They’re seven years apart in age, but Daniel Jacobs and Paulie Malignaggi share a hometown connection that transcends any kind of generational cohort.
Both men hail from Brooklyn—Malignaggi, born in Italy but raised in the borough, Jacobs straight outta Brownsville. They were in each other’s orbit in the amateurs, in the pros and on the airwaves, where both men have served as broadcasters.
Even when getting ready for their respective fights Saturday night at Barclays Center (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), Jacobs against Sergio Mora and Malignaggi against Danny Garcia, they were in each other’s orbit—Malignaggi coming into the gym just as Jacobs was leaving.
“Me and Paulie got a lot of history,” Daniel Jacobs said. “I always respected him, looked up to him. I always loved his style of fighting. Paulie is one of those guys I consider to be one of the best broadcasters out there today, so I respect him and look up to him in that regard as well.”
It doesn’t hurt, either, that Paul Malignaggi is one of the more popular fighters even within Jacobs’ household. Just ask Nate Jacobs.
“He’s one of my son’s favorite fighters,” Jacobs said. “My son had a birthday party and Paulie came and surprised him and brought him gifts. I’ll always have respect and always have an appreciation for Paulie.”
With two native sons stepping into the office at Barclays, the crowd will be at its most Peak Brooklyn this side of a Biggie Smalls show. Jacobs expects the crowd to be on its feet, full roar from the jump.
Add to that the fact that Malignaggi is fighting Garcia, from Philadelphia, a city whose relationship with New York can best be described as mutually assured loathing, but with a proximity that makes for an easy train ride north.
“Paulie is one of those guys who brings the people out. Love him or hate him, he’s a guy that people want to see,” Jacobs said. “Danny Garcia has a huge following as well. I’m just looking forward to feeding off that energy, warming it up, doing my job and getting a victory and leaving it up to those guys.”