What happens when you’re a power puncher and your opponent is unfazed by your power?
The answer, as top Golden Boy prospect Daniel Jacobs found out the hard way, is nothing.
In the evening’s co-main event and battle of the unbeatens, Russian fighter Dmitry Pirog flattened Daniel Jacobs at :57 in the fifth round to snare the WBO middleweight championship.
Pirog (17-0, 14 KOs) caught Jacobs (20-1, 17 KOs) with a thunderous right hand over the top that instantly put the New Yorker to sleep. Before the fight ending right, Jacobs didn’t have much luck.
Fellow FightNews writer, Anthony Springer, compared the bout to the fictional affair between Ivan Drago and Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. Pirog appeared indestructible, repeatedly shrugging off shots that would’ve given other fighters pause. From the early going, Pirog proved to be the superior fighter as Jacobs was unable to compensate for a reach disadvantage and was routinely peppered with jabs. When the two men closed ranks, Pirog worked the body and avoided return fire.
The crafty Russian proved to be as skilled of a showman as he was a pugilist. At the close of the third frame, he was tagged with a right hand that connected on the button and remained unfazed. When Jacobs accidentally landed a blow below the belt, Pirog paused and shrugged his shoulders. At other times, he shook his head, smiled and kept moving forward after taking a big hit.
With diminishing offensive options and no answers for the steady stream of pressure from his Russian adversary, Jacobs found himself against the ropes in the fifth. Jacobs ducked the left jab but never saw the train of a right hand coming his way.
After hitting the canvas and momentarily going limp, Jacobs attempted to pop up before the ten count, but referee Robert Byrd was having none of it, promptly halting the bout. Despite the appearance of the power shot, Jacobs insists he could’ve continued if permitted to do so. “Everything happens so fast, and I got caught with a shot I didn’t see,” a disappointed Jacobs said. “I tried to get up and felt fine, but then [Robert Byrd] waved [the fight] off.”
The CompuBox numbers fail to paint an accurate picture of the fight. Jacobs landed 73 punches (of 276) while Pirog connected on just 43 (of 21). Jacobs also nearly doubled the number of power shots landing 51 to Pirog’s 27.
Despite the lack of offense numbers wise, Pirog felt the fight coming to an end after round two.
“After the second round I knew I was good,” the new champion said. “I caught him and knew I could do it again. I hit him with a straight right and could tell I hurt him. I’m really happy to be taking this belt back to Russia”
With WBO gold in tow, Pirog has loftier goals.
“Now I want to unify all the belts,” he added.
Fighting just two weeks since the passing of his grandmother, whom he paid homage to by donning “Lady Bird” on the front of his shorts, Jacobs just hopes for a chance at redemption and insists he’ll be back.
“I’m not complaining, I hope everyone can forgive me and keep the faith,” Jacobs said before noting that the passing of his grandmother affected his performance. “I think if I was at 100 percent I’d have been a little better.”–Anthony Springer Jr.