The middleweight division is quickly becoming the most interesting division in boxing. On Monday, cancer survivor Daniel Jacobs added his name to the list of quality 160-pounders with an emphatic third-round stoppage of Giovanni Lorenzo at the Best Buy Theater in New York in a fight televised nationally by Fox Sports 1.
Seconds after being cut, Jacobs opened up offensively and quickly finished the fight. In the middle of a flurry along the ropes, Jacobs caught Lorenzo with a left hook followed by a crushing straight right hand. Lorenzo fell face first to the canvas and referee Steve Willis stopped it at 2:05.
It was the biggest win of Jacobs' young career. He's been viewed with a jaundiced eye since a fifth-round knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog on July 31, 2010, but put himself right in the mix.
"With this second opportunity, I wanted to make a statement and I felt I made a good statement tonight," Jacobs said.
Jacobs' win comes on the heels of a couple of impressive middleweight performances in the last several weeks. On Saturday, Darren Barker defeated Daniel Geale via split decision in an outstanding battle on HBO to win the IBF belt. Earlier this month, Curtis "Showtime" Stevens blew out Saul Roman in the first on a bout shown nationally on the NBC Sports Network, potentially putting him in a Nov. 2 fight against Gennady Golovkin.
Now, Jacobs gets into the mix of top middleweights. And with Golovkin, the injured Sergio Martinez and Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin also holding belts, there are a lot of good fights to be made in one of the sport's glamour divisions.
Lorenzo was viewed as a tough test for Jacobs after his battle with cancer. Other than Pirog, Lorenzo was far and away the toughest opponent Jacobs faced, but Jacobs looked completely comfortable. Lorenzo had never been knocked out prior to Monday's bout.
The first two rounds were relatively even, as the men traded hard shots and neither gained a decided advantage. Lorenzo got physical in the third and opened a cut under Jacobs' left eye.
Jacobs seemed to be motivated by the sight of his own blood and went hard after Lorenzo, quickly getting the knockout.
"I knew I had the skills over him, but I knew he had the experience," Jacobs said. "I know for a fact, he was getting me in the ring and trying these Bernard Hopkins moves, trying to get inside my head. I didn't let it get to me. I knew he was strong, but once he hit me with a good left hook, I said, 'OK, let's go.' The Brooklyn came out of me."
Jacobs is now 26-1 with 23 knockouts. He, like Quillin, the WBO champion, are both promoted by Golden Boy. A fight between them should be easy to make and plenty of fun to watch.
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