When it comes to the sport of boxing an undeniable characteristic every boxer requires is heart. To me, heart is the will to survive when your being beaten; Its faith, and the ability to persevere through your toughest battles. To me, heart is Diego Corrales getting up off the canvas after being knocked down twice in the same round by Jose Luis Castillo and knocking Castillo out when most people thought he was done.
To have heart is too have a confident mental approach to your situation, never letting yourself believe your going to be beaten. Without a strong mental approach in anything, a strong physique doesn’t really matter.
Every once in a while a figure comes along that shows a tremendous amount of this so called “heart” I speak of. And in boxing there is no better case of this than Daniel Jacobs.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, USA. Daniel Jacobs is a middleweight fighter and current WBA Middleweight Champion. He had an outstanding amateur career with a record of 137-7 and he carried this success into his professional career. Jacobs made his pro debut in 2007 and stayed very active fighting an impressive twelve times in 2008, winning eleven of them by KO. He fought a total of twenty fights before losing for the first time by way of knockout to still undefeated Russian boxer Dmitry Pirog in 2010.
Jacobs would only fight two more times before noticing something strange happening. Jacobs started feeling an increasing weakness in his legs, which is quite strange for a boxer who was probably in the best physical shape of his life, that prompted him to seek medical help to get answers on what was going on. The results he got were alot worse than what he could have imagined.
In early 2011 Daniel Jacobs was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a severe bonce cancer that left him partially paralyzed which led Doctors to believe he would never walk again. There was a tumor the size of a golf ball wrapped around Jacobs spine and although he was aware of the tumor his family did not initially inform him it was cancerous believing it would have been to heavy a weight to bear all at once. Jacobs finally realized the severity of his situation upon receiving the news that he would have to undergo chemotherapy treatment.
At a point where most men would begin to break, Jacobs kept his faith, determined to persevere through the hardest fight of his life. Jacobs heart only strengthened through his adversity.
The support of his family, his passion for boxing, and his eagerness to put on a show for his fans was all the motivation he needed to fight through a mid 2011 surgery and rehabilitation. Always in the back of his mind was the boxing ring and eagerness to perform in it.
To the discouragement of his doctors, Jacobs was miraculously back sparring later that year, already trying to get back on track and get a shot at the title, never with quit in his head. He fought for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer in a late 2012 bout against Josh Luteran in Jacobs hometown of Brooklyn, NY. He showed he was back and ready to perform by ending the fight within the first round. His first fight back could not have been in a better place than in his backyard with all his family, friends, and fans cheering him on. Watching proudly as a man who was told he may never walk again knockout his opponent in the first round in one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.
This win signified more than just another tally for the win column on his record sheet. It was a showing of what faith and heart can do. Daniel Jacobs never backed down and never gave up his fight, and because of that came back an even stronger man than before. Mentally and physically.
After only four more fights Jacobs got the chance to fulfill his dream of becoming the middleweight world champion when he fought Jarrod Fletcher in 2013, again in Jacobs hometown of Brooklyn, NY. He dominated the fight with quick accurate punches in a performance I have not been as impressed by in a while. He ended the fight with a fifth round TKO to become the new WBA Middleweight Champion.
Daniel Jacobs dream finally came true. Not just to become the Middleweight champion for himself, but to bring that title back to his borough. For his family and everyone that stood behind him. For everyone that supported him. For all the fans he never wanted to let down. He finally reached that point. Throughout all his battles inside and outside of the ring Daniel Jacobs showed true heart. To me, Daniel Jacobs is boxing.