They say too many cooks spoil the broth, but how many is too many, really? And who are “they?” You ever been to a big, fancy restaurant with just one cook? It’s probably lousy. That poor cook is going to fall way behind trying to whip up sauces and grill steaks at the same time.
How about three cooks? That seems reasonable.
Before his PBC debut against Caleb Truax on April 24, Daniel Jacobs supplemented his corner by adding Willie Vargas to the mix alongside longtime trainer Andre Rozier. And he wasn’t done there.
For Saturday’s fight against Sergio Mora, Jacobs brought in another presence in his corner, Anthony Irons, who came up through the ranks just before Jacobs, and whom the Miracle Man looked up to as an amateur.
“They bring the best out of me,” Jacobs said. “We added Anthony just recently, and he plays a different position because he makes me comfortable. He’s able to pick out certain things I’m doing wrong and just remind me to maybe turn my punches over, or sit down. Just little things. It’s those little things that separate the best from the great.”
Rozier has been with Jacobs since his time in the amateurs at the age of 14, even when Jacobs was training with the late Victor Roundtree. Both those trainers, along with Varagas, worked out of Starett City Boxing Club in Brooklyn, New York.
The arrangement now is a confederation of sorts, with Rozier taking the lead, but allowing Vargas plenty of room for input.
“Willie asserts himself in a way I can just listen,” Jacobs said. “Andre doesn’t get offended and he’ll allow Willie to just be him and teach me what he needs to teach me. Willie, he brings something different like my former trainer who passed away, Victor Roundtree. Keep me on my toes, keep my reflexes sharp. Allowing me to use my speed and agility.
“Andre is more of a professional type of trainer. He wants you to sit on your punches. He wants you to come forward. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. As long as it works with the team and works with the corner, I’m happy and content with it.”
Rozier and Vargas have worked together on amateur and professional fighters for the past 25 years, and have developed a familial relationship in the course of those decades. Like any good family, that includes the occasional spat, but it’s all, Rozier insists, in the course of propelling Jacobs to the top of the 160-pound heap.
It falls to Irons, sometimes, to play the man in the middle, to be the one to relay instructions to Jacobs in a way the fighter can relate to.
“I know the attitudes that Danny brings, I know the things I tell him to make him a sharper fighter, he’s willing to listen,” Irons said. "Any fighter that’s willing to listen has the opportunity to be one of the best fighters in the world.”
So how does he make sure he has Jacobs’ ear?
“I used to beat him up,” Irons said of their amateur days. “Now he’s a lot bigger than me, so I have to watch my tone a little bit. The table’s turned.”
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