Daniel Jacobs discusses Canelo, surviving cancer and Super Bowl

Boxing, Super Bowl

Daniel Jacobs is preparing for his bout against Canelo Alvarez, but took a pitstop at the Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) is the reigning IBF middleweight champion of the world. In May, he’s got the biggest bout of his career coming up against Canelo Alvarez, but it doesn’t compare to his past fight for survival out of the ring. Jacobs met up with FanSided at the Super Bowl and talked about his life, career and his pick to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Jacobs won the IBF title in October by outpointing Sergiy Derevyanchenko. It was a big accomplishment in his career, but he has a much tougher challenge coming up against Alvarez in three-months time.

“We have a huge fight with Canelo Alvarez for the middleweight supremacy,” Jacobs told FanSided’s Ashley Young. “He’s a world champion. I’m a world champion. We’re fighting to see who’s the best in our division. It’s gonna be huge, May 4, Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas. You’re definitely gonna want to tune in to that.”

Alvarez holds the WBA and WBC middleweight titles which he won by defeating Gennady Golovkin in September.  A win over Alvarez would make Jacobs the unified middleweight champion and owner of three out of the four major world titles taking him one step closer to undisputed status. As enormous of an obstacle Alvarez is, he has nothing on Jacobs’ previous battle for survival against cancer.

In 2011, Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He had a cancerous tumor surrounding his spine. He required surgery to remove it, and his prospects were up in the air. The outcome of his surgical procedure could have damaged Jacobs’ nerves or even paralyzed him. Jacobs refused to allow cancer to change his destiny. He attempted to return to the gym shortly after his surgery.

“I went to the gym about a week after I got out of the hospital,” Jacobs told USA Today in 2013.

While talking to FanSided, Jacobs explained how his battle with cancer made him a better person and gave him an added appreciation for life in general.

The most that I took [away] from that whole ordeal when my back was against the wall, when I faced death right in the eyes, when I was on a hospital bed, you simply become a better person. When you, obviously if you’ve been successful, your mind frame is different when you come out of it because when I faced death in the eyes, I had doubts and this little boy within me had to grow and become a man. It shows now. I live life completely different now. Life is so blissful now. I’m so happy now. I live to do walks in the park and see old couples hold hands and stuff like that.

Outside of boxing, Jacobs efforts are geared toward helping others who are also fighting for their lives against cancer. He tries to be a champion for those who are struggling against the same disease that almost took his life. Jacobs started a foundation called “Get in the Ring” to help people with cancer.

“This foundation [Get in the Ring] is a very dear foundation to my heart because I started it when I became in a better position to help people,” said Jacobs. “We started our foundation where we help children with cancer, adopt families, and mentally, physically, and emotionally, financially we help all of our adopted families.

“To me, being the people’s champion is far greater. It means far more than just being a boxing champion.”

Jacobs wasn’t expected to box again after his cancer ordeal, let alone become a world champion, but he defied the odds. He knows what it’s like to be an underdog, which might account for his Super Bowl pick.

“I got the Rams, and I’m gonna tell you why because you just have to love an underdog story,” explained Jacobs. “You have to love the story of these guys and what they’ve been through for the last couple of years to have this opportunity that’s a great opportunity to prove that they’re the best. ”

Jacobs is enjoying Super Bowl weekend in Atlanta, but he has a career-defining bout approaching. You can be sure that he will do all that he can to defeat Alvarez in May. We’ll see if his Super Bowl pick is prophetic and if the Rams can pull off the type of victory Jacobs plans on having against Alvarez.

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