The deal was not easy to make, and it took months to finalize. But it got done, and now Daniel Jacobs, viewed by most as the No. 2 middleweight in the world, will get the opportunity to take on No. 1 Gennady Golovkin, the fearsome unified titleholder, in their mandatory bout.
They will meet March 18 (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at Madison Square Garden in New York, but before that they will hit the road next week for a two-city media tour to hype their high-stakes fight that, on paper, looks like an extremely fan-friendly match between devastating punchers with exciting styles.
The fighters and their teams will meet the media on Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and again on Wednesday in Los Angeles, but shortly after the fight was finalized, Jacobs, who is from Brooklyn, met with a handful of media members in New York and expressed his joy at having the difficult business of making the match out of the way.
"I'm excited to finally be at this point in my career where it's the pinnacle," Jacobs said. "My opponent is considered one of the best middleweights in the world alongside myself, and this, in my opinion, will determine who's the best middleweight in the world. I want to thank everyone who played a part in making this happen. It took a long time for it to happen, but it's finally here.
"[This is] the biggest fight that could be made in the middleweight division. I mean, what more could you ask for? It's going to be an entertaining fight -- for however long it lasts."
As soon as the media tour is over, Jacobs will open his formal training camp with trainer Andre Rozier, and Jacobs said he can't wait to get down to the hard work of getting ready for what most think will be the toughest fight of his career -- and the toughest of Golovkin's career.
"The hard part is the business side of it," Jacobs said. "That's the side a lot of the fans don't get to see, and that's the most frustrating part. Yeah, it took a while, and quite honestly, I didn't know if the fight was going to be made because it took so long."
Jacobs said he was happy that they avoided a purse bid. Had it gone to a purse bid, he would have been entitled to only 25 percent of the winning offer and gotten fewer perks than adviser Al Haymon was ultimately able to negotiate with Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
Jacobs' split has not been disclosed, but he is going to receive far more than the 25 percent he would have gotten in a purse bid -- but almost certainly less than the 40 percent split Haymon petitioned the WBA for but was denied.
"Going into purse bid, I knew I didn't want the 75-25 split, so we were really just trying to work it, and I let my team handle it the best way they can," Jacobs said.
With the business out of the way, Jacobs is glad he can talk about the fight.
"We both are devastating punchers. We both have amazing skill," he said. "So there's numerous ways to look at this fight. How I see it going is a bit different. He's a very dangerous fighter. He's a very strong fighter."
Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), who owns a secondary world title, has knocked out 12 consecutive opponents. Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) is riding a streak of 23 consecutive knockouts and has made 17 title defenses.
While Jacobs was knocked out in his lone defeat in a 2010 vacant title bout against Dmitry Pirog, he has won all 12 of his fights since -- his knockout streak -- and overcome a rare form of bone cancer that nearly killed him. So even if GGG is a big favorite, Jacobs isn't about to be scared of anything he might face in the ring.
"Sometimes you have to make fights rough," Jacobs said. "Sometimes you have to go in there and overcome what seems to be impossible to some. But if you believe in yourself and you believe in your ability, which I do, I think all will go well.
"Will there be some challenges? Of course. Will there be some hurdles I have to jump over? Of course. But that ain't nothing that I ain't been going through already. That ain't nothing that I don't know through and through. This is my life. I come from Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. My life has always been back against the wall, take that leap of faith, believe in yourself. And for the most part, that's how it's been. And I've always come out on top.
"We're enjoying this. This is just a good time for all of us. I'm just happy that the fight is made. Whatever it took, I'm grateful. But it's finally here. Now it's time to put up or shut up."