Daniel Jacobs on His Grandmother: 'She Meant Everything to Me'
LAS VEGAS -- On the eve of the biggest moment in his professional boxing career, Daniel Jacobs lost his biggest fan.
On Saturday night, in an HBO pay-per-view televised co-main event from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the 23-year-old Brooklyn resident will try to add the vacated WBO middleweight (160 pounds) title to the NABF and NABO crowns he already owns when he takes on 30-year-old Dmitry Pirog (16-0, 13 knockouts) of Gelendzhik, Russia, on a card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
But Jacobs (20-0, 17 KOs) will be fighting with a heavy heart, as he competes despite the cancer-related death of his grandmother, Cordelia Jacobs, last weekend. Immediately after facing Pirog, Daniel will have to fly back to New York to attend Cordelia Jacobs' funeral on Sunday.
Jacobs shared his thoughts with FanHouse about his grandmother, a devout member of the Jehovah's Witness church who was known as Lady Bird, in this Q&A:
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FanHouse: Daniel, has this fight taken on new meaning since the death of your grandmother?
Daniel Jacobs: I mean, she meant everything to me. She was one of those people in life that you can't live without. She was that person to me. I took it really hard. I really sat there and watched my grandmother pass away.
Like, I was in the hospital, and I witnessed everything. I get emotional just talking about it. But I know that I have to be strong at the same time. You know.
Am I to understand that she died of cancer?
It was cancer, but it was also just an accumulation of different things. She was getting old, and everything was just shutting down. I was at her bedside when she passed. It was last Sunday.
What did you represent to her?
I was everything to her. I was not just a grandson, but I believe that I was her favorite grandson. I'm talking about we have so many siblings. But I lived with my grandmother. She raised me alongside my mom, and I was her baby.
Like my mother was her youngest child, and that was her baby? Well, I was her baby because I was her youngest grandchild. So, she did take care of all of us and she taught me everything that I know about that there is to know about life.
Did she ever see you fight?
She's seen me fight on television, but not up close and from ringside. Never in person.
What did she think of you as a fighter?
She thought that I'm good. She really thought that I'm good. She never told me that, but you know, she was very worried. She only watched the fights after they were done. So, she knew that I had won. And she only watched the first round to see me do good.
Because she knows that that was probably my best round.
Can you share some of your lingering thoughts about her?
My grandmother was a wonderful, wonderful person. Just a wonderful woman, man. It was just a sad loss for my family, but we're going to make it through and be strong. Especially on Saturday night. It will be bittersweet.
Because the funeral is on Sunday, so, we're going to get excited and hopefully enjoy my victory on Saturday. And then, we have to go back down to the funeral. So it's going to be like a roller coaster, but that's how it is.
The funeral is going to be in Brooklyn, so I will have to catch a red eye flight back to be there in time for the funeral. I've got to do that right after the fight and get out of there.
Did she have any pet names or nicknames for you, Daniel?
[Laughs] You know what? You know what? They called me 'Baby Maniac.' I was probably the worst baby that you can possibly have. I was into everything, running into walls, knocking everything down.
So 'Baby Maniac' was the nickname that they had for me when I was younger. So, yeah, my grandmother gave me that name.