City's best boxing hope - 2007
It's been a while since the city has seen a homegrown, all-world-caliber boxer on the order of a Mike Tyson or Riddick Bowe. Though the sport is rumored to be dying a slow death, there is one last hope: Danny Jacobs, 20, won his fourth straight city Golden Gloves title this past April and is looking to represent the United States as a middleweight at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He's also won the U.S.A. Boxing National Championship in 2006, three National Golden Gloves titles, and a pair of National PAL belts, to name a few. Like both Tyson and Bowe, Jacobs, who's been boxing since he was 13, hails from Brownsville, Brooklyn. HBO boxing analyst and local radio personalty Max Kellerman says Jacobs is considered "perhaps the best all-around amateur in the country, and to me it looks like he might even be a better pro than amateur." That's because the pro game favors heavy punchers, Kellerman says, whereas the amateur matches can be won with accurate blows that have little on them. But the hardest fight that Jacobs may face in his climb to the top is not in the ring but outside of it. Kellerman says that according to boxing insiders, the reason why there aren't more upper-echelon boxers from New York City these days is that there are too many distractions outside the ring. Take, for instance, Zab Judah, a can't-miss Brooklyn boxer, who after a string of victories suddenly was seen in a Jay-Z video talking to Naomi Campbell. Soon thereafter, Judah lost his junior welterweight belt and, though he's had a solid career, never became one of the sport's immortals. Hopefully it was just an off night—and not a case of the city's high life already taking its toll on Jacobs—when he was upset at the US Championships this past June. But there's still time before the Olympics next year to regain the eye of the tiger he flashed at the Golden Gloves, when, after downing yet another victim, he declared: "Once I see my opponent's hunger, it immediately sparks me up to where I want to kill him."