WBA Middleweight World Champion Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs will defend his title against undefeated former champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® main event with TV coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Barclays Center.
In the co-feature, WBA Featherweight World Champion Jesus Cuellar (27-1, 21 KOs) will face Puerto Rican contender Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo (26-4, 16 KOs). Overall, the card is stacked with 10 fights and once again makes BK's Barclays Center the place to be for elite boxing.
This week Quillin and Jacobs worked out and addressed the media at Gleason's Gym in their current hometown of Brooklyn, preparing for the bragging-rights battle that awaits them.
“I believe my time is now," Jacobs said in an October 15 press conference. "I know there was hype around me as a prospect (137-7 amateur record, Junior Olympics champ and National Golden Gloves welterweight champion). People have their opinions about me, but I believe at this present time that I’ve matured as a man overall. I’m in my prime."
“To me, this fight means everything to Brooklyn. This is a thick-skinned city that was raised on fighting. You always had to defend yourself. We have that pride of having great fighters that come from here and I’m fortunate enough to be that champion to continue the legacy.
“I think youth is everything in the sport of boxing. Although Quillin is older than I am, he has that experience and power that he will bring into the ring. Anything can happen in this sport."
Boxing Over Buddy Passes
Jacobs, 28 and Quillin, 32 have considered themselves friends for many years, but both fighters say it was in the back of their minds that they would collide in a high-stakes championship throw down one day, so they tempered their affections for each other along the way.
"You never want to hurt your friend," Kid Chocolate told The Shadow League at Gleason's Gym on Wednesday, "but in this fight I want to hurt Danny, so what does that tell you about our friendship right there? I don't know what type of friendship (if any) we will have after this fight because sometimes you don't want to be friends with the guy that beats you up."
"I'm from Brownsville in Brooklyn," Jacobs told reporters. "I never ran and I never will. I don't know how it's going to go down, but there is no doubt this is going to be one of the biggest fights Brooklyn has ever seen. Peter and I go back a long time, but this is business. I'm the champion and he's the challenger. I'm going to do everything I can to win on December 5 and show the world that I'm the best Brooklyn has to offer."
Quillin was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and currently resides in Brooklyn. Both fighters have used that tough borough bounce-back to position themselves for stardom over the past four years.
Quillin won the WBO middleweight belt by scoring six knockdowns and winning a unanimous decision against Hassan N'Dam in October 2012, and defended the title three times. Then Quillin vacated the belt last summer rather than face mandatory challenger Matt Korobov for a career-high purse of $1.4 million. Quillin said he declined the fight and took a year off because his wife had just had their son and also because his uncle, who was a father figure to him, was dying of cancer and he wanted to cherish the final days he had to spend with him.
This fight was contingent upon Quillin taking care of business in a tuneup fight at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, in September. Quillin did his part by scoring a brutal fifth-round stoppage of Australia's Michael Zerafa, who was knocked out cold, lifted from the ring on a stretcher and sent to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
On April 11, Quillin (32-0-1, 23 KOs) fought to a rugged draw with world titleholder Andy Lee, but even if Quillin had won he was not getting the hardware because he failed to make weight.
The fight with Zerafa was contracted at 163 pounds, and Quillin surprised many by weighing in at 160 pounds, finally proving that he can indeed make the division weight limit.
"I won't have any problems with weight, " Quillin told TSL. "I have been working with Angel Hernandez and I might even do the weigh-in with my shirt off."
Golden Child To Miracle Man
Jacobs (30-1, 27 KOs) is an inspiration to all cancer survivors, having fought a battle with the disease that nearly killed him. In May of 2011, while on the comeback trail from the only loss of his career – a knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog in 2010 -- Jacobs was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a life-threatening form of bone cancer that left him partially paralyzed with a softball-sized tumor that was wrapped around his spine.
Doctors told him he would never walk or box again. Defying all odds, Jacobs returned to boxing in late 2012 and knocked out Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round to win a vacant WBA middleweight title. Gennady Golovkin is the top titleholder and Jacobs has said that he looks forward to a match with GGG down the road.
Jacobs has defended the belt twice, by 12th-round knockout of Caleb Truax in April and by second-round knockout of former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora on Aug. 1.
While Jacobs' battle with cancer reinvigorated his purpose and work ethic, tested his fortitude and lifted him to an historic championship, Quillin's recent enlightenment on his Cuban culture has also given him a new purpose to defend his title. Quillin's father was born and raised in Cuba. Peter was given the nickname of former World Champion, Cuban Kid Chocolate due to their physical resemblance and Quillin's Cuban heritage.
"The Cuban aspect of boxing is already in my blood, " Quillin said to TSL. "I'm inspired to work even harder because I do have fans that I never expected to be rooting for me. Very inspirational being home. I didn't know how much the Cuban people loved me until I was out in Miami for a fight. Maybe now I will be more inspired to speak more Spanish and learn more and connect with my people, because Cubans are my people and I will never deny that. i'm very blessed. I'm also African-American as well, so I want to set a good example for both cultures. Especially at a time like now in the world -- a rough time for black people -- so I want to be an inspiration to both."
Familiarity with another fighter isn't always a good thing, because your opponent might know too much about you. Quillin isn't worried.
"I have a plan A, B and C for this fight and beyond, but most importantly I'm very happy," Quillin said. "I'm spiritually happy and thankful...you know...you fall out of prayer and fall into faith, you can never deny yourself and that's where I am at right now. The stakes are high. This is an equally matched fight. Two determined guys fighting for our own personal reasons."
Jacobs isn't sleeping on the former champion, but thinks he's holding all of the cards in this hands war.
“I think my skills are an advantage," Jacobs said. "Skills pay the bills. At the end of the day I have a lot of skills over ‘Kid Chocolate.’ Speed is one. He’s probably a bigger puncher and naturally heavier. With all that power, he has to get to me. He has to be able to land those shots...I’m going to adjust. I love knockouts. If I can end it with a knockout that’s what I’ll do."
When asked if Jacob's earlier loss will have any effect on this fight, the undefeated Quillin replied, "Sometimes it can be helpful to lose..he can come back and fight harder... But my prediction for the fight? And new champion of the world Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin."