When Daniel "The Miracle Man" Jacobs fought in his home town of Brooklyn at the Barclay's Center, he was grateful to be living, walking and fighting after a grueling battle with cancer. At the time, he never imagined that he would be back in that home arena so soon and fighting for a title like he will Aug. 9 against Jarrod Fletcher for the WBA middleweight title.
"Absolutely not. That was the furthest thing in my mind," Jacobs said this week during a media teleconference.
"I had hopes and aspirations of one day again being able to get back to the ring at the Barclays Center. Once I found out that the Barclays Center would have a fight, that was my biggest drive and my biggest motivation was to just participate there in that first event, that inaugurational event.
"But to have this opportunity to have a world championship a year and a half, two years later I never would have thought this would be possible, let alone to happen in my backyard. To be able to perform in front of my fans and my family who have been there during my struggles, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Seriously, I really can’t wait for fight night. It’s going to be like a dream come true for me."
Jacobs has won seven straight fights since losing his first world title bout, back in 2010 to Dmitry Pirog. The Brooklyn fighter is unconcerned that, even if he beats Fletcher Aug. 9, his world champion status will likely be viewed as secondary to the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Pete Quillin.
"It doesn’t matter to me. I mean, a champion is a champion," he maintained.
"A secondary champion or the first champion it doesn’t matter to me. I have an opportunity to fight for a world championship. It’s not my job to make the belt. It’s not my job to put myself in a position to fight for the belt. It’s just my job to really go in there and just be ready to fight whoever they put in front of me and whatever title we get, I’m very grateful for it.
"Whether they call me a paper champion or a real champion, I am the champion because each and every time I go inside that ring I give it my all and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that."
More important than titles, Jacobs believes that he's a better man and fighter than he was the first time he vied for a championship. With all he's overcome and all the progress he feels he's made, Jacobs knows that his opponent is incidental to what he will be fighting and looking to accomplish.
"I think I’m a lot wiser in how I train and how I conduct my training camp and the fact that I had to alter my diet for the cancer allowed me to have a healthier body and healthier lifestyle to be able to maintain a good training camp and maintain a good body to be able to perform at an elite level," he explained.
"At that time I wouldn’t say I took it for granted, but I don’t think I had the best training for that particular fight. I’m a lot wiser, I’m a lot stronger and my mental state is at an all-time high, especially going through what I’ve gone through I feel like I’m not invincible, but I also feel like the only person that could stop me inside that ring is myself."
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