Middleweight Danny Jacobs, 17-0 (15), grew up in an area that is known for breeding fighters, the Brownsville section or Brooklyn. Growing up, Danny dreamed of following these fighters into the ring and on to greatness. That dream followed Danny throughout his amateur career, were he won numerous titles, making his way up to the Olympic trials, only to be upset in the finals of the 2008 Olympic team trials. Jacobs dropped a close decision to Olympian Shawn Estrada. That upset did nothing to Jacobs’s dreams, and may have pushed him into the next gear. After that upset, Jacobs set forth on his professional career, winning his debut on the Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton undercard, and has never looked back since, winning all seventeen of his professional bouts, all but two by way of knockout. On August 22nd, Jacobs looks to shed the “prospect” label and step into the role of contender when he takes on his toughest opponent yet, Ishe Smith, 21-3 (9). This fight looks to be a match up of two fighters that will not relent to each other, and makes for a great fight for the boxing public. Jacobs recently sat down with Convicted Artist Magazine to speak about his past and the upcoming fight with Ishe Smith.
Bob Carroll (BC): Danny, I touched on the fact that you grew up in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, an area that has spawn many good fighters such as Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Shannon Briggs, and Zab Judah. All of these fighters have done pretty well for themselves. Do you feel that in the future your name will be added to that list?
Danny Jacobs (DJ): I feel that only time can tell. I feel that, on this path I am on, if I continue to be successful, and look spectacular, my name deserves to be placed on that list. Even though there are a lot of world champions and, you know, a lot of tough guys coming out of Brownsville, I still think I have what it takes, I have the skills to be on that list and if I make that list, it’s an honor.
BC: You had an outstanding amateur career, 137 wins against only 7 losses, winning four New York Golden Gloves championships, two national Golden Gloves championships, the Junior Olympic championship and the United States Amateur middleweight championship along the way. How has the success of your amateur career helped you acclimate to the professional level?
DJ: It acclimated me pretty well, because I fought all kinds of styles in the amateurs. The mold needs to be a great up and coming prospect that I am now, as opposed to someone who has no amateur background and has to learn on the job. It pretty much paved the way for me to be a great success as I am right now. My skill level is at an all time high because of my amateur background.
BC: You must have a huge amount of hardware (trophies) in your house! How strong of a trophy case did you need to build for all of that hardware?
DJ: Oh yeah, I actually have a lot of hardware in my house, It is actually separated between my house and my mother’s house, because there is so much hardware. At one point my mom said ‘Once you get your big house, you are going to take all of these trophies with you!’ (Both writer and Danny Jacobs laugh)
BC: With 144 amateur fights, is there any concern that many amateur fights may hinder you as a professional?
DJ: Uh, it depends, maybe. A lot of these guys have 3-400 fights in the amateurs and that can hinder somebody’s career as a professional. A fighter can be physically shot, even before turning professional because of all the fighting you are doing as an amateur. Luckily for me, I started boxing at the age of fifteen, which is really late in the world of boxing, so it hasn’t hindered me or my skill level going into the professionals.
BC: Your professional debut was December 2007, on the undercard Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton. How did you land a spot on that card for your debut?
DJ: I landed a spot on that card because my promoter/manager Al Haymon and Golden Boy took an interest in me. I just signed with Al and they just got me on the card. Al and I sat down at the beginning of my career, even before I fought at the professional level, he told me that this will be the pace, told me the big cards I would be a part of and he kept his word. I am real grateful for that fact.
BC: You fought 12 times last year, at time two and three weeks apart. Do you want to keep this pace until you get a championship shot?
DJ: Well, back then it was okay, but now that we are stepping up in competition, we want to go accordingly because my body needs the rest. Obviously I am training harder now and the ware and tear is taking a toll on my body to a certain extent Even though the opportunity was great when I fought two weeks apart, landed a fight on the (Manny) Pacquiao card, and stepped up on both occasions, we want to be smarter now. We don’t want to jump on a card because of what it is, but want to try to be smarter, think of our career and take it slow.
BC: In your last fight you, were able to do what no other fighter has done by stopping George Walton, doing so in round 8. Walton has been in against some big names and has a win over former WBA light middleweight champion Carl Daniels. How did it feel to stop a guy that has beaten a former world champion?
