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|Daniel Jacobs smiled in his corner after an action-packed third round Robert Golden Jersey , looking pleased to be in a tough fight.
It wasn’t clear he would win it until he knocked Maciej Sulecki down with the kind of punch he wants to throw at the middleweight division’s biggest names.
The 12th-round knockdown helped Jacobs win a unanimous decision Saturday night, strengthening his hopes of getting another title shot.
Jacobs pulled out a competitive fight, winning by scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 and handing the Polish fighter his first loss.
”Going into the late rounds, the championship rounds, I mean ultimately what I was thinking was just to give these fans a great show,” Jacobs said.
The Associated Press scored it 116-111 for Jacobs.
Jacobs (34-2-0) became the mandatory challenger for the WBA 160-pound title, giving the popular Brooklyn fighter and cancer survivor hopes of a chance to avenge his unanimous decision loss to Gennady Golovkin from last year. Golovkin is fighting next week and afterward may want to turn his attention back to Canelo Alvarez after their planned May 5 rematch was scrapped when Alvarez was suspended for six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing two drug tests.
So Jacobs also mentioned a fight with Jermall Charlo, who became the WBC’s interim middleweight champ with a second-round knockout of Hugo Centeno Jr. in this same ring last week.
”My plan is to fight any of the champions with the belts, any of the top guys at middleweight,” Jacobs said. ”If Brooklyn wants Charlo, then Charlo it will be.”
Jacobs had a much tougher time with Sulecki (26-1), who seemed to gain confidence as the fight went on and was getting the better of some of the action in the late rounds until Jacobs caught him with a quick right to the head early in the 12th Clay Matthews Jersey , sending Sulecki to the canvas as Brooklyn fans roared for the hometown fighter.
There had been chants of ”Brook-lyn, Brook-lyn” earlier in the bout from the local fans that made up the announced crowd of 7,892 at Barclays Center. But the vocal section of Polish fans grew louder in the later rounds as their fighter rallied.
They had traded hard shots across the final seconds of the third, Jacobs smiling in his corner afterward as if pleased the action was picking up. Disappointed that Luis Arias went defensive and he had to settle for a decision in his last bout, Jacobs seemed to enjoy being in a real fight Saturday.
He won it by finding a way to be just a bit quicker than Sulecki in their exchanges. But promoter Eddie Hearn has been calling Jacobs the best middleweight in the world, and at times Saturday he was barely the best middleweight in the ring.
But Hearn things Jacobs’ performance will rise with his next opponent.
”Now he must have a marquee fight next because he will rise and box even better against the better fighters,” Hearn said.
Earlier, Jarrell Miller remained unbeaten and made his case for a potential shot at heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua by winning a unanimous decision against Johann Duhaupas.
The 304-pound ”Big Baby” won 119-109 on two judges’ cards and 117-111 on the other. Also a Brooklyn native, he improved to 21-0-1 in just his fourth fight that didn’t end in a stoppage.
He sure tried, though, pounding away with power shots throughout the fight that had swelling all around Duhaupas’ eyes in the final rounds.
”He was a tough, durable fighter,” Miller said. ”I thought I could get him out of there earlier but he ate all my punches Matt Bosher Jersey , even the ones I threw with bad intentions.”
Hearn discussed the possibility of having Joshua, holder of three heavyweight title belts, face Miller next, rather than a unification bout against Deontay Wilder, in what would be his first fight outside of his native Britain.
”I’m ready for Anthony Joshua,” Miller said. ”Let’s bring him to Brooklyn and show him how we do it.”
The pressure was on Miller to fight and entertain well to look worthy of the matchup, and he was up to the task. He came to the ring in a ”Black Panther” mask and promptly began pounding Duhaupas (37-5) with an array of punches, trapping his nearly 60-pounds-lighter opponent against the ropes and crouching low to go to the body or get good leverage to fire uppercuts.
The brash big man said he wants the Joshua fight but made it clear he will have other options.
”I’m not going to sit here and sit on my knees and beg,” he said.
If Allen Robinson remains in Jacksonville, it won't be as one of the highest-paid receivers in the league.
The Jaguars declined to use the franchise or transition tag on Robinson, stirring questions about his future. NFL teams had until Tuesday afternoon to tag pending free agents, but Jacksonville executives told Robinson long before the deadline he would not be tagged.
Had the Jags tagged Robinson, he could have signed a one-year Lorenzo Carter Jersey , $15.982 million contract for 2018. Not doing so indicates how top executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell feel about Robinson; they don't believe he is worth that much money six months after reconstructive knee surgery.
Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown ($16.775M) is scheduled to make the most of any receiver in 2018.
Jacksonville and Robinson still have a week to reach a contract agreement; the team has exclusive negotiating rights with him until March 12. If no deal is reached by then, Robinson would become an unrestricted free agent on March 14.
"I don't really know what is going to happen," Robinson recently said. "I know there are a lot of different scenarios. Right now, my main focus is to kind of let my agent narrow it down and for me to get back at 100 percent. That's the main focus right now for me. I know I'll be back at 100 percent.
"I know all that is going to play out. I know the player that I am. I know that the plays that I made. I know the plays I'm going to continue to make."
Robinson had the best training camp of his career in 2017 and looked like he would be an integral part of the offense. But the 2015 Pro Bowl selection tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Jacksonville's third play of last season and had surgery the following week.
Robinson is how running again and closing in on a full recovery.
"He is right on schedule," coach Doug Marrone said last week at the NFL scouting combine. "He is there every day; I see him quite a bit. I know that he has worked hard. We have all seen his work on the field and how hard he works on the field. I think what you can't see is that he is working twice as hard in the recovery process and the rehabilitation."
Still, Robinson has missed 21 games in four seasons and wasn't a speedster to begin with. So how effective will he be coming off a major knee injury?
"There are a lot of things we like about him, but we just have to make sure it is the right thing for the team," Caldwell said at the combine.
A second-round draft pick from Penn State, Robinson has 202 catches for 2,848 yards and 22 touchdowns in 43 games. He had 80 receptions for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015, establishing himself as one of the best receivers in franchise history.
But he caught 73 passes for 883 yards and six scores in 2016, causing some to wonder if his Pro Bowl season was a fluke.
If the Jaguars do move on from Robinson David Andrews Jersey , they would have a huge hole to fill at the position. Marqise Lee also is a pending free agent, and the team likely will either part ways with receiver Allen Hurns or re-negotiate his contract that includes a base salary of $7 million in 2018.
"Nothing has been decided on that yet," Caldwell said. "We will look at that."
Robinson has said repeatedly he wants to stay in Jacksonville, especially since he played a cheerleading role during the team's breakthrough year and believes the Jags are poised to make another Super Bowl run in the near future.
"This is where I've been the last four years and this is something that we've all really put in and tried to build," he said. "It wasn't something that we just came into and it happened. We went from 3-13, to 5-11, 3-13 to now. It's just one of those things that, again, I stepped in here Day 1. It was a lot different than it is now."
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