Photos: Ed Mulholland
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - At Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference, Daniel Jacobs looked down at Luis Arias and proclaimed, “You’re going to find out that there are levels to this game.” And indeed, Jacobs was on an entirely different level to his previously undefeated opponent at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night, winning virtually every minute of every round on his way to a unanimous twelve-round decision. Arias (18-1, 9 KOs, 1 ND) was slippery and elusive – and certainly didn’t seem keen on acquiescing to his own prefight proposal that the two men stand and trade in center ring all night long – but it was clear from the early going that he possessed nothing to at all seriously trouble the Brooklyn boxer, whose previous outing had been a surprisingly close challenge of middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
If anything, Jacobs seemed irritated by Arias’ very presence, brushing aside Arias’ sporadic attempts at offense and looking as if he wanted to visit harm on his foe with every punch that he threw. Indeed, he admitted afterward that Arias’ pre-fight taunting and trash-talking had burrowed under his skin a little.
“The talk was motivation, but at the end of the day, it put me off my game plan,” he conceded afterward. “I got a little too aggressive. I hurt him early on, and then I got more aggressive.”
For all his bluster, Arias was remarkably circumspect when it came to throwing punches, averaging just 26.5 per round for a total of 318, and landing just over a quarter of those. Jacobs landed 184 of the 581 he threw, and despite the convincing victory, may perhaps be feeling a little disappointed that he wasn’t able to land more.
The principal reason why he did not was Arias’ awkwardness, and his sneaky head movement, as well as the New Yorker’s own tendency to try and score a home run with every punch. He occasionally switched southpaw in an attempt to do so, but would perhaps have found greater effectiveness had he more frequently feinted with a right cross and instead switched to an uppercut to meet the head of Arias as he ducked forward. He tried it a few times, and it worked when he did, but most of the time he speared Arias with a jab and looked for a hooks, straight rights or crosses with which to follow up.
Bit by bit, he turned up the pressure, stepping in behind his jab and stalking Arias, trapping him
regularly along the edges of the ring and looking to unleash his full fury. A frantic flurry at the end of the sixth, after he seemingly buzzed Arias, had Jacobs’ corner calling for more of the same, and Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) emerged for the seventh keen to do damage. The determination not to let Arias off was illustrated by one moment in that round when he caught Arias with a hook, Arias looked to spin away and Jacobs literally sprinted to stop him from escaping.
As the fight progressed, Arias showed flashes of greater willingness to engage, which gave Jacobs more opportunities to land cleanly. A hook and a right hand in the tenth clearly hurt Arias, who was starting to look quite ragged. By the final two rounds, Jacobs pushed hard for the finish. He did officially score a knockdown in the penultimate round after Arias’ glove touched the canvas, but it was a slightly generous call, as Jacobs had cuffed his opponent behind the back of his head to help him on his way.
It was all academic, however, as the judges’ scores of 120-107, 119-108 and 118-109 reflected Jacobs’ dominance. With Arias out of the way, the Brooklyn boxer immediately turned his attention to the December 16 clash between David Lemieux and Billy Joe Saunders.
“My plan is to invade Canada, so they can see my face, and I can call them out,” he said.
Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller may not be able to fight as well as he can talk – and that would be hard, because the charismatic Miller sure can talk – but, on his HBO debut, he stopped Polish veteran Marius Wach to remain undefeated.
Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) has a relaxed, not-exactly-orthodox, style: he generally chooses not to jab his way into range, although he does periodically throw out some slappy rangefinders, but is instead content to walk forward toward his opponent, stand in close, slip and move inside and then unleash a sequence of power punches to body and head. His punches could stand to have more torque, but with the weight of 280 or so pounds behind them, the ones he landed on Wach (33-3, 17 KOs) were clearly able to have some effect.
The body blows caused Wach, whose natural immobility was accentuated by an ankle injury, to bend over enough that the punch that the Brooklynite was most keen to land on the 6’7” Pole was an uppercut; and while few of the head punches appeared to be enough to cause damage, their cumulative impact was of clear concern to the ringside physicians with the New York State Athletic Commission, who have been considerably more skittish about such things ever since the tragedy that befell Magomed Abdusalamov at Madison Square Garden in 2013. A cluster of doctors looked on anxiously in the corner between rounds on several occasions, and allowed Wach to re-enter combat for the eighth and ninth with only the greatest reluctance. In the ninth, with Wach taking more combinations without throwing much in return, the doctor signaled to referee David Fields to stop the fight, which he did just before the final minute.
In a star-making performance, Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin dropped Roberto Ortiz twice in the first round and stopped him in the third of a scheduled ten-round junior welterweight contest. Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs), a Long Islander who has fought most of his professional bouts in nearby Huntington, attacked Ortiz from the opening bell, backing him to the ropes and dropping him with a big right hand against the ropes with just seconds elapsed. He continued to batter him along the ropes and put him down again when Ortiz ducked and crouched and Seldin hammered him to his knees.
Ortiz (35-2-2, 26 KOs) survived the second, but blood was streaming down the left side, and even though he had his legs back under him by the third, he was still looking much the worse for wear. Seldin, meanwhile, just kept attacking, and finished off the contest in the third. The end was slightly confusing: Seldin fights in an old-school way that includes an elbows-high defense, and when a weary Ortiz threw a punch, he fell forward into Seldin’s forearm and elbow, which struck him in the left eye. Ortiz dropped to his knees, complaining of a foul, and referee Shada Murdaugh called time and took Ortiz to the corner for inspection by the ringside physician, on whose advice he waved the fight over at 2:43.
Seldin threw 201 punches in just under three rounds, 96 more than Ortiz, and landed 75 to just 21 for his beaten opponent, 66 of them power punches.