Playing the bad guy: Daniel Jacobs relishing the chance to fight Caleb Truax before an unfriendly crowd

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What Daniel Jacobs needs right about now is a dog to kick and a long, spindly mustache to twist while laughing deviously at nothing in particular.

Daniel Jacobs

Hey, the guy’s getting ready to play the villain. He may as well get into character, right?

On Friday night, Daniel Jacobs will take on Caleb Truax at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, which is within driving distance of Truax’s home turf of Minneapolis, where his fights are a big draw.

“I know I’ll have the home-field crowd advantage because there’s a ton of people who have already booked their tickets,” Truax says. “I’ll definitely have a good following there.”

Of this, Jacobs is well aware. He sounds as if he’s relishing the opportunity to don the black hat in Chicago, like a wrestling face turned heel, if only for a night.

“I’m looking forward to going into a guy’s backyard, to being a guy who people may boo and not want to see win,” Jacobs says. “You don’t always want to be the fan favorite—I know I don’t. Knowing that people want me to fail, that people are rooting for this guy, will be the extra motivation to get me where I need to be.”

As for the man he’ll face on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT,  Jacobs gives his opponent his props, but feels like he can take advantage of Truax’s studious, deliberate approach and crafty counterpunching.

“I think his experience can push me in the later rounds,” Jacobs says. “He’s a tough, durable guy who’s never been knocked out before. But he’s a flat-footed fighter. He has to set his feet in order to punch, whereas I can move and punch at the same time. I have the agility to go in, be swift, punch and get out of the way.”

As such, he sees Truax as a good style matchup for himself.

“We don’t overlook him,” Jacobs says, “but we look at him as a steppingstone.”

Truax, a thinking man’s fighter, knows that he has plenty to contend with in Jacobs’ considerable physical intangibles.

“I think his biggest attributes are his athleticism and his speed,” he says. “We’re about the same size on paper—he might be an inch taller—but he’s quick, he’s fast. He’s got some power. I guess we’ll figure out how much crack he’s got when we get in there.”

Both fighters adjusted their training routines in preparation for this fight.

Truax says he had a bigger budget to bring in a couple of out-of-state pros for a higher level of sparring.

“Normally I just work with local guys,” he says. “This time, we’ve had real good sparring.”

He also quit his job working at a liquor store to focus on boxing full time.

As for Jacobs, he expanded his camp with a nutritionist, a renowned strength and conditioning coach, and an additional trainer.

Heading into the fight, Jacobs knows he’s the favorite, and that as his profile continues to rise in the sport, fighters like Truax will come gunning for him harder and harder.

Now he’s the prey, not the predator.

“It kind of makes me paranoid—and that’s a good thing,’” Jacobs says. “It just makes me work harder, let’s me know that I’m in a position that everyone wants to be in.”

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