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Daniel Jacobs loses with a vengeance: Why is it so hard to put the gloves down?

Written by Daniele D’Alessio

ONCE upon a time, Daniel Jacobs was one of the best 160-pound athletes in the world. Nicknamed ‘The Human Miracle’ after beating bone cancer in 2011 and taking the world title in 2014, the American was at his peak.

He was so formidable, in fact, that he went twelve rounds with top seed Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017, narrowly losing on all three judges’ cards.

This was before he challenged Canelo Alvarez for the IBF, WBC and WBA middleweight world titles and also defeated several undefeated fighters, such as Maciej Sulecki and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

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But now, at 37 years old, Jacobs is not the boxer he once was. Father Time is undefeated, and this was evident when he returned to the ring after more than two years of inactivity on Saturday night and lost by unanimous decision to Shane Mosley Jr.

You could tell the end was near when he won a split decision against Gabriel Rosado and then lost a split decision to John Ryder.

Saturday was a piece of cake. One that doesn’t have the same texture it had when it came straight out of the oven. Shane Mosley Jr is on a five-fight winning streak and has his legendary father’s genes. However, five years ago, it is clear that the outcome would have been different, and Jacobs had a better chance of coming out victorious.

However, Jacobs is not the only example of a hero who seems to be struggling to hang up the gloves. Mike Tyson has lasted longer than he should have, Roy Jones Jr is not officially retired, and Floyd Mayweather Jr participates in regular shows, albeit in brilliant sparring matches against unlikely opponents.

The strange thing is that some boxers who have achieved a lot in this sport are the ones who seem to have a lot to prove.

It’s like world titles, fairy tale status and millions of dollars are not enough to satisfy their insecurities. Or maybe nothing will ever come close to the happiness found inside the square circle.

There is no medicine that can replace the praise received when your hand is raised, when thousands shout your name in the arena or the simple idea among boxing teams that ‘you are the man.’

Of course, not every boxer leaves his health and production wealth in check. If you don’t invest your money well, the quality of your accomplishments diminishes and you may be forced to start fighting again just to make ends meet.

Not every ex-combatant becomes a world-class coach, professor or influencer. Most fade into the limelight, or, as Tyson Fury once put it, become ‘just another empty bump in the shower.’

And even if you leave professional boxing at the right time, there is no guarantee that you will live the rest of your life in harmony, enjoying all your wealth. Rocky Marciano finished his career with a perfect record of 49-0 at the age of 32. But thirteen years later he died in a plane crash the day before his 46th birthday.

Before facing Mosley Jr, Jacobs said he wanted to tick another box in his career. He wants to become a three-time world champion and solidify his place in the Hall of Fame.

Last night’s loss makes it difficult to imagine how he can capture another world title, especially at 168 lbs, with Canelo still around, four years younger than Jacobs and close to his prime.

Not to mention that top fighters like David Benavidez and David Morrell Jr. they’ve moved up to 175 lbs for a while and will no doubt go back to 168 if the world titles come loose.

Beyond the glitz and glamor of boxing, it’s easy to forget that this is a brutal sport. If you go swimming, you will get wet. But instead of wet hair, and the usual enough punishment, it will be brain damage.

The great Muhammad Ali took an estimated 200,000 hits during his career and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984.

Jacobs has not yet publicly stated whether he will continue his boxing career. It can only be hoped that he finds purpose elsewhere and retires permanently while he is healthy enough.

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