INDIANAPOLIS – At age 8, back in Louisiana, Brandon Jacobs was known as a big kid with a bad temper. His uncle Joe Jacobs figured amateur boxing might be a good outlet.
"But that only made it worse," the New York Giants running back said this week with a laugh. "They taught a person with a bad temper how to fight."
Jacobs went 35-2 as an amateur heavyweight, twice winning the state AAU championship. He loved boxing but eventually turned to football due it to its college scholarship possibilities.
Sunday he'll try to win his second Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
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Still, Jacobs has never lost his passion for boxing. Rather than try some professional fights, Jacobs began moonlighting in an unusual and potentially powerful career for an NFL player: boxing manager.
And he has his eyes on something even bigger upon his eventual retirement: fight promoter.
Could Brandon Jacobs become the next, say, Bob Arum, super promoter to everyone from Manny Pacquiao to Evander Holyfield to Marvin Hagler?
"Absolutely he could be the next Bob Arum," said Bob Arum, 80. "He's a smart guy; he's not a dumb jock."
Jacobs first decided to moonlight into boxing when he saw his friend Kendall Holt, a top 10-ranked 140-pounder, in need of a new manager in 2009. Jacobs teamed up with fight game veteran Pat Lynch out of New Jersey to form "Lynch and Jacobs Management."
"I kind of didn't want to do it because it's a big role to take on with someone's career because [I could mess up his chance of] being on top," Jacobs said. "I did it, ended up liking it and getting some great connections."
Jacobs said the job of a manager is endless. You have to organize camp, deal with all sorts of logistical issues, select fights, negotiate contracts and deal with the forever-unseemly side of the sport.
"The most stressful part about being a manager is dealing with promoters," he explained. "You never know what [their angle is]. I've learned never make a deal too early. That's what I did in my first fight with Kendall [a 2010 bout with Kaizer Mabuza in Atlantic City].
"[There was] just more I could have gotten out of it."
Jacobs, 29, said he still has plenty to learn. However, he already knows that if he has a future in the sport it's as a promoter not a manager. His football fame and comfort in front of the media make him a natural. Besides, "that's where the money is."
"I could definitely do it as a career," he said. "I know the ropes. I know who to deal with and who not to deal with."
Arum calls Jacobs "his buddy" and is bullish on his future in boxing.
"He's a very gregarious guy, people know who Brandon Jacobs is, he commands respect and he gets along great with the fighters," Arum said. "We would be happy to have him come work for us [at Top Rank Boxing], break him in, have him help us on the promotions.
"Then he can look forward to doing it on his own. Obviously he can't play football forever."
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If boxing was run differently, Jacobs may have never played football. He was a physical amateur fighter in Louisiana but had a desire to attend college and saw no scholarship options available. The NCAA doesn't sanction boxing. There are only a couple schools (such as Notre Dame) that even have it at the club level.
"So I got into football," he said.
He rushed for 3,032 yards and 35 touchdowns his senior season at Napoleonville (La.) Assumption High School and a career was born. The Giants selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft out of Southern Illinois. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, he's developed into one of the NFL's most physical backs.
At one point he thought about taking some professional fights in the offseason.
"I wasn't absolutely sure if I wanted to do it, and if you have second guesses about doing something so dangerous you probably shouldn't do it," Jacobs said.
So now he's a businessman. He also manages Stephen Martinez (11-1), a 21-year-old light middleweight. Jacobs said he doesn't charge Holt for his work and Martinez is still up-and-coming and hasn't made much money.
Thus far, this isn't about getting richer. It's about staying in the sport he's always loved and gaining some grassroots experience.
First, however, come the New England Patriots on Sunday. There's plenty of time for the daunting challenge of tackling boxing.
"I wanted to get into boxing to clean it up," he said. "And that's going to be a tough job."
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- Brandon Jacobs
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