So, we’re queuing up for the Boxing Expo and I get speaking to these two guys my age – two brothers called Abel & Abel both Mexican’s; so immediately pretty cool – we start discussing our favourite fighters, our own boxing records, opinions on fights, etc. then they start speaking about who they met at the last Expo – they’d met the likes of Mike Tyson and so many other Hall of Famer’s – it was then that I realised that this wasn’t just an Expo where they sold equipment and merchandise but where Professional Fighters came and met the fans… Result!
Excited by this fact I walked in once the doors had opened and had a look around the centre and the stalls, there were stands dedicated to certain fighters, organisations and promotional teams, including: The Kronk Gym, The Mayweather Team, PBC (Premier Boxing Champions), Tommy Hearns, Iran Barkley, Marco Antonio Barrera, Cleto Reyes, WBC Cinco De Mayo belt, The Boxing Hall of Fame, it was awesome… A boxing geek’s idea of heaven!
Whilst walking around I spoke with some other boxing fans which was pretty cool as a lot of people “dont know s*** about boxing” as Roger Mayweather would say, and Andre and I got speaking to one of the guys managing the PBC stand where he ran through a list of fighters who would be attending the event today:
- Shawn Porter
- Abner Mares
- Alfredo Angulo
- Chris Arreola
To name a few, and then came the name I really didn’t expect:
For those of you who don’t know who Daniel Jacobs is, he is a Professional Fighter who was making his way in the Pro game, working his way up to title contention before tragedy struck and he was diagnosed with cancer.
Danny had a large tumour which was wrapping itself around his spine and it actually paralysed him for a while and he was forced to get around via wheelchair. Danny endured months of treatment and was successful in fighting the osteosarcoma and around 18 months later he was back in the ring, going by the nickname “The Miracle Man” (awesome