The middleweight division in boxing currently boasts many top-tier fighters. It is also one of the toughest weight classes to sort through. We’ll get a little clarity this weekend, as two of the best in the 160-pound class will square off in what is being dubbed the “Battle for Brooklyn.”
Daniel Jacobs and Peter Quillin will meet Saturday night at the Barclays Center for Jacobs’ WBA “regular” title live on Showtime.
Jacobs (30-1, 27 Kos) enters this fight on a 10-fight win streak since his only pro loss to Dmitry Pirog in 2010. He was last in action in August, when he scored a second-round TKO victory over Sergio Mora.
The “Miracle Man” is one of the stronger punchers in the sport, with the knockout percentage to back it up. However, Jacobs also has quick hands and boasts a high boxing IQ that allows him to dictate the action.
“I believe my speed is my greatest advantage,” Jacobs said to BoxingNews24. “My skill, my ring generalship…I could go on and on. Ultimately it’s about going in there and proving it.”
Jacobs will look to use his speed and ability to land the knockout punch, as boxers generally struggle with counter-punching against him.
“This is a boxer vs. a boxer-puncher,” Jacobs added. “If I get a guy hurt, I can get a guy out of there as well. My punching power is there. I have more knockouts than Quillin and I’m going to be at my best on Saturday.”
Quillin (32-0-1, 23 KOs), is a 32-year-old former world champion originally from Chicago, but now fighting out of Brooklyn.
He last fought in September — a fifth-round knockout over Australian prospect Michael Zerafa. Going into that fight, Quillin had fought to a draw versus Andy Lee in November of last year.
Qullin, in a weird money move orchestrated by Al Haymon, had actually vacated his WBO title before Lee and Matt Korobov fought for it in 2014. Quillin failed to make weight for the Lee fight, which prevented him from having a chance to re-capture the belt, but will once again have an opportunity at a world title.
“I just have to let my hands go and not have a worry in the world because when you’re in there, you’re in there and there’s no way you can leave unless you leave in a stretcher,” Quillin said to BoxingNews24.
Quillin is also known as a big puncher, but will have to pick his spots carefully against the bigger Jacobs.
I think it’s going to come down to who’s smarter and who’s sharper the night of the fight. It will certainly be a chess match, with the first person to make a mistake, likely to pay.
“We’ve got a plan A, plan B, plan C, plan D, plan E, plan F,” Quillin added. “We are going to go to beyond, but most importantly I am very happy. I am spiritually happy and thankful. You fall out of fear and fall into faith and you can never deny yourself, so that’s where I am right now.”
This fight will hold major weight in determining the future of the middleweight division.
After defeating Miguel Cotto a couple of weeks ago, Canelo Alvarez is considered the lineal middleweight champion, even though the 25-year-old Mexican superstar isn’t even truly a real middleweight. In his last four fights, none of the bouts have had contract weights over 155 pounds (five pounds under the middleweight limit) and none of the fighters he’s faced was a true 160-pounder.
Most people in boxing, myself included, actually consider Gennady Golovkin the best middleweight in the world. He is a unified champion, holding both the WBA and IBF titles. He’s undefeated, and he’s knocked out 21 straight opponents.
Then there’s the aforementioned Lee, a 31-year-old southpaw from Ireland, who is the WBO middleweight champion.
Since suffering a knockout loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012 during his first attempt at winning a world championship, Lee has remained undefeated in seven straight fights.
Along with Cotto, there are also several other interesting contenders left in the division. Former titleholder David Lemieux, who lost to Golovkin in October and undefeated British prospect Billy Joe Saunders, who will challenge Lee in December are the best of the rest.
There is also junior middleweights (154 lbs.) Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo, who could move up in class.
As long as the top fighters in the division continue to face each other, everything will work it’s way out and eventually the true champion will be clearly known.