by Matthew N. Becher
In another installment of bringing back boxing to the masses. Premier Boxing Champions will be putting on another world class event on Spike TV at the University of Illinois: Chicago Pavilion. While continually moving along from one channel to the next, PBC has been tweaking their image and commentator lineups as they progress. This week, they will be welcoming Hall of Famer and former world champion Joe Calzaghe into the mix of ringside analysts. As they look to have a great Friday night of fights back in the Windy City.
Roberto Garcia (36-3, 23KO) vs. James Stevenson (22-1, 15KO)
On the under card, Roberto Garcia will be given his second chance at fighting on a PBC card. His first ended abruptly and even before the fight actually happened, as Garcia failed to make weight against former champ Shawn Porter. Garcia claims illness hindered him from shedding the pounds needed and will now move up a weight class to Jr. Middleweight in this fight against James Stevenson.
Stevenson, the slightly younger of the two fighters, will be trying to use Garcia as a stepping stone into possible bigger fights, while Garcia has recent wins over names like Breidis Prescott and Victor Cayo. Garcia, himself will look to display his talents and hope to once again line up a fight with a Shawn Porter type name , but first he will need to make weight.
Daniel Jacobs (28-1, 25KO) vs. Caleb Truax (25-1, 15KO)
The co- main event will bring together two middleweights that are just on the cusp of title contention looking in. Caleb Truax is a Midwest fighter who is coming in undefeated in his last eight fights. His lone loss came against former two time Middleweight champ Jermain Taylor over three years ago. He has recent KO victories against Sigmon, Fort & the biggest of his career coming against Don “Da Bomb” George.
Truax’s opponent is known not only for his fighting ability in the ring, but as well as outside of it. Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs had been a fast rising prospect until he was knocked out in 2010, by a very talented Dmitry Pirog. Jacobs would bounce back later that year with two victories only to learn in 2011 that he had Osteosarcoma, a very rare, life threatening form of bone cancer, which was wrapped around Jacobs spine. His chances of survival were slim, let alone his possibility to ever fight again. Jacobs had surgery and rehabbed his way, not only to become cancer free, but to become the WBA regular middleweight champion on August 9th 2014.
Both boxers are riding hot win streaks and could use this fight as a catapult to a major showdown in the middleweight division. Jacobs may have the better pedigree, but Truax has been in the ring with tough competition before and may look to pull off the upset come Friday night.
Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22KO) vs. Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12KO)
In the main event of the evening, the WBC super middleweight title will be on the line as Anthony Dirrell , looks to improve his unbeaten streak against “The Ripper” Badou Jack.
Jack is a student of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s TMT outfit, based out of Las Vegas. Jack was well on his way to a major title shot, until he was rudely upset last February by a first round Knockout, courtesy of Derek Edwards, as his promoter/mentor (Mayweather) watched from a first row seat. Fortunately, Jack wouldn’t have to wait long for his chance at a title, winning back to back fights late last year and now traveling to Chicago to challenge Dirrell in the first defense of his new title.
Dirrell is coming off of back to back fights against former champ, Sakio Bika. The first fight ended in a controversial draw, that many at ringside thought Dirrell had won. Eight months later, they met again with Dirrell leaving little to chance, winning the belt by Unanimous Decision.
Dirrell has a similar story to that of Danny Jacobs, in that Dirrell also had to face an incredible fight outside the ring, only to return to become a champion.
In 2007, Dirrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He would undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatments for nearly two years before setting foot back in the ring.
The fight between Dirrell and Jack should be a slug fest type of fight, with both men usually setting early, hard hitting tones. Curiosity will be to see who can set the pace early and who may crack first.