Friendship steps aside Saturday night in a ring at Barclays Center

New York based fight promoter Lou DiBella has been around the sport long enough to know that friendships out of the ring mean nothing when it comes down to fighting for supremacy in the ring. With that in mind, Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn Danny Jacobs and Peter Quillin will throw their longtime friendship aside and fight for a title that highlights a Showtime televised boxing event.

And for the past few months, Jacobs (30-1. 27 KO’s) and Quillin (32-0-1, 23 Ko’s) know how significant their friendship is and what is up for grabs. Jacobs will be defending his WBA middleweight championship and both fighters from Brooklyn will be fighting for supremacy. Those in boxing also know that it could take 12-rounds to determine who is the better fighter from the borough of Brooklyn.

At the conclusion, Jacobs and Quillin will embrace in the ring. longtime friends who have been looking for this inevitable clash will always be. Over the years they have sparred in the same gyms and always had pleasant exchanges but it was always a question as to who was the best.

“Supremacy of New York City and the guy who owns Brooklyn,” DiBella said again Thursday afternoon as the two fighters had one final pose before the cameras. “Jacobs is fast and Quillin has the skill,” said DiBella who would not offer a prediction of the outcome.

DiBella is not alone as to who will be the last man standing. This is one of those championship fights that can go either way and many in the fight community have mixed emotions. It is also difficult to not root for Jacobs, or Quillin who have been a significant part of the New York City fight scene.

Both have their respective fan base so there was no debate as to staging their showdown in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, the arena which has also become a significant part of boxing in New York City. There is also an interesting undercard and a co-feature, WBA Featherweight champion Jesus Cuellar opposing Jonathan Oquendo, another fight that will have implications in that division.

But the buzz is about Jacobs and Quillin who are ready to wrap their wrists and put the gloves on.

“I knew it was inevitable,” Quillin said about his meeting with Jacobs. “It’s just part of the story and part of the journey so I accept things as they come. I’m trying to hurt him and I know he’s doing the same thing so there are no problems with that. You can be friendly to people but it doesn’t mean you’ve got to be friends with them.”

And because boxing is a business, there is no friendship when the first bell rings Saturday night. The championship of course is what Quillin wants and of course Jacobs is not ready to give it up. The WBA title is one of the elite belts in a division that has become one of the most competitive and neither fighter is looking beyond the outcome.

Jacobs, with ten consecutive knockouts, is also the success story having overcome a battle with bone cancer. He is not concerned about the other coveted names in the division and the only focus is defeating a friend who has the same agenda. But there was an interest in the middleweight title fight two weeks ago that saw Miguel Cotto lose the decision and WBC title to Gennady Golovkin, because if a catch weight is not in the picture one of the two could be on the horizon.

“Back in my mind, I think of my legacy and where I want to be placed,” said Jacobs when asked about looking ahead. “You really can’t focus on that. I focus on my job to win every fight when I am in the ring.”

And that friendship with Quillin also goes out the door when the bell rings. Right now it’s about that supremacy and perhaps the knockout, though Quillin, a former champion can take a punch and it won’t be easy. Jacobs has become a crowd pleaser and fan favorite because of that knockout punch. He used a devastating jab and took the title from Sergio Mora back in August, a second round KO in his second fight at the Barclays Center.

About his knockout power, said Jacobs, “Fans love knockouts. Any fighter wants that. A win is a win for me. We are in the hurt business…we are not in there to play. We are in there to hurt each other for our legacy.”

But that is fight talk. Jacobs and Quillin are in the ring to get that supremacy as all fighters do, and because it is a business where hurting your opponent is a main objective to get that win.

In the fight with Mora, Jacobs went down in the first round and he got back up and finished the job with his ability to throw just as hard. He says, if his friend Quillin does the same thing to him, it will be no different.

“I’m going to get back up and say the same thing I said to Mora, ‘Bring it on.’ It happens but at the end of the day that was a great learning experience to be more cautious. Now I’m more defensive minded from that lesson I learned from Sergio Mora.” There is every reason to expect a slugfest when the bell rings and someone could hit the canvas early.

Said Quillin, “I’m coming in there with my own plan and we’re just going to see that night who executes their plan better. You are going to expect fireworks, two determined guys throwing punches trying to win for two different reasons and you’re going to get an entertaining fight.”

He added, “My prediction for Saturday, a new champion of the world.” And all fight fans can ask for is a good fight with a friendship for the night that remains when Jacobs and Quillin leave the ring,

Comment: Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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