It almost seems as if the 23-year-old Jacobs was born on the fast track. Despite coming from Brownsville, one of the worst neighborhoods of Brooklyn, he has had a magic carpet ride through the upper echelons of the amateur ranks and into the pros. Jacobs made his debut on December. 8, 2007 and got an early holiday present when he was signed by high-powered manager Al Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions. His team wasted no time getting the Jacobs Juggernaut rolling. His debut landed on the highly-publicized Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton undercard. Two fights later he got to show his stuff on the Kelly Pavlik-Jermain Taylor rematch in 2008. Before that year was up he had also been showcased on two major pay-per-view cards, Joe Calzaghe vs. Bernard Hopkins and Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr.
The latter appearance was especially significant for Jacobs because Jones was his boyhood idol. "What attracted me to Jones was just his whole aura and persona," Jacobs says.. "He was one of those people who had a glow about him."
Jacobs also had that special something from the time he was a kid. Although he came from a broken home, he was showered with love in a household of women, including his grandmother Cordelia Jacobs, his mother Yvette and his aunts. It was a protective cocoon that would keep him off the mean streets of his neighborhood, but it came with a price. Grandma Cordelia was a strict Jehovah's Witness and her law was the word. Even a Golden Child wouldn't dare to defy her.
"Being raised by women gave me a different outlook on life," Jacobs says. "My grandmother was the rock of our family. As a Jehovah's Witness she had certain rules. She was not able to celebrate my birthday or Christmas. She wasn't able to go to my fights because Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in violence, but she encouraged me in my training. And while she couldn't be in my corner, I knew I had her support and love and that was enough."
Fellow Brownsville product and future world champion Mike Tyson didn't have any such protection. He was in and out of trouble on the streets until he was 16, when trainer Cus D'Amato became his legal guardian. Jacobs says he admired Tyson for what he did as a boxer, but didn't want to emulate his wild antics. "I never got in real trouble like him. My personality is completely different."
That is evident in Jacobs' soft-spoken manners; he is polite and respectful of others, which he attributes to the influence of the women who raised him. The only negative in Jacobs' early life was altercations in school, which the youngster turned into a huge positive. "The guys I fought in school were training at a local boxing gym, so I figured my way of getting revenge was to train. My second day at the Howard Houses Gym I did pretty well and it was at that point I realized I had the talent to be a boxer."