The task at hand isn’t always the most sought after or lucrative, yet it’s undeniably the most important. Pertaining to Boxing, if you can’t deal with the man in front of you on a particular night, the fights you clamor, dream about and long for will never come to fruition. This past Saturday night, April 28th, Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller cleared the necessary obstacles impeding their paths to more worthwhile, legacy enhancing endeavors. HBO televised this card billed “Straight Outta Brooklyn”, live from Barclay’s Center smackdab in the borough itself.
Daniel Jacobs (34-1, 29 KO’s) vs. Maciej Sulecki (26-1, 10 KO’s)
Perhaps Jacobs was using the first couple rounds to feel Sulecki out, to gauge what he had, or maybe his defense was simply negligent. Sulecki established himself as a tough out, landing a handful of counter rights from close range. Jacobs took the shots well and by round 4, was forcing Sulecki on his back foot. Throughout the affair, Jacobs switched from orthodox to southpaw, giving Sulecki different looks, creating angles and openings for his own offense. Though closely contested, Jacobs was clearly winning. A huge overhand right beat Sulecki to the punch in the 12th, dropping him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Bravely, Sulecki finished the fight on his feet, but this timely punctuator left no doubt as to the outcome.
The scores read 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112, all for Jacobs, who not only gave Sulecki his first loss, but cemented his claim as the mandatory challenger for the WBA Middleweight championship, held by Gennady Golovkin. “Triple G” is of course occupied with replacement opponent, Vanes Martirosyan, on May 5th and presumably “Canelo” Alvarez in September. In the interim, Jacobs made it clear he’d love to duke it out with WBC mandatory contender, Jermall Charlo, in what promises to be a crowd pleaser.
Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (21-0-1, 18 KO’s) vs. Johann Duhaupas 37-5, 24 KO’s)
As rumors of a date with Anthony Joshua swirled, “Big Baby” Miller remained focused on what was in front of him, Johann Duhaupas. Miller jumped on Duhaupas early, nearly felling him with a right uppercut. Tipping the scales at 304 ¼, Miller performed beyond the limits of what his physique insinuates. He switched stances, showed surprising hand-speed, upper body movement, mobility and athleticism for such a large man. Boxing’s answer to Charles Barkley, if you will, replete with a jovial spirit and funny one liners.
“Big Baby” landed practically everything, to no avail. Duhaupas went 11 rounds with Deontay Wilder, which speaks volumes about his punch resistance. It wasn’t for lack of trying though, as Miller went for the kill at opportune times. All told, he fired off 782 punches, an average of over 65 per round, a remarkable feat for a 300 pounder. “Big Baby” was the unanimous decision winner by scores of 119-109 (twice) and 117-111.
Despite being victorious, Miller is seen as a sacrificial lamb for Joshua’s American debut in August. “Big Baby” isn’t lacking for confidence however, and welcomes the spectacle of “G-string Joshua, the English muffin”, as he’s labeled him.