WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder and mandatory challenger Dominic "Trouble" Breazeale went face-to-face Tuesday at a heated press conference.
The former IBF welterweight world champion won a belt for the first time at Barclays Center.
Daniel Jacobs will be back in Brooklyn on Saturday night, fighting in front of a home crowd at Barclays Center for the first time in more than two years. He’ll have some company in the hometown favorite category.
Before the former middleweight world champion takes on Maciej Sulecki, fellow Brooklyn native Jarrell Miller will face off against Johann Duhaupas in a heavyweight battle. While Miller is fighting at Barclays Center for the second time – both in the last year – Jacbos is making his sixth appearance in the BROOKLYN BOXING ring, but first since his first-round knockout of Peter Quillin in December 2015.
Both fighters stopped in for a public workout on Wednesday afternoon in the arena’s GEICO Atrium.
“It’s a great comfort,” said Jacobs. “And I think I’m past that point where it brings pressure to me fighting in my hometown. I believe it adds more of a motivation factor than anything to see my family and friends and everyone in the crowd supporting me. To hear that Brooklyn chant, there’s nothing better than that when you’re a Brooklyn guy.”
It’s been 13 months since Jacobs battled Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight world title, taking the unbeaten unified champ the distance for the first time in nine years before dropping a narrow decision. Riding a raft of acclamation for his effort, he returned to the ring in November for a dominant decision over Luis Arias at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Arias fight began a new stage for Jacobs with a defined endgame to get another shot at Golovkin and the middleweight world championship. His fight against Sulecki has been declared an eliminator with the winner becoming a mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s WBA belt. But the field is getting crowded. Rising new middleweight Jermall Charlo claimed the WBC interim title with his knockout of Hugo Centeno at Barclays Center last Saturday to become that federation’s mandatory challenger. While Golovkin holds the WBA, WBC and IBF belts, the WBO title belongs to unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders. And Canelo Alvarez, who was supposed to fight Golovkin on May 5 in a rematch of their draw last fall, will be out there again after his six-month suspension concludes.
So Jacobs knows that perception matters and style points matter. He’s already got 29 knockouts among his 33 career wins, but after winning a decision over Arias, he’s looking for No. 30 on Saturday.
“Very high on the list of priorities,” said Jacobs. “The fans want to see knockouts. Obviously the fans love great shows, which I try to put on every time I go out. With the last performance I got a decision, but this one, I want to go for the glory. I want to go for the knockout. Whether it comes, it comes. A victory is assured in my opinion, but at the same time, fans I’ve got to give them what they want. They’re paying customers and they allow us to have the career that we have.”
Miller is building momentum in the heavyweight division, inserting himself in the conversation for a future championship opportunity.
Saturday’s matchup with Duhaupas will be Miller’s third fight in nine months. Before he stopped Gerald Washington in eight rounds at Barclays Center last July, Miller hadn’t fought in a year, and he’d had just 18 fights in his first seven years as a pro. But he quickly followed up that victory with a ninth-round TKO of Mariusz Wach on the undercard of Jacobs’ win at NYCB LIVE on Long Island.
So this will be Miller’s third straight fight hosted by BROOKLYN BOXING. Most significantly, it will be his third straight fight against a former world championship challenger. Duhaupas, with his 37-4 career record, took on Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt in 2015.
Washington had also taken on Wilder, and Wach had fought Wladimir Klitschko for the unified title in 2012.
With his 20-0-1 record, Miller is confident his time has come, and he’s ready for the next big step up – a shot against Wilder or Anthony Joshua. He just needs to take care of business first on Saturday.
“I’m definitely going to test him here and there,” said Miller of the matchup. “Boxing is a feeling out process. You’ve got to give and take a little bit here and there … and when I land a clean shot, we’ll get him out of there. I know I’m going to land some really good shots. My footwork feels phenomenal compared to my last two fights.”
Two-division world champion Danny Garcia has been one of the most significant figures in Barclays Center’s boxing history. Garcia headlined BROOKLYN BOXING’S inaugural fight card in 2012 and has headlined six fight nights at Barclays Center, more than any other boxer. In his most recent fight at Barclays Center, he and Keith Thurman brought in a BROOKLYN BOXING record 16,533 fans for their world welterweight championship unification bout in the highest-grossing non-Nets event in the building’s history. On Saturday night, Garcia held a meet & greet signing session for fans during the Broner vs. Vargas fight card, and spoke with BrooklynBoxing.com:
BROOKLYNBOXING.COM: What brought you up to Brooklyn for tonight’s meet & greet?
DANNY GARCIA: I’ve got to show a lot to my fans in Brooklyn. We just had a meet and greet with the fans, brought some merch for the fans they can buy directly off me. Most important we’re just showing love, signing autographs, and then I’m here to watch the fights.
BKBOX: You’ve fought six times at Barclays Center. Is this building a home for you as a fighter?
DG: This is definitely my home for boxing. I had some big fights, some big defenses. I think I hold the record 16,500! So it’s definitely home.
BKBOX: You’ve done some broadcasting as a fight commentator. How did you get started with that and are you enjoying that work?
DG: It was good. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I enjoyed it. It was definitely something I’d like to keep doing, something for after boxing. It was cool.
BKBOX: The Philadelphia 76ers are in the playoffs and you were at one of their recent games. As a Philadelphia native, are you a big fan off all the teams there?
DG: I’m a Philly team fan. But definitely, Sixers, Eagles the most. I’m a Sixers guy until I die. It’s a process. Just like anything, you’ve got to build somebody up. But I trust the process. This is going to be a great year for us. We can definitely do it. We’ve got the squad. I’m sitting back and I’m enjoying every moment of it.
BKBOX: Were you surprised the Eagles won the Super Bowl, considering the expectations before the season and then the Carson Wentz injury?
DG: That was a dream come true for me. I always thought, would I ever live to see the Eagles win a Super Bowl, and they did it. I was happy. It was a dream come true for me. I was scared, I’m not going to lie, but certain players are just built for certain moments and Nick Foles was built for that moment. He might not be a good regular season quarterback to get you 12 or 13 wins, but he got us the most important wins.
BKBOX: How did you feel about your most recent fight against Brandon Rios, a ninth-round TKO in Feburary?
DG: I felt good. It was a great performance by me. I went in there, took it one round at a time, I knocked him out in the ninth round. I did what I said I was going to do.
BKBOX: Since that fight, what are you up to now and what are you looking forward to next?
DG: Right now, I’m just relaxing. But I’m still mentally ready to fight whoever. So whenever that phone rights and they say, 'Danny, you’ve got to fight him,' it’s on.
This interview has been edited and condensed.