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Daniel Jacobs: “Good spirit” is back ahead of “must-win” fight with John Ryder

Daniel Jacobs is reunited with trainer Andre Rozier, and says he’s got the spark back for Saturday’s fight with John Ryder.

Daniel Jacobs hopes to become a two-division world champion, and has to get past John Ryder first
Daniel Jacobs hopes to become a two-division world champion, and has to get past John Ryder first
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Daniel Jacobs and John Ryder are set to headline this Saturday on DAZN, with Jacobs making his UK debut in what he sees as a “must-win” fight.

“I’m looking forward to a good scrap,” said Jacobs. “He’s a good fighter from what I’ve seen. I know he’s in his hometown so I’m expecting him to be pumped and excited about it. Also I’ve heard from him before that this is an important fight for him to get towards title contention. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly everything that he has to bring.

“It has been one of my goals as a professional to fight in the UK, probably in London because I’ve been here before and I know how the magic works. I know how deep the crowd is into their boxing. I look forward to experiencing that. Good city, good town, good people.”

Jacobs is back with old trainer Andre Rozier and Anthony Irons, saying that he “was missing that good spirit that I once had in my career,” and believes things are now “where they need to be” as he looks to impress after his last fight. In that outing, he won a controversial split decision over Gabriel Rosado, and simply didn’t look motivated in the ring.

That was 15 months ago. Now 35, Jacobs (37-3, 30 KO) is aware he’s at a point where he cannot afford a setback.

“Every fight is must-win. Every time you go in the ring you don’t go into a fight looking at it like, ‘If I lose this one the next one will still be a good opportunity’. There’s always going to be a step back if you lost a fight in boxing. I’m grateful that I still have the opportunity to have these big fights. The biggest goal for me right now is to stay focused and keep the eye on the tiger.

“Granted we win this fight, which I’m sure we will, my next fight should be an opportunity to become a two-division world champion. I have the opportunity to do that and this guy is in the way. I have to make an example but also be myself. This camp I’ve been myself the entire time. I can’t ask for anything better.”

Getting that world title fight at 168 may prove hard to do. All four major titles are held by Canelo Alvarez, of course, and the current expectation is Canelo will fight Dmitry Bivol for a 175 lb title on May 7, then face Gennadiy Golovkin for the super middleweight championship in September. Jacobs has also had his chance against Canelo already, losing a decision to the Mexican superstar in 2019 in what would up the last middleweight bout for either man. Then again, the WBC or WBA could just invent a belt at any time, because it’s boxing. He could also move up to 175 — an idea that has been floated before — though those titles also seem pretty tied up at the moment between Canelo-Bivol and the talk of Beterbiev-Smith.

Ryder (30-5, 17 KO) will be looking to scrap all of Jacobs’ plans, of course. The 33-year-old southpaw will have home field in the UK, and the last time he was seen as an underdog, he had a great night in a hotly debated loss to Callum Smith. Ryder, like Jacobs, has not looked at his very best in his last couple of fights, though he has gotten the wins, and he’s plenty dangerous against Jacobs on Saturday.

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