SAN DIEGO, Calif., – Just like a good Thanksgiving buffet, there’s something on the table for all fight fans to enjoy this holiday weekend, including a super middleweight smackdown, a clash of undefeated young British heavyweights, and a return to the ring of two of the all-time great names who want to show what they’ve got at AARP age. Take a look at what’s on the menu.
Jacobs vs Rosado: The hate is real
Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs of Brooklyn (36-3, 30 KOs) returns from the longest layoff of his pro career save his battle with cancer to take on “King” Gabe Rosado of Philadelphia (25-12-1, 14 KOs).
Plenty of people believe the fight is non-competitive, and Jacobs will whitewash the worn down Rosado with ease. No one should doubt the toughness of either competitor. Both have willingly faced the toughest names, taken the losses, and kept on coming for more.
This is Jacobs’ second fight at super middleweight. Forget the first one, as Jacobs got a ridiculous charade out of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. which hardly tested him. Rosado also fought on the same card. He was on the card primarily as a backup opponent for Jacobs in case the notoriously unreliable Chavez Jr. couldn’t make weight. It was there last December where Rosado began taunting Jacobs, and scored the opportunity to face him Friday. Lots of boxers pump themselves up with braggadocio and threats toward opponents, but the hate seems real by Rosado, and the normally calm Jacobs is pushing back.
Jacobs says he feels as fit as he ever has, and he’s ready to teach Rosado a lesson.
“I’m me, I’m comfortable, I’m happy,” said Jacobs after Thursday’s weigh-in. “To me, this is one of the easiest fights of my life.
“I’m going to teach you, boy,” Jacobs said to Rosado just offstage. “I’m telling you, you’re going to see come Friday night.”
“I’m going to knock those dentures out your mouth. I’m not Chavez,” said Rosado, who pushed back on Jacobs’ taunts he was out of shape by showing off his abs. I’ve got him where I want him. I’m good.”
Jacobs says Rosado is a hater, jealous of his accomplishments, and doesn’t deserve the opportunity.
Friday fight prediction
Jacobs is a two-time world champion at middleweight. At age 33, his goal is to win a title in a second division. He’s only come up short against Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin, and a much-discussed early loss to Dmitry Pirog after the emotional blow of losing his grandmother.
Gabe Rosado has fought every big name out there. His bloodbath loss to a prime Golovkin in 2013 looks better in the rearview mirror. He got off the deck and nearly beat Maciej Sulecki, a fight that shouldn’t be forgotten as one of 2019’s best. He blew out veteran Humberto Ochoa in his last bout. Rosado is guaranteed entertaining and always a threat. One issue he can’t control is his tendency to get cut, and it’s only gotten worse as he’s rolled up more rounds.
Both men give an honest effort.
It’s in Jacobs’ best interest to make it a fight of skills, not brawn. Rosado has played it smart, trying to get under Jacobs’ skin and turn the fight into a war. For as long as it lasts, the fight will be fun. It’s hard to see anything but a Jacobs stoppage in the late middle rounds. We’ll call it round eight.
The undercard features several fights worth noting. 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan (9-0, 5 KOs) takes on veteran Julius Indongo of Namibia (23-2, 12 KOs) for a vacant minor IBF title. Yeleussinov is a skilled welterweight who wants to take on the top names in this competitive division as soon as 2021.
Emmanuel Tagoe of Ghana (31-1, 15 KOs) takes on Mason Menard of Louisiana (36-4, 25 KOs). Ghana is known for producing boxing talent, so Tagoe is worth a look in his US debut.
Dubois vs Joyce tests talented British heavyweights
Great Britain is home to the world’s top boxing talent at heavyweight. Both Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce hope to prove themselves worthy of being mentioned along with Joshua and Fury with a win in their fight Saturday. It’s a matchup giving British fight fans and plenty of Yanks all the feels.
The fight airs in the US Saturday on ESPN+ starting at 2 pm ET/11 am PT with the full slate of undercard fights and the main event at approximately 5 pm ET/2 pm PT. The winner is a potential opponent for former unified cruiserweight champion turned heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk.
