By the time former middleweight titleholder Daniel Jacobs next steps into the ring, it will have been roughly 29 months – almost two and a half years – since he last stepped on the canvas for a professional fight.

Long enough for Jacobs to determine exactly what he’s fighting for.

Jacobs is scheduled to return July 6 against Shane Mosley Jr. at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, in support of the main event between former mixed martial artists Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

In Wednesday’s virtual press conference, Jacobs said the time off was necessary and suited him just fine, but at the same time reinvigorated his spirit and sharpened his focus on the legacy he wants to leave when he does, in fact, hang up the gloves.

“The thoughts of me returning were always lingering in my mind in those two years of me being off,” Jacobs said. “I wanted to secure a spot in the Hall of Fame. And we evaluated my career and thought there’s more that I can do, there’s more of an imprint that I can leave in the sport.

“I know I’ve done so much for the sport from what I’ve already accomplished. I’m an inspiration to the sport and millions of people throughout the world from my life story, all the things that I’ve been in outside and inside the ring. And so I want to give a little more of that, and I feel like I have enough left to be able to give to the sport.”

Jacobs won a secondary title in 2014, making four successful defenses before running into Gennady Golovkin – and a defeat – in a 2017 unification bout. He was able to grab back one of the belts with a win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in 2018 – but immediately faced and fell to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a 2019 unanimous decision loss.

But well before making those separate climbs toward the top of the 160-pound division, Jacobs delivered widespread inspiration simply by surviving. In May 2011, at age 24, he began feeling leg weakness while on a USO tour in Iraq. He returned to the United States, soon required the use of a walking cane and, after undergoing an MRI, was discovered to have a tumor wrapped around his spine. The diagnosis: osteosarcoma, a rare, life-threatening form of bone cancer.

Twenty-five rounds of radiation treatment, surgery to remove the tumor and fuse his spine and the prognosis from doctors that he would never box again left Jacobs devastated. But after hours, weeks and months of grueling rehabilitation, he made his way back to the ring, rediscovered his form and leveled up to earn another world title.

So at age 37, with a 15-year-old son at home, a career’s worth of impressive earnings and interests outside boxing, Jacobs had plenty of reasons not to return to the ring. Even his on-deck opponent, Mosley, who described him as “a legend,” believes Jacobs’ standing in the sport is secure. Why come back?

“I was at a point where I had actually accomplished everything I sought out to accomplish, and so there came a time in my mind when I [had to decide] if I wanted to settle and retire,” Jacobs said. “But then, you know, that fighter spirit came back and it came kicking in, and I felt like there might be some more that I could do, because when it’s all said and done, I do want to have my name amongst the greats of my generation.”

And if Jacobs has his way, a win over Mosley won’t be a one-time moonlight. He says he’s “all the way in” and, despite noticing changes and making adjustments to negotiate with the slow creep of aging, believes he has one last run in him to the top of the middleweight mountain.

“The ultimate goal,” he said, “is to become champion.”

Jason Langendorf is the former Boxing Editor of, has contributed to Ringside Seat and the Queensberry Rules, and has written about boxing for Vice, The Guardian, Chicago Sun-Times and other publications. You can follow him on X and LinkedIn, and contact him at [email protected].

Read the full article here