By William “Ski” Wilczewski
Photos: Chris Coduto – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
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You would think it was nothing new for undefeated Daniel Jacobs. Another fight. Another technical knockout. But, when The Golden Child visited Tucson, Ariz.s Desert Diamond Casino Friday night, he learned something new about himself against George Blaze Walton. He learned that he could fight when injured. In the post-fight press conference, Jacobs revealed that he hurt his left hand in training two weeks prior.
He marched on.
In the third round, he suffered a cut the first of his professional career over his right eye.
He marched on.
Truth be told, though, by that point, Jacobs was already in full stride, having knocked Walton down already in the previous frame. He couldnt finish off the scrappy Harlem, N.Y. native in the second, but he spent the next six rounds teeing off on him at will with pinpoint flurries to the head and body until referee Bobby Ferrara called an end to the bout with a minute and a second left in the eighth round.
“I was trying to use my jab more, but with it hurt, I just switched it up and started using those right hands,” said Jacobs, now 17-0 with 15 knockouts. “It shows I can adjust.
As far as the cut was concerned, he said it was a matter of just staying calm.
“You can’t teach a person to have heart. You can’t teach him how to want it. You can teach him how to box. You can teach him certain styles, but you can’t teach him, when someone puts the pressure on, how not to crack,” Jacobs said. “That’s just something that you have inside you.
“The cut was annoying. I can feel it but its a boxing injury. It happens,” he added. “I’m a calm boxer in there, and I believe I can adjust. I think. I use my head.
His head is something he will need when he continues to climb the middleweight ranks.
On hand for the fight, promoter Oscar De La Hoya told reporters that Jacobs is being considered as the co-main event on his August HBO Boxing After Dark card. Peter Manfredo of Contender fame is being looked at as his next possible opponent.
“I would love to fight Peter,” Jacobs said. “I think his style is picture perfect for mine. Not to take anything away from him, but I believe Im the better fighter, and he’s a step up but it’s just a rumor until its confirmed. But, I definitely see myself as a threat in this middleweight division,” he added. “You got a lot of guys on their way out, as far as moving to different weight classes. It’s perfect for me to fit in. I think I can fill that void. I have the speed. I have the intelligence. I have the power, the charisma, the looks, the charm. I’ve been blessed to have this natural skill. My reflexes, I believe, are superb.”
For Walton, who was stopped for the first time in his pro career, it just may be the end of the road.
“I said (before the fight), if he kicks my butt all across the ring, then thatll be my key to go ahead hang it up so, I guess thats what its going to lead to, because he kicked my butt all cross the ring. I was trying to get on the inside, not stay on the outside and allow him to box me but he has deceptive movement,” added the 1996 N.Y. Golden Gloves championship. “I just wasn’t able to get in there comfortably and land clean shots.
Walton, now 20-4 with 12 knockouts, said his downfall was not sticking to his long-range game plan. Instead, he began looking for one big shot.
“The whole time, I’m just kept believing I can get that shot in, and that that one shot would turn the fight around, so I kept forcing it and forcing it when I should have just eased up a bit and let it come,” he said. I just felt like eventually I would get to him and break him down. Maybe he’ll make a mistake and Ill be able to capitalize. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to that opening and take advantage of his mistakes.
“Ultimately, my performance sucked. I stunk up the joint,” Walton added. “He fought a great fight. He did everything he was supposed to do, and he stayed in control.”
For his efforts, Jacobs was reported to have earned $15,000 on the night to Walton’s $10,000.
On the undercard, Deontay Wilder, the United States only boxing medalist in the 2008 Olympics, upped his record to 6-0 with 6 KOs after flooring Kelsey Arnold (1-3-2) in 1 minute, 13 seconds of the first round.
Before that, referee Nico Perez may have prematurely stopped the fight between Jermell Charlo (8-0, 4 KOs) and Federico Flores (6-3, 2 KOs). Flores had an upset in mind, but 46 seconds into the eighth and final round, Perez stepped in and shocked the crowd of about booing fans 1,800 with his decision.
Before TV coverage began, unbeaten welterweight Keith Thurman moved to 9-0 with a third round TKO over veteran Marteze Logan (26-36-2, 6 KOs). Thurman threw everything but the kitchen sink at Logan before Ferrara called the fight 46 seconds into the round.
Also of note, heavyweight Seth Mitchell (12-0-1, 7 KOs) won a six-rounder over Alvaro Morales (3-6-5) by scores of 60-54 on all of the judges scorecards.
Plus, super featherweight Hylon Williams Jr. (10-0, 3 KOs) edged Khadapho Proctor (4-4-1) by scores of 57-56, 58-55, 57-56 in the pairs six round battle.
(Wilczewski is the assistant editor and former sports editor of the Nogales International in Nogales, Ariz.)