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'Miracle Man' Jacobs represents 'hope' for cancer victims
Danny Jacobs: "I want to be a part of organizations where cancer is a process of recovery, because everyone can relate to cancer."
BROOKLYN -- Middleweight contender Danny Jacobs, of Brooklyn, said that he wants "to be the face for people with cancer," having returned to boxing after overcoming paralysis caused by a large, malignant tumor on his spine.
"Most of us in the boxing world, we know Danny Jacobs for being the clean cut person that he is, and we know of the life that he lives, and for just being, all-around, just as good as they come," said Schaefer.
Schaefer shared his thoughts during Saturday night's post-fight press conference at Barclays Center in Jacobs' native Brooklyn, where the fighter took 73 seconds to knock out Josh Luteran in a Showtime-televised bout.
During the press conference, Jacobs, who wore pink shoes into the fight in support of cancer awareness, declared that he was changing his nickname from "Golden Child," to, "Miracle Man."
"I want to be the face for people with cancer. I want to be the hope with everything that I've gone through. I want to be the face, because for a young athlete such as myself to go through something like that, it's very rare. But anyone can get it," said Jacobs, who is 23-1 with 20 knockouts.
"So I want to represent that. I want to be a part of organizations where cancer is a process of recovery, because everyone can relate to cancer, whether they've had it, specifically, or everyone knows someone who has been or is affected by it. So I definitely want to be a part of that."
Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs) represented the fourth fight of a nine-bout event -- the first boxing show at the venue -- whose main event featured four-division title-winner Erik Morales being knocked out in the fourth round of a rematch with RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
In victory over Luteran (13-2, 9 KOs), Jacobs ran to his own corner, jumped on the ropes and raised both hands skyward to the delight of the screaming crowd, later, dropping to his hands and knees in prayer.
"Going into the ring, I don't know if you guys noticed, but I came in to Kanye West's 'Stronger,' and it really has symbolized everything that I've gone through. It was appropriate. When I was in there, I was a little nervous and I had butterflies. Once I had my hands going. I'm glad to be back," said Jacobs, seated behind a microphone on a raised platform.
"I'm not calling anyone out. I'm not looking to fight anyone specific. I'm just happy to be back in the ring, and I'm just happy to be doing what I love to do. We're going to be moving accordingly. We're not going to step up too fast. I just wanted to get the rust off. I've been off for a year and a half, so we're going to make sure that we step up with the right opponent each time."
Jacobs also used the time for reflection on a difficult past.
In July of 2010, Jacobs suffered a fifth-round knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog, this while already fighting with a heavy heart. Jacobs had endured the cancer-related death of his grandmother, Cordelia Jacobs, the previous weekend. Immediately after facing Pirog, Jacobs had to fly back to New York to attend Cordelia Jacobs' funeral the next day.
"A lot of people really don't know that when I fought for my world championship, I lost my grandmother that Tuesday, and I had to fly out the next day for the biggest fight of my life, and I got my first loss, because, mentally, it just wasn't there. I didn't get a chance to really grieve the way that a normal human being is supposed to," said Jacobs.
"And right after the fight, I mean, immediately, right after the fight, we had to fly back so that we could make the funeral the next day, so my career has been just a whole bunch of emotional roller coaster things and a lot of ups and downs. We have a positive outlook on the future, and we're going to have a second chance. Physically, I feel like I am better. I'm looking to the near future. I feel like I can box next week if they give me the opportunity."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com