Dubois, age 23, (15-0, 14 KOs) is riding a six-fight knockout streak. He’s had one fight in the pandemic era in August, a second-round knockout of Ricardo Snijders. He had little amateur experience, preferring instead to join the professional ranks. Fans love Dubois’s flashy style and power. He’s seen as the future face of British boxing and is considered the favorite due to his youth and power.
“I am young and hungry. I am ready to go 12 rounds, no problem if I have to. I am ready for a long, hard fight but also a quick one,” said Dubois. “I have the power in both hands to take him out. I will break him down and chop him up. People haven’t seen the best of me.
“I want to win devastatingly and knock him out. I want to send a clear message to the rest of the fighters in the heavyweight division and the world I am coming. I’m ready for war.”
Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs) became a pro in 2017 after winning the super heavyweight silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. At 35 years old, he has stepped on the gas as a pro and has knockout wins over veterans Bermane Stiverne and Alexander Ustinov and victories over Bryant Jennings and a July stoppage over Michael Wallisch.
“I am not under pressure,” insists Joyce. “I am confident and ready to do the business. The bookies have Daniel in a good position, so he has the pressure to deliver. I’m the underdog and coming to take him out. I don’t care if people have written me off. My amateur experience makes a difference. I have been there and been tested. There are no questions about my ability and my achievements.”
Who will remain undefeated?
Joyce had been training with Ismael Salas in Las Vegas, but due to the pandemic, remained in England training with Steve Broughton. He hopes to reunite with Salas for the bout, but Salas tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and will not be present. Earlier in 2020, Joyce sparred with UFC heavyweight star Francis Ngannou, who he says reminds him of Dubois.
Joyce has predicted a knockout of his younger opponent, but the oddsmakers disagree. They are solidly behind Dubois, favoring youth over experience.
Joyce has plenty of power but is nowhere as mobile or fast as Dubois. He’s capable of catching Dubois in a mistake and making him pay. Joyce has a decent chin, but it will have to be an exceptional one to walk through punishment from Dubois. This is what gets fans excited about the heavyweights.
Our view: the fight should be a star-making turn for Dubois. His footwork and speed are his true assets in a division of big punches, even more than his raw power.
Tyson vs Jones Jr: Will the exhibition turn into a fight?
In Saturday’s other featured heavyweight matchup, two of boxing’s all-time stars of the sport get in the ring for an eight-round exhibition matchup in Los Angeles.
If people know one name in boxing other than Muhammad Ali, it’s Mike Tyson. The 54-year-old Tyson lit up the internet earlier this year when he posted a video of himself sparring with flashes of his vintage power and speed. Tyson has been jonesing (ahem) for an actual fight ever since and found a dance partner in the great multi-division champion and best fighter of the 1990s, 51-year-old Roy Jones. Jr.
The fight airs on various pay per view platforms, and you get a handful of undercard fights for your $50.
Sure, it’s creating some buzz, and it could be fun.
But caveat emptor: this is an exhibition with specific rules imposed by the California State Athletic Commission. Some of those rules have recently been changed.
The men will fight eight rounds of two minutes, not standard three-minute rounds. The CSAC imposed the shorter rounds when both men refused to wear headgear.
The fighters will wear larger 12-ounce gloves, which soften punch landings. If either man is cut, the fight will be immediately stopped. Neither man is reportedly permitted to pursue a knockout, although there’s some dispute over this aspect. It’s going to be up to veteran California referee Ray Corona to keep order in the ring according to the rules.
There are no official judges, and no winner will be “declared.” But there are celebrity judges who will watch remotely: women’s all-time great champion Christy Martin, and former titleholders Vinnie “Paz” Pazienza, and former super middleweight champion Chad Dawson.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will debut as part of the broadcasting team alongside the well-regarded Al Bernstein and Hall of Fame champion “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Also added to the livestream as a “commentator” is Snoop Dogg. Yes, that Snoop Dogg. Throw in noted fight fan Mario Lopez and ring announcer Michael Buffer for good measure. Ne-Yo will perform the National Anthem alongside musical performances by Da Baby, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, and YG.
TOMORROW: Tyson vs Jones Jr. weigh-in photos and predictions.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter and Instagram at @PRProSanDiego.
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