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Daniel Jacobs vs John Ryder predictions and preview: Who wins the must-win fight?

It’s must-win for Daniel Jacobs and John Ryder on Saturday. Who gets the duke?

Daniel Jacobs and John Ryder both need to win on Saturday. Who will?
Daniel Jacobs and John Ryder both need to win on Saturday. Who will?
Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

It’s another quiet weekend for boxing, as things won’t really heat up consistently (knock on wood) until after this Saturday, but we do have one intriguing matchup, as Daniel Jacobs faces John Ryder in a 12-round super middleweight main event on DAZN, live from London.

Can Jacobs (37-3, 30 KO) get back to form after a rough outing last we saw him in late 2020? Will Ryder (30-5, 17 KO) finally get that top-level win?

Here’s how we’re seeing it heading into tomorrow’s fight.

Scott Christ (3-3)

We got a solid reminder last week of a couple of things:

  1. Sometimes a break for a veteran fighter can be a good thing.
  2. Top-tier talent wins out over good talent unless a fighter is shot or fighting at a weight they can’t handle.

Keith Thurman’s win over Mario Barrios wasn’t unpredictable or anything (though I didn’t predict it, as I am a real gambler, which is a nice word for “dipshit”), and if Daniel Jacobs has also refreshed, recharged, and not gone right to the crapper in his 15 months out of action, I think he wins this fight because he’s a better, more well-rounded boxer than John Ryder.

I do like Ryder, but he hasn’t exactly looked great since his controversial loss to Callum Smith, just as Jacobs hasn’t been outstanding in his last couple. If Jacobs is back to at least 80% of his top form, I think he wins this fight; it seems a good sign that he’s back with Andre Rozier, and Jacobs says he’s found his spark and balance again as a fighter with that move. I’m going with Jacobs, but I think the odds are tight for a reason, just as they were with Thurman-Barrios. We simply don’t know for sure what Jacobs is bringing to the ring in this fight. Jacobs MD-12

Wil Esco (4-2)

I can’t help but feel like Daniel Jacobs has largely faded from relevance over the past few years and while he’s certainly past his peak form by now, I still think he’s good enough to beat John Ryder in this weekend’s outing. I sort of get the impression that Jacobs is content to tread water from here on out while he cashes a few more checks, and I think he’s in a comfortable situation with Matchroom to make that happen. The fact is there’s probably not any real big fight out there for Jacobs at this point. And as for Ryder, well, he’s already shown that he’s hit his ceiling and this level of opposition has proven to be over his head in the past. I don’t expect Jacobs to completely blow Ryder out of the water or anything, that’s not really his style so much, but I do think he’ll take a comfortable decision. Jacobs UD-12

John Hansen (5-1)

I’m still in the Beginner’s Luck stage of staff predictions, and figuring out how to explain a pick without diminishing a fighter in the process.

With that in mind: Guys like John Ryder make boxing great. Ton of heart, awesome nickname (who doesn’t love “The Gorilla?”), reliable entertainment on an undercard, and an underdog worth rooting for whenever he’s made it to headline status on a major card.

But I don’t think he can handle Danny Jacobs. Not even the current version of Jacobs, who seems to have clearly lost something to the combination of rising in age and weight class. Between what probably should have been a loss in his most recent fight against Gabe Rosado and 15 months of inactivity since then, I won’t be surprised to see at least one of the guys pick against him. I just think that even a declining Jacobs has shown us world class talent recently enough, and handled enough guys on Ryder’s level before, that I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

John Ryder practically has “lost a controversial decision to…” attached as a suffix to his name. With no disrespect, that seems the likely best case scenario for him again this weekend. Jacobs MD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (3-3)

This is the first time I can remember having to actually step back and sleep on a pick; being stuck in last place with Scott isn’t good for the psyche. Both men have plenty going their way; Jacobs is the more technically adept boxer and can match even Ryder’s quick hands, but Ryder is far more proven at super middleweight and a far more effective infighter. Both are also too passive for their own good at times, making it anyone’s guess as to how it’ll actually play out.

Much as I’d like to see Ryder get the win and the ensuing opportunities he was denied in the Smith debacle, I think I have to go with Jacobs. His style tends to produce more eye-catching shots, especially since Ryder isn’t the most defensively sound at a distance and can be reluctant to actually force his way into the pocket. It’s a battle between a guy who’s good at winning close decisions and a guy who’s good at losing them, so give me the former. Jacobs SD-12

And the staff winner is...

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Daniel Jacobs (4-0)!

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