For the past couple of years, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, the No.1 promoter in the United Kingdom, has talked about branching out to promote in the United States.
Now it will come to pass.
Hearn on Saturday night announced that he has signed his first American fighter to his newly created Matchroom Boxing USA: former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs.
As part of the deal, Jacobs has signed a multi-fight contract with HBO in a major move. Jacobs had been aligned with adviser Al Haymon and appeared regularly on Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions cards in recent years other than his last fight, when Haymon made a multimillion-dollar deal for Jacobs to challenge unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin on March 18 on HBO PPV.
Keith Connolly, Jacobs’ manager, told ESPN that he, Jacobs and Haymon agreed that taking the HBO and Matchroom deal “was the best move for his career.”
Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs), 30, of Brooklyn, New York, will fight under Hearn’s banner for the first fight of the new deal when he headlines HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” in November — likely Nov. 11 — at an East Coast venue to be determined. Jacobs’ opponent also has not been determined.
There had been discussions about Jacobs appearing on Showtime on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz heavyweight title fight on Nov. 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where Jacobs has fought regularly. But Connolly was also working on the deal with Hearn and HBO.
Jacobs, who for years has not been signed to a promoter — the way Haymon typically does business — has not fought since losing a highly competitive unanimous decision, 114-113 on all three scorecards, to Golovkin at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Many thought Jacobs, who got knocked down in the fourth round, deserved the decision victory. Jacobs would like a rematch with Golovkin or a showdown with Canelo Alvarez, both of whom are signed to HBO, and the network would like to have quality opponents in its stable to match them with.
“I’m truly excited to be joining Matchroom Boxing and HBO,” Jacobs said. “This is a new beginning for my career, and I get a chance to showcase my skills to the world. I can’t wait to return to the ring in November, being active and recapturing the world middleweight title.”
After overcoming a rare form of bone cancer that nearly killed him, Jacobs won a secondary middleweight world title in 2014. Jacobs defended the 160-pound belt four times, including a huge first-round knockout victory against former titlist Peter Quillin in December 2015, before the mandatory bout with Golovkin was put together.
Now Hearn has signed Jacobs and is pleased to be kicking off his American promotional venture with him as a cornerstone fighter.
“It’s an honor to welcome Danny Jacobs to the Matchroom Boxing team and to join forces with HBO boxing to showcase his fights,” Hearn said. “I believe Danny has proved himself as the top middleweight in world boxing and has one of the most inspirational stories you will ever see in the sport, which must be told. We plan on keeping Danny nice and busy kicking off in November, then back in the spring with the obvious target of the Canelo versus GGG winner.”
Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a draw on Sept. 16, and they likely will meet in a rematch on May 5.
“This signing marks the first of many [to come] in the U.S. market as we look forward to building on our success in the U.K., raising fighters’ activities levels and profiles and providing fans with atmosphere and drama from this great sport.”
HBO, looking to replenish its stable of fighters following the departure of Top Rank’s fighters for a deal with ESPN that was made this past summer, is happy to have Jacobs aboard.
“Inspiring and electric in the ring, Daniel Jacobs is a true ambassador for boxing,” HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson said. “Daniel is a force to be reckoned with in the stacked middleweight division. We look forward to watching his exceptionally bright future unfold as part of the HBO family.”