see what fits, see what works to my advantage. If opportunity presents itself, I’m going for the kill.

You’ve talked about the combos Kell Brook had thrown at Golovkin in their fight and said if you had the same situation with Golovkin you would be able to capitalize. So tell me how you’d be able to capitalize on those combos that Kell couldn’t.
Because Kell is a full-fledged welterweight. I’m a 100 percent strong middleweight. I could even be considered a super middleweight. For me, the power difference would be a big thing. My sheer size; when you look at Kell Brook and me it’s night and day. Kell Brook is talented. But size matters in boxing. That was the main difference. Had it not been for Kell Brook’s eye, he would have done a lot better.

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What is the path to victory?
The path is finding what works early and sticking to it. We have about two or three different game plans. You can’t go in there and say I’m going to do this because he can go in there and be prepared for it and be ready for that and you can get hit and get hurt and are you going to continue to do the same things? No, you’re going to switch it up. We’re going to see what game plan works best for us and if we need to mix whole game plans that’s what we’ll do.

Is this a 12-round fight? Can you two sustain a 12-round fight?
I can’t really say. I’m not big on predictions. I’m equipped. I’m ready to go 12 rounds if need be. I’m a pure boxer. I have lightning speed that hurts guys. But I love to box. I love to be on my back foot. I love to work my jab and combinations. You can look forward to seeing that.

What kind of crowd are you expecting at the Garden?
It’s going to be sold out. It’s one of those fights that’s going to be through the roof as far as energy and people being entertained and cheering. The atmosphere will be amazing. How many fans will he have? I don’t know. I don’t worry about that. As long as people are cheering and screaming that’s all that drives me.

Are you sequestering yourself this week, trying to get away from the hype, especially back in New York?
Of course. With one loss, it’s all gone. If I’m able to capitalize and win, then I’m the next superstar in boxing.

It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.
It’s right around the corner. And I’m not really trying to let my mind dwell on it because for me I just want it to be another day at the office. It’s going to be my best day in the office. I’m going to have my suit and tie on. I want to make sure I’m right for the job.

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