Mike Tyson may have put boxing into disgrace, but Glasgow's GARY JACOBS,
preparing for a title fight at a heavier weight, is in
a positive mood.
Words: Andrew Pulver
‘The significance of this fight.’ says Gary Jacobs of his forthcoming IBF Intercontinental light-middleweight bout with Ukranian Youi Epifantsev. ‘is that it’s a title of sorts. It‘ll get me back in the frame to fight for a world title. You need them to give you a wee boost to get you into the top ten.‘
This contest marks Jacob’s final assault on the elusive world title dream to which he came so desperately close in Atlantic City in 1995. losing on points to Pernell Whitaker for the WBC world welterweight title.
‘lt took me a year and a half to get that fight.’ Jacobs continues. ‘The way I looked at it is that when you go there. you have to knock them out to win it. If it goes the distance. you don‘t win. Same way as Whitaker himself lost his last fight — his face doesn‘t fit anymore. but Oscar De La Hoya was the golden boy. Whitaker won the fight. but lost the decision.’
Suddenly. it seems. Jacobs has re-emerged as one of the elder statesmen of British boxing. With 44 wins (out of 50) under his bell. the 31-year-old knows that this campaign is his last. ‘l’m clear about this.‘ he adds matter-of—factly. ‘If I don’t win this fight. I‘m finished. With the welters. I went as far as I could go. All of a sudden I came to a crossroads when it was just too hard making the weight, so I moved up.
.Iacobs‘s twelve years in the ring have engineered an appreciation for boxing’s harsher lessons. ‘l’m a parent myself now. and I don’t think I’d like to see my son fight. Boxing is just a horrible business. People with fear of flying have a feeling that they‘re never in control of what is happening. It’s the same when you watch a friend. your son. whoever. fighting — you think. what’s going to happen next. But then that’s what makes boxing exciting in the first place.’
It has also made him newly appreciative of his position as Britain’s only serious Jewish contender — a position outlined in the recently published This Bloody Mary by Jonathan Rendall.
‘Kid Berg used to come into my dressing room around I989.’ says Jacobs. remembering the last
76 THELIST 11—24 Jul I997
'I'm clear about this. If I don't win this fight, I'm finished.’
Gary Jacobs: fighting back to the top
survivor of the pre-World War II Jewish generation of
fighters. ‘There‘s not many Jewish people that fight. and if I‘m the one that stands up and puts my name forward and flies the flag for the Jewish people. that's a good thing. But Gary Jacobs is a fighter from Glasgow I‘m Scottish first. definitely. Being Jewish is only a religion. First of all I‘m a Glaswegian. and I fly the flag for Scotland.‘
Having opted out of an apprenticeship in football. Jacobs is looking back down a distinguished ring career that has seen him climb the highest peaks only to fall short of the actual summit. A world title. at any weight. would be the final triumph he seeks.
‘You know what always stuck in my mind‘.’ After I lost on points in Madison Square Garden to Buddy McGirt. The Sun‘s boxing writer (‘olin Ilart came tip to me. He said. “I‘ve always told you. Jewish boys should be lawyers or accountants." That made me want to do it.‘
Gary Jacobs fights Youri Epifantsev on Sat 12 Jul at Earl's Court, London. The bout will be broadcast on Sky Sports 1 at 9pm.
Events are listed alphabetically by sport. then by da . Fixtures are correct at time o publication, but may be affected by weather. Sports listings compiled by Brian Donaldson.
ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL
Scotland v Australia Grange Club. Edinburgh. 10.45am. Saturday‘s regular fixture list makes way for the long- awaited clash with the Aussies. The Scots have raised their reputation in recent times from a team who couldn‘t straighten their pads to qualifying for the I999 World Cup in England. The Australians' pride has been severely damaged by their Ashes performances. so the Scots will have to go some to get close to their showing on the tourists' visit in I98I. when the match went to the last over. However. you have to go back to ISSZ for the last time the .-\ustralians tasted defeat on Scottish soil. And your Hamish T-shirt costs I; It) for all sizes.
SCOTTISH CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Aberdeenshire v Arbroath United Morningside Road. Aberdeen. l lam. Carlton v RHSM Grange Loan. Edinburgh. Ilam.
Freuchie v West Lothian The Cricket Ground. lireuchie. Ilam.
Heriot's FP v Grange GORICIHICFC. Edinburgh. Ilam.
Stirling County v Strathmore Williamficld. Stirling. I lam.
SCOTTISH CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Arbroath United v Heriot's FP I.ochlands Cricket Ground. Arbroath.
Grange v Carlton Raeburn Place. Edinburgh. llam.
RHSM v Freuchie Inverleith. Edinburgh. 1 lam.
Strathmore v Aberdeenshire Lochside Road. Forfar. I lam.
West Lothian v Stirling County Boghall. l.inlithgow. I lam.
Open Championship ’I‘ltu l7—Sun 30. Royal Troon Golf Club. Troon. 7. ISam. Tom Lehman defends his crown with Colin Montgomerie still waiting for that big \\ in to launch himselfonto a new level. Most eyes will be locked in the direction of Tiger Woods as he aims to add the British Open title to his Masters pri/c.
Inverness Highland Games Sat I2. Bught Stadium. Inverness. Noon-5pm. This is one of those occasions when the media. particularly the southerly organs. go all Brigadoon and wonder at the men in skirts tossing their cabers. For the rest of us. it's an extravaganza of dancing. athletics. piping. cycling (including the Scottish l5()()m Championships) and heavyweight events. .-\n attendance of around 500i) is expected and further stuff is available on Ohio} 734262.
Race Meeting Hi I l. Hamilton l’ark Racecourse. Botltwell Road. Hamilton. 6.50an For full details of today‘s runners and riders. give the course a tinkle on (nous lslStlo.
‘ MOTOR SPORT
Scottish Superprix 97 Sun l3. Knockhill Racing (‘ircuiL by