Piercing the sky of Manhattan’s Flatiron district, eclipsed only by the Empire State Building six blocks to the north, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar seemed like a symbolic setting for a press conference Tuesday, as Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) laid out his team’s plan to ascend back atop the middleweight division.
Flanked by newly-minted team Jacobs members, British promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and HBO executive Peter Nelson, a very businesslike Jacobs announced that he will fight the hungry, cocky and undefeated Luis Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) on November 11 at the recently renovated Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
This is a fight that Arias asked for, and one that was put together rather quickly and easily according to Nelson. But Hearn cautioned the media that despite Arias’s undefeated record, he is not the caliber of fighter that he’ll seek for Jacobs to box going forward.
“When I sat down with him and started talking with him, I really couldn’t understand why this guy was just a star and not a superstar,” Hearn fondly recalled of his first ever meeting with Jacobs.
“We have plans to go to the top — Canelo, Golovkin,” Hearn continued, which coaxed a defiant nod of agreement out of Jacobs.
However, when Jacobs took the podium shortly after Hearn, he gave Arias his due, and recognized that while the youngster may be unknown to many people, he’s anything but that inside the boxing community.
“I have to take this guy serious because it’s an opportunity of a lifetime for him,” Jacobs said judiciously. Adding, “He’s looking to ruin all the plans that I have, and HBO and my promoter have for me.”
For the fighter that reinvented himself as the “Miracle Man” after his victory over a rare form of bone cancer in 2011, it became clear that this press conference held much deeper implications for the Brooklyn-born masher.
Life has been “nothing short of amazing” Jacobs somewhat surprisingly quipped to Nysportsday in response to how the controversial loss to Gennady Golovkin this past March had affected him.
“For me it was a win because I was able to link up with HBO, win fans and receive so much attention,” Jacobs reflected.
And his takeaways were confirmed by Nelson, who recanted how easy a decision it was for HBO to add him to their roster of signed fighters following that performance.
“Keith Connelly [Jacob’s manager] and Eddie Hearn came to us and said, ‘You guys want to sign Danny Jacobs?’ And we said, ‘Yes!’ That was about as complicated a conversation as that needed to be,” said a smiling Nelson.
And Nelson had every right to bask, as the deal makes sense for both sides.
Jacobs covets a rematch with Golovkin or a scrap with Canelo, and HBO is still trying to rebound from the departures of Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao to ESPN, and the retirements of Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko.
It’s all about capitalizing on timing and opportunity for Jacobs, not pressure.
“If anything it’s more so I got in at the right time because now they’re [HBO] really trying to promote a guy,” explained Jacobs.
Admitting it’s impossible not to look past next month’s bout with Arias, the 30-year-old Jacobs wants to fight the best middleweights, which are currently Golovkin and Alvarez, and likely followed by David Lemieux and Billy Joe Saunders.
“If I do what I have to do against Arias, I know it’s going to be that much easier to get those fights,” said Jacobs.
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