Keith Connolly, manager of Daniel Jacobs, set up a meeting between the boxer and his former (and perhaps future) trainer Andre Rozier, at the suggestion of his dad, who thought that the situation needed to be ironed out.
On Tuesday, the Rozier trekked to Long Island to meet with Jacobs for over two hours.
A couple photos made the rounds on social media, and it sure did look like an upbeat development in a decades-long relationship, after a harsh split took place following Jacobs’ battle with Canelo Alvarez in 2019.
Since Jacobs was a gawky teen, Rozier had been in his corner. That Brooklyn connection included Victor Roundtree, a trainer beloved in local circles for being a good soul. Vic died in 2013, and from there Rozier and Jacobs ascended the ranks in the pro game. Jacobs reached a peak in 2015, when he downed Sergio Mora and Peter Quillin at Barclays Center.
Jacobs received a career-defining chance against Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017, and acquitted himself well. He lost a narrow decision to GGG, and then hit the jackpot as manager Connolly used leverage to land a fat deal for Jacobs to fight exclusively on HBO.
After three wins on HBO airwaves, Jacobs got another lottery win, a match with Canelo Alvarez. That went well from a purse standpoint, a little less well from a fighting standpoint. The clash wasn’t as close as the scorecards indicated, and beyond that, that apex opportunity helped push Jacobs and Rozier to their separation.
Danny had decided to go with another cornerman. Fareed Samad now stood at the fore for Jacobs’ fights with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Gabriel Rosado. Jacobs and Rozier, meanwhile, didn’t see each other or talk after the Canelo fight.
But they were talked about. On the night of Nov. 27, 2020, Jacobs fought Gabriel Rosado in Florida, and it was not a strong outing. Jacobs survived via controversial split decision, but the calls for him to go back to Rozier were plenty.
Wheels were turning, in fact, and seems like the main driver at moving the duo into a remediation stage is Patrick Connolly, the father of Keith.
“Pops Connolly said it needed to stop,” Rozier told me on Wednesday evening, the day after he went to Keith’s house and cleared the air with Jacobs. “I wanted to clear the headaches, end the fracture, make the atmosphere better.”
Rozier said this last year has taught us, if we didn’t really know, that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, so it’s a good idea to work on smoothing bumps in relationships, because it’s not a given that the option will be there next month or next year. As Rozier put it, “These are trying times.”
Rozier said both sides had their say, brought up specifics, and they sifted through the actions and feelings that led to the rift.
“It’s like this, if you have an issue about something, you express it, that’s the basic premise behind good communication. You can’t fight if you don’t know what you’re fighting about. Danny did apologize.”
They talked good times, bad times, and a bit on what the future might hold.
What about it, will they reunite? Did Jacobs suggest he and Rozier work together again?
“He actually did. I said, ‘Now is not the time,’” Rozier told me. “On that, I’m moving in slow motion, I’ve still got to make sure everything is everything. I don’t want the same scenario and I doubt it would be that.
“But I’m doing some wonderful things, and it’s not like the be-all, end-all. But it might be a good thing. I’m not going to allow certain things to happen, I need to be precipitant of direction, and as long as things are not conflicted or people opposed everything could be alright.”
Rozier said they did talk about Jacobs’ performances against Chavez and Rosado.
“I haven’t watched his fights since the Canelo fight. Friends told me what they saw in the fights against Chavez and Rosado,” he said. “And I said, ‘You should never have had that bad a night versus Gabe Rosado,’ and about competing like a ‘regular’ athlete, not showing all the things he has in him.’’
Right now, Rozier works with Edgar Berlanga, who is also managed by Connolly, and is busy helping him get ready for an April 24 fight against Demond Nicholson. Berlanga (16-0, 16 KO) would presumably, if he gets past Nicholson, also appear on a June card that is being proposed by promoter Top Rank for Madison Square Garden.
Rozier is enjoying working with One For All Promotions, and he’s looking forward to another show on May 29 in Orlando, which will stream on the iFL YouTube channel, with the backing of MTK Global. He’s enthused about training Joe Mack Williams, a light heavyweight with a 13-0 record, as well as junior welterweight Alex Vargas (10-0) and heavyweight Romarick Ngoula (10-0).
“We have plans,” he said. “Things are headed in a good direction.”