- Michael Woods, Boxing
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The news that he was headlining the first Golden Boy show at the Best Buy Theater in Manhattan, on Aug. 19, didn't drive Danny Jacobs to tears ... but it came darn close.
The 26-year-old middleweight contender will meet Giovanni Lorenzo, a perennial title challenger, in the first of 24 cards that will run on Fox Sports 1 on Monday nights. When Jacobs (25-1 with 22 KOs) learned that he would be topping the bill, he held off tears and recalled his lowest moment a few years ago, when cancer had him on the verge of a TKO.
"It was a couple days after my surgery," he said, referring to the procedure that removed a tumor on his spine in May 2011. "I was in bed, I couldn't move my legs at all, I was about 230 pounds, I was completely down. I started crying. I felt like my life was over, that I'd never be able to box again, that I'd never be able to take care of my child the way I wanted to. Fast forward to today, it's so amazing."
Jacobs did interview after interview at a press conference held at Planet Hollywood on Tuesday to trumpet the card and the series. He had to pinch himself, make sure it wasn't a dream. "I come from Brownsville! What? We don't ever get these opportunities! I want to make the best of the opportunity."
I admit, I didn't think it was any kind of sure bet when Jacobs said he was coming back to boxing after the cancer fight that he would ever get past an inaugural return to the ring. Guess what? He didn't know that he would either. "I didn't know how I was going to perform," he admitted. "It was 50-50. I could have had a frail chin, or not the same power I had before." No worries; he's stopped all three of his foes since his return.
Being a smart soul, he knows not to get ahead of himself and look past the durable, Dominican-born Lorenzo (32-5 with 24 KOs; age 32). But yes, Jacobs admits, he has allowed himself to drift off and fantasize about winning the middleweight crown at Barclays Center.
"I do think about that opportunity," he said. "Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said when I fought for a world title, I'd win it at Barclays. I believe that. Whoever they put in front of me, it will be historic."
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31dBrian Campbell, ESPN staff writer