Boxing: Can ‘The Miracle Man’ close the show early?

Boxing: Can ‘The Miracle Man’ close the show early? article feature image

Last Saturday was a banner day in the square circle ’round these parts. Deontay Wilder’s violent first-round knockout of Bermane Stiverne meant we cashed both the u9.5, and more importantly, we hit the +1200 bet on Wilder to win in round one. Beautiful stuff.

Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (-800) vs. Luis “Cuba” Arias (+575)

Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) was last seen losing a tight unanimous decision to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in March. After being dropped early in the fight, Jacobs came back hard and dictated the action for rounds at a time. In the end, he may have lost, but he halted Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak and did himself proud as a big underdog. It was the type of performance that would keep him in the mix for either a rematch with Triple-G or perhaps a shot at Canelo Alvarez should things go off script.

Every boxer has a story, but few fighters’ tales can hold a candle to the 30-year-old Jacobs’. He came through the ranks as a celebrated prospect, but his career hit a speed bump when he lost to another heralded prospect, Dmitry Pirog, back in 2010. The Russian floored Jacobs with a vicious right hand in the fifth round. After picking up a pair of easy wins to rebound from the loss, Jacobs was dealt horrible news when he was diagnosed with cancer in May, 2011.

Once known as “The Golden Child,” Jacobs came back in 2012 as “The Miracle Man” to celebrate his victory over osteosarcoma.

Prior to his loss against Golovkin, Jacobs was in the midst of a 12-fight knockout streak. His signature win came over fellow Brooklynite Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin at the Barclays Center in December, 2015. Jacobs worked Quillin in the first round. The shocking victory was a pinnacle moment for Jacobs and announced that he wasn’t just a feel-good story — he was for real.

Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) is the fighting pride of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and comes into this bout off an impressive fifth-round stoppage victory over Arif Magomedov on the Ward-Kovalev II undercard. The 27-year-old dominated the fight, and the early ending was well deserved.

Knowing he’s up against superior opposition at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, Arias is promising that he will take the action to Jacobs and is claiming that “The Miracle Man” doesn’t like to mix it up in the pocket. Maybe that’s just a fighter trying to hype up a bout, but either way, the only way Arias is going to pull this off is by catching Jacobs like Pirog did — and don’t let Arias’ knockout ratio fool you, he’s got some stick in his mitts.

Even though Arias passed the Magomedov test with flying colors, the Russian represents the toughest opposition that “Cuba” has faced as a pro, and that isn’t saying much. Jacobs is a significant step up for Arias, and the odds reflect that. As it stands now, there is no value backing either fighter to win.

Where there is value, as often is the case, is on the over/under. Currently, the O/U is set at 9.5 rounds with the under juiced at -120 and the over sitting at -110.

Whether it’s because he has two blemishes on his record or because the division has been dominated by Golovkin vs. Canelo talk for years, Jacobs remains underrated as a boxer. If you ask around, many boxing fans will tell you that he handled Golovkin better than Canelo did, even though the latter earned a draw with the Kazakh knockout artist.

Since Arias’ last performance is pretty fresh in the mind and there isn’t much known about the Milwaukeean, he may be getting a little bit too much respect here. He looked good on one of the year’s biggest PPV cards, and that seems to be skewing things just a tad because this fight has a pretty obvious feel to it. HBO loves Daniel Jacobs and is giving him a very beatable opponent to set him up for big things in 2018. Whether it be against Golovkin, Alvarez or the winner of  David Lemieux-Billy Joe Saunders in December, there’s a big payday hanging in the balance for Jacobs, and he’s going to want to put on the type of performance to leave no doubt that he deserves it.

Pick: Under 9.5 rounds -120

Record to date: 5-0-1, +17.45u

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