Danny Jacobs likes to think of himself as New York"s resident boxer. He"ll be spreading his word on Saturday night when he fights Luis Arias at the revamped Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
Jacobs has fought in New York City 10 times. The only loss in the five boroughs came in his most recent - and most impressive - performance, a close unanimous decision to Gennady Golovkin. To that point, Triple G had never truly been tested. That March night at Madison Square Garden, Jacobs gave the middleweight champ all he could handle.
""For me, proving in that last fight that I belong with the top guys in boxing, I am really itching to see what I have inside and display that, and more,"" Jacobs said. ""To go in there with a guy they consider the best and thinking deep down I beat the best, it gives me the confidence you want and need. I know I have a lot more in store.""
Considering that Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez drew in their mega-fight in September, Jacobs won"t be getting a shot at either of them any time soon. A rematch is upcoming for those two stars.
But Jacobs (32-2, 29 knockouts), assuming he takes care of the undefeated but generally untested Arias on the HBO card, has lots of cachet in the sport.
And there"s this: The 30-year-old Jacobs had the backstory and popularity that make him a strong draw for fans. He sat out 19 months in 2011-12 battling a rare bone cancer. He returned to win 10 straight fights before the loss to Triple G.
""Thinking how I took my career for granted when I was a youngster and a golden child, and to know how cancer affected me so, I can"t look at any opportunity as easy,"" Jacobs said. ""This is a new chapter for me. My fan base has grown, a lot more people have more interest in me. People knew my story, now they know the skills are just as good as the story, and I am looking forward to capitalizing on all this momentum.""
Arias is 18-0 with nine knockouts. This is a huge step up in class for him, but he"s called Jacobs ""overrated.""
""I have studied him a lot and I have known Danny Jacobs since I was about 15 years old; his name has been in my weight division and I always knew that Daniel Jacobs and I would end up fighting at some point in my life,"" the 27-year old Arias said. ""It wasn"t in the amateurs and it ended up being in the pros.
""I"ve seen everything I could possibly see in the ring. I have been fighting my entire life. I"ve fought them all and seen it all, so I"ve got to go in there and do my thing. I don"t want to run and I don"t want to chase him. But I know I"m going to have to, so I just plan on making this a dogfight.""
Jacobs is, by far, the biggest name on the program at the Coliseum, the former home of the NHL"s Islanders and also known now as NYCBLIVE. The undercard has heavyweights Jarrell Miller against Mariusz Wach, and super lightweights Cletus Seldin, a Long Islanders, and Roberto Ortiz.
""It feels great. I feel blessed, obviously, to be in the position I am in,"" Jacobs said. ""New York is the mecca of boxing and it"s been that way since I could remember. I am a Brooklynite and am taking advantage of opportunities and I am one of the best in a strong division.
""I also grew up wanting to be the Derek Jeter of boxing, the people"s champion, and represent the city so well. Now that I have that opportunity, I am really basking in it.""