DJ: Well, it feels great that he had beaten a world champion and that he has been in against guys who are of world champion caliber. For me to stop him, which no one else has ever done, it makes me want to pat myself on the back. You know what though, I want to stay focused and not dwell on the past because I still have not made it to where I want to be in my career. I still have a long way to go, so I will continue to train hard and stay focused on the future.
BC: On August 22nd, you take on your toughest opponent yet in your young professional career, Ishe Smith. With Smith’s experience and counter punching style, and without giving it away, what will your game plan be against him?
DJ: We have a specific game plan. I am not going to go into specifics of the game plan. Ishe Smith is a very tricky fighter and you have to be very, uh, very technical with this guy. He is not going to come forward. If you have seen his fights, you know he does not come forward, he is always on his back foot, and he is a counter puncher. He is a very good counter puncher and is definitely my toughest bout to date! We have a game plan that is specific to this fight, so if we stick to that game plan, everything will go right.
BC: How much do you know of Ishe Smith?
DJ: When I was in the amateurs, I heard about Ishe. He was a professional and had starred in ‘The Contender’ series. I believe he started with Golden Boy at one point, when they first started. At that time, he was a top prospect, like where I am now in my career, that’s where he was when I first heard about him. So when I am fighting someone like Smith, who has shared the same exact spotlight, I plan to take advantage. Obviously he slipped and didn’t make it to where he wanted to be, so now he is trying to use me as a ladder to get back into the title hunt. I am going to take my hard work and training into the ring and try to get the “W”
BC: What kind of fight can the boxing public expect from Danny Jacobs against Ishe Smith?
DJ: Well, I am going to try my hardest and do my best. Like I said, I trained hard, very hard and I will be putting my best into the ring on August 22nd. That being said, me being from Brownsville and having that Brownsville mentality, you can expect greatness when I am inside that ring (laughs from writer and Danny Jacobs)! Ishe Smith is very tricky so he will make it very interesting for the boxing fans, the true boxing fans. The true boxing fans are going to love it because it will pit an up and coming prospect against a tricky, uh, I would say veteran, a tricky veteran. This will be a technical fight and I am not sure if it will be too much for the casual boxing fan, but the true boxing fans will appreciate this fight. I don’t know if the casual fans will think that there is enough action, in their eyes, because of the type of style Ishe brings into the ring. I am going to force the pressure in the fight and we’ll see what happens.
BC: What do you feel a win against Smith will do for your career?
DJ: Oh, a win against Ishe Smith will hopefully make the non-believers, who feel I am overrated and in this position because of who I have in my corner, become believers in Danny Jacobs. It will also put me on another plateau at the contender level as opposed to being a prospect. I’ll make it to be a contender and by the beginning of next year, hopefully we will be looking at a title shot as we climb up that ladder.
BC: Now when you say “people who believe I am in this position because of who I have in my corner”, do you mean Al Haymon?
DJ: Yeah, I am talking about Al Haymon and Golden Boy. I have been reading a lot of the boxing blog sites, you know. The real boxing fans know and appreciate my talent, but some, who really don’t know, think I am here because of who I have in my corner. So hopefully, one day I can make those guys believers and make them see that I have the talent to be where I am, not because of who is in my corner. I hope to make them believe I am here because of my self and my team, my boxing team.
BC: The fight takes place in Houston Texas. Houston is quite a ways from Brooklyn; will you still have a big contingency of fans following you down to Houston?
DJ: Oh yeah, we have a bunch of people coming down to Houston. I have fought in Houston 2-3 times already so I have a little fan base down there already and I would expect those fans to come out and support me. All of the support I get, whether it is 10, 25 or 50 fans, I love it because it makes me feel like they came out just for me. That fact alone makes me want to go extra hard. I know my mom, dad and girlfriend are going to be there and that is my number one support system I can have, so for that, I’m very grateful.
BC: Danny, what would you like to say to your fans and the readers of Convicted Artist Magazine?
DJ: I’d like to say that I am an up and coming prospect and hopefully this fight will turn me into a true contender. I’m going to give it my all. I trained my hardest; I have put my all into this fight, inside and outside the ring. You can respect my boxing skills and respect me as a person because I am a gentleman. To all of you who do not know me, watch August 22nd on HBO, and you’ll get to see a bit of what the future of the middleweight division has to hold.
I'd like to thank Danny Jacobs for taking time out of his schedule to talk to Convicted Artist Magazine. I'd also like to thank Janie Renzi for setting up the interview.