Jacobs entered the contest having won a miraculous battle with a rare cancer that paralyzed him two years ago. Having since beaten his disease, becoming an advocate for cancer research and healthy living in the process, Jacobs has also quietly rattled off three wins since October of 2012. At 6’1” with a 73” reach and an athletic, muscular build to go with a solid amateur background and the maturity of experience, Jacobs could develop into a problem at 160. At age 26, what is necessary is proving he can infiltrate the upper levels of contention and win.
Giovanni Lorenzo is a middleweight also-ran with respectable power, a durable chin and a habit of losing the biggest fights of his career. Coming into this bout, he was 3-3 in his last six with losses dating back to Felix Sturm in 2010, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in 2011 and Sam Soliman in 2012. The guys he beat were nowhere near that level (one was 3-26-1 Johnny Valentin). Nonetheless, Lorenzo, 32-6 (24), entered Monday’s affair having never been stopped.
Jacobs boxed well behind a heavier jab than in the past. Some holes did appear in Jacobs’ game as he has a tendency to lower his right hand as he jabs with what he calls the “Bow and Arrow.” But beyond that, he showed much improvement. Jacobs (who used to have a tendency to back up to the ropes and then tie up) pivoted much smoother behind a hard jab and straight right hand. Here, he jabbed twice, ducked and pivoted out several times to get to center ring.
Lorenzo played the old veteran, roughing up Jacobs any way he could. He used combos to the head and body and was nasty in the clinches. What happened in the third was unclear but the tactics, which the commentators seemed to think were having an effect on Jacobs, had the opposite effect.
“I knew I definitely had the skills over him but [Lorenzo] had the experience,” said Jacobs of said tactics. “I knew that he was giving me old Bernard Hopkins moves, trying to get inside my head. And I didn’t let it get to me. I knew he was strong but once he hit me with a good left, I said, ‘OK, let’s go.’ The Brooklyn came out of me and I got him out of there.”
Jacobs suffered a cut from either an elbow or headbutt. The elbow seems more likely as a gash opened under Jacobs’ left eye under the cheekbone.
“I think maybe a couple years ago with the inexperience, I probably would have gotten a little panicky but I calmed down. I wiped my glove and I seen that he cut me. But I calmed down a little bit. I said, ‘Take your time,’ because I knew he was going to come after me. And he came and I said. ‘I got something for you,’ and it ended up working out real good.”
The doctor examined Jacobs and once action resumed, he went after Lorenzo, boxing smart and finding purchase with a left hook and then a right hand that shook Lorenzo. Jacobs stepped up the tempo, attacking in earnest but moving to the side and not taking anything stupid in return.
Lorenzo backed to the ropes and took a hard left hook/right hand combo that scrambled his consciousness enough for his knees to buckle for the full collapse. Lorenzo was removed from his senses momentarily as he searched around for a way to get up. Mercifully, referee Steve Willis stopped the contest at 2:05 of the third.
“I owe it all to the man upstairs,” Jacobs would say afterward. “God is a great part of my life and with this second opportunity, I felt I wanted to make a statement and I feel I made a statement here tonight. My Brooklyn peoples, they came to support me! I love you.”
With the win, Jacobs picked up the vacant WBC Continental Americas belt, moving him up the ranks and closer to an eventual showdown with fellow Al Haymon/Golden Boy Promotions stablemate and WBO middleweight titleholder Peter Quillin.
Also on the card, middleweight Terrell Gausha, 10-2 (4), was technically sound and ruthlessly efficient in stopping Austin Marcum, 5-4 (3), at 1:04 of the second round. Gausha used a piston-like jab to set up a big right hand, putting Marcum down in the corner at the end of the first. Smelling blood, Gausha made quick work of Marcum, changing levels well behind his jab and dropping Marcum with body shots.
Gausha has not lost as a professional fighter. As a pro, he is 5-0 with three knockouts. As a semi-pro in the World Series of Boxing league, he suffered two losses against five wins. However, AIBA and the WSB failed to reach an agreement with the Association of Boxing Commissions and then failed to inform fighters like Gausha that any loss they suffered in the U.S. would count against their records.
Junior middleweight Eddie Gomez, 15-0 (10), was fairly basic in stopping Steven Upsher Chambers, 24-3-1 (6), who gave little to no resistance. It was all Gomez all the time, so on one hand, it is hard to criticize him. Chambers simply asked no questions of Gomez beyond a third round rally that got him clocked and stopped at 2:33 of the fourth.
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