Daniel Jacobs is talking about reading his opponent’s face like a book, with blood and swelling in place of words. It told him that this particular story was over.
“I knew from the look in his eyes that he was done,” Jacobs said.
It was the 12th round of Daniel Jacobs’ (29-1, 26 KOs) fight with Caleb Truax (25-2-2, 15 KOs) at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on Friday night, and Jacobs had just gelatinized Truax’s legs with a massive overhand right that sent him plunging into the ropes for the first knockdown of his career.
Truax managed to steady himself—but those eyes.
They told Jacobs all that he needed to know, and so he went in for the kill, getting the technical knockout with less than a minute left in the bout.
“I definitely wanted to close the show,” Jacobs said from his locker room after the fight. “I had a lot of people rooting for me here, surprisingly. I thought this was going to be a pro-Caleb Truax crowd. I felt myself getting into the rhythm. I wasn’t tired at all. I still had a lot left inside the tank.”
The fight started at a gradual pace, with Jacobs and Truax picking their shots carefully and measuring one another, the opening rounds more strategic than scintillating.
“I didn’t want to get into a war early on, but I wanted him to kind of wear himself out and then take advantage of my speed later,” Jacobs says. “The only thing that surprised me was that he didn’t grapple as much as I’ve seen him do in the past. I think it was due to me putting my shoulder in his face and keeping him off me. He was a strong opponent—I saw that from the very first round. He landed a nice jab and I got a sense of his power. So I just went accordingly.”
Midway through the fight, though, Jacobs began to assert himself and Truax fought back more vigorously, not wanting to give ground, as the action picked up, going from a low simmer to a boil in the 10th round.
“Once the sixth round came, I was just like, ‘This is my fight completely. He’s not going to show me anything different,’” Jacobs says. “His game plan initially was to take me into deep waters, and anytime a man’s game plan is to bank on another man getting tired, that says a lot about his frame of mind and his ability to win inside the ring. It’s going to take a lot more to beat me than just getting tired, you know?”
Despite winning in convincing fashion, Jacobs identified areas that he could improve upon afterward.
“I thought I could have picked my punch count up,” he says. “I wanted to go to the body a little bit more, but his defense was pretty tight. I was fast, but when we were on the inside, he was sharp on his defense, so it was kind of hard to get all the shots that I wanted. But when you’re dealing with elite guys like this at this level, you can’t get everything you want; you just have to adjust and take what you can get.”
This was Jacobs’ first fight since August—and the only time he has ever fought into the 12th round.
He says that he’d like to back in the ring in July or August. In the meantime, he's closing the book on Truax.
“I’m going to enjoy my family for the next two weeks,” Jacobs says, “and then I’m going to get right back in the gym.”