Jerry Glick reporting: Usually when we talk about a fighter making a come back we are talking about a boxer who retired and decided to give it another try such as Sugar Ray Robinson was so famous for doing. The great featherweight Vicente Saldivar quit boxing only to come back to enjoy a successful second career and another world title. Of course the most famous come backer of all, George Foreman, retired for some ten years, but when he needed money for his church he decided to fight again and it took him all the way back to the world heavyweight title.
Candidates for Secondsout’s Come back of the Year award this year were Vic Darchinyan who won a belt after losing two in a row, Carl Froch who scored two impressive knockouts after losing to Andre Ward in the Super Six final, Daniel Ponce De Leon who is a world champion again after two losses in a row, Raymundo Beltran, who won the NABF Lightweight strap after losing two out of three previous fights, and Alfredo Angulo spent some seven months in detention because of immigration problems and came back to win; all deserving of recognition, but none with the back story to match our winner’s.
Back from what appeared to be the end of his career, and possibly, life as he knew it. After being told that he will be lucky to simply walk one day, let alone fight; this year’s winner of the Comeback of the Year Award has a story of his struggle to compete again. Daniel “The Golden Child” Jacobs was surely golden. Blessed with great boxing talent and a winning personality to go along with his physical abilities, he suddenly found himself unable to function. It didn’t get better; it quickly put him on his back. Danny had a huge tumor on his spine. The doctors didn’t know who they were talking to when they told him to forget about boxing. After life saving surgery, Danny slowly brought himself back to his old self with a new appreciation for life and his career.
He could not be more joyous that he returned to the ring, and to add to that, it was a part of the first boxing show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre. A wonderful return for this Brooklyn boy. At a press conference leading up this first fight in nearly two years Jacobs told this reporter how he felt; “You can’t imagine the happiness and joy that I’m experiencing right now,” said Jacobs. “I did not think this moment would be possible, but I had faith that it would. I didn’t know that I’d be here to open it up. To be here on the first card at Barclays Center, this is history; I mean you can never take this moment away from me.”
Danny ran up an undefeated record of 20-0 (18 KOs), and was primed to fight Dmitry Pirog for the vacant WBO Middleweight title back on July 31, 2010. It was expected that it would be an easy win for the young man from Brownsville, Brooklyn, but as he prepared for his big opportunity his beloved grandmother died. Jacobs tried to press on, but it was too much of a distraction for him and he was stopped in the fifth frame by his Russian foe. He then ran off two knockouts when suddenly his body began to let him down.
First he his legs felt weak, then walking became an issue and soon he was experiencing partial paralysis in his legs as the tumor wrapped itself around his spine. Surgery gave him back his life; his determination brought him back to boxing.
Danny came back with an impressive one round knockout over Josh Luteran in a dream situation, at the Barclays Center. He followed that up with a five round stoppage of Chris Fitzpatrick in Madison Square Garden in December.
Danny came back, not only after a loss in the ring, but after a victory over cancer. No one deserves this award more. Congratulations, “Golden Child”; you are truly golden.