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Heirs apparent: Daniel Jacobs, Jarrell Miller working toward the top

Written By | Apr 27, 2018
Daniel Jacobs and Maciej Sulecki hope to position themselves as a WBA middleweight challenger with a win Saturday in Brooklyn. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Daniel Jacobs and Maciej Sulecki hope to position themselves as a WBA middleweight challenger with a win Saturday in Brooklyn. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 27, 2018 Daniel Jacobs lost to middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden in March; his stock rose with boxing fans for the tremendous effort and skill he demonstrated in a razor-thin decision.

Neither Jacobs nor Miller want to wait around to take the throne away from the top men in their divisions. Both intend to advance their cause for coronation on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. HBO Boxing will air their bouts beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Jacobs (33-2, 30 KOs) faces an unknown challenger in the undefeated Maciej Sulecki of Poland (26-0, 10 KOs) to become the WBA middleweight mandatory challenger. Not many believe Sulecki has anything more than a slim chance of beating the powerful, skilled, well trained Jacobs. But stranger things have happened, and this is why the men get in the ring instead of merely talking about it.

Sulecki makes his introduction to American boxing fans

Middleweights Danny Jacobs and Maciej Sulecki made weight with ease Friday. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Middleweights Danny Jacobs and Maciej Sulecki made weight with ease Friday. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

For Sulecki, it’s an opportunity for American fans to meet him. A strong showing even in a loss can be a plus for the Polish fighter’s career. He will have plenty of devoted Polish fans in the seats in Brooklyn. Sulecki’s best win on the resume is a 10th round knockout over Hugo Centeno Jr. in June 2016.

Sulecki is genuinely excited about his opportunity, saying in English he’s ready. “‘This is a big fight and a best test for me; I know how good Danny is. I’m strong, I’m fast and I’m ready to win … I have great fans in the U.S. and in England, and look forward to having their support on Saturday night. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

Sulecki says he’s worked very hard for this opportunity. “This is an extra. I’m going to use the word kick-in-the ass for me to just be even better … When you look at paper and pen and wins and losses, Danny Jacobs is the best fighter who I ever fought, but we’re going to verify who he is on April 28.

“Maybe you guys didn’t know me before, but you guys are going to know me after this fight.”

Jacobs is respectful toward Sulecki, but everyone knows his real goals are down the road. “I truly believe in my heart that I am the best middleweight in the world,” said Jacobs at the final news conference. “Whether I win by knockout or decision I want to look my best … I’m excited to face Sulecki and know that with a victory bigger fights await,” said Jacobs.

Danny Jacobs continues his partnership with Chris Algieri

Daniel Jacobs is among the elite of the middleweight division, fighting his way to the top. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Jacobs is again working with fellow New York based boxer and nutritionist Chris Algieri. Ringside Seat asked Jacobs about his partnership with Algieri. “He’s taught me a lot about the body, he’s taught me a lot about nutrition and how I can prepare myself from this point out.

“It’s shown me a great opportunity to work with somebody who is a former world champion, who is a stellar fighter himself and who’s been through the same trenches and the same training regimens that you’ve been in, the tough tactics that we’ve had to go through each and every time we’re in training. To have somebody who understands is an incredible feeling.” Is Algieri feeding him more than just food? “He’s feeding my soul.  He’s feeding my brain and he’s motivating me, so yes, it’s a lot more than just food,” said Jacobs.

Sulecki has fought at middleweight and also at junior middleweight. Ringside Seat asked Sulecki if he was concerned about Jacobs coming in heavy on fight day, as he has in his previous two bouts. “No, this is absolutely not my concern because the night of the fight I expect to be as big as Danny Jacobs.  If there’s going to be any difference, maybe it’s going to be two pounds, maybe 2.5. Now, the question is who is going to have more?”

Promoter Eddie Hearn: Jacobs ‘A superstar of the division’

Daniel Jacobs (left) silenced Luis Arias and his pre-fight trash talk with 12 dominant rounds in November. Photo: Ed Mulholland, HBO Boxing

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has been far more aggressive about Jacobs’ career than his previous promoter. Ringside Seat asked Jacobs about his relationship with Hearn. “It’s a great opportunity to have a promoter genuinely care about you and truly push for you and to making you the superstar that I always knew that I could be … he pushes hard for his fighters and that’s mostly what I’m grateful for.”

Hearn said, “I’m really comfortable that after a great performance by Danny Jacobs on April 28, then you talk about the superstars of the division. I don’t see why Danny Jacobs is not a superstar of the division.  I believe he already is and with the mess with Canelo and Golovkin, I make it a three-horse race right now between Saunders, Golovkin and Danny Jacobs.”

Next on Jacobs’ list could be a showdown with Jermall Charlo, the newly minted WBC interim middleweight champion. Charlo scored an impressive third round knockout of Hugo Centeno Jr. (yes, the same guy Sulecki beat) last weekend. The pair has traded some words, and it’s a fight sure to set off fireworks.

Jacobs wants his shot to stand among the division’s royalty. But he can’t wait forever. He says he’d like to fight twice more in 2018 pending Saturday’s outcome.

Both fighters made weight with ease Friday. Jacobs weighed in at 159.6, and Sulecki at 159.2 pounds.

Thinking big: Brooklyn’s Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller

Hard work, dedication, and cheeseburgers: Jarrell Miller weighed in Friday at 304.4 pounds; Johann Duhaupas 60 pounds lighter. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Hard work, dedication, and cheeseburgers: Jarrell Miller weighed in Friday at 304.4 pounds; Johann Duhaupas 60 pounds lighter. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Also lusting after a shot at the men atop his division is Brooklyn heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs). Miller takes on Johann Duhaupas of France (37-4, 24 KOs). In his last fight, Miller roughed up another European veteran, rugged Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach.

Miller has everything it takes to be a star in boxing’s glamour division: size, power, quick hands and feet, and a quick wit. Miller has steadily risen to the brink of taking on the big names, and he’s itching for the chance. “Hard work, dedication and cheeseburgers,” laughs the big man.

Ringside Seat asked Miller about the current state of the heavyweight division and his place in it. “I do know we have two heavyweight champions and both of them are not really entertaining outside the ring,” said Miller. “One is a hype job to me (Anthony Joshua), and the other one just run his mouth a whole lot (Deontay Wilder). So, when it comes to being a full package, you better be the full package. The only thing that’s missing is the title around my waist,” added Miller.

“Come April 28, I’m going to show the people, show the fans, and show the media why this baby’s next in line. Like I said before, they can run, but they can hide for so long.

“Once you get there and I kick in that front door, it’s a whole different story … Come April 28, you’re going to see a bigger, stronger, faster, more incredible, mammoth of a heavyweight.  And you’re going to see why that I am so unstoppable and you’re going to see why when it comes to April 28, what I’m going to bring to the heavyweight division,” declared the confident Miller.

“Miller is just an American making noise,” replied Duhaupas. “I understand that, but I choose not to do it.”

That’s a lot of cheeseburgers

There's nothing small about American heavyweight Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

There’s nothing small about American heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Miller takes criticism for his size. He fought Wach at 268 pounds, after getting down to 248 pounds against Gerald Washington last summer. On the scale Friday, Miller blew through the 300 pound mark, weighing in at 304.4 pounds, with Duhaupas weighing in at 244.2 pounds. That’s a lot of cheeseburgers and a lot of Big Baby. Miller says he’s simply more comfortable fighting at a bigger weight, and is concentrating more on strength and eating clean than peeling off pounds.

Miller, 29, takes a nine-fight stoppage streak into Saturday’s fight. Duhaupas, 37, is past his prime years. Saturday’s bout is his first fight in the U.S. in three years, since his TKO loss to Deontay Wilder. In the meantime, he’s also been knocked out by Alexander Povetkin. Nevertheless, a veteran with power is not someone to take lightly.

It’s a real pleasure to fight at Barclays Center and on HBO, said Duhaupas. “I’ve had a great training camp and I’m ready to be beat Jarrell Miller. I’m ready for whatever he brings in the ring and you will see on Saturday how good of a fighter I am.”

Women’s lightweight unification bout: Taylor vs. Bustos

Two titles on the line for Katie Taylor (left) and Victoria Bustos Saturday in Brooklyn. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Also on the televised portion of the card, Katie Taylor of Ireland (8-0, 4 KOs) faces Victoria Bustos of Argentina (18-4, 0 KOs). Taylor’s WBA and Bustos’ IBF lightweight title belts are on the line in this significant unification bout.

“I’m so excited about this fight, this is a great opportunity for me,” said Taylor. “It’s a huge unification fight, it’s always been my dream to hold all the titles and this is another step. Thanks to Matchroom Boxing and everyone so much for the support.”

Bustos added her thanks to Matchroom and Hearn at the final news conference. “I know how great Katie Taylor is, she’s very tough. This will be a great fight, I will do my best to bring both titles back to Argentina.”

This is Bustos’ first bout outside Argentina. Taylor will have a de facto hometown Irish crowd in Brooklyn. She has far more power than Bustos. Bustos will need to box and avoid being pummeled by Taylor’s improving, relentless body work to have any chance at winning a decision.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Copyright © 2018 by Falcon Valley Group




Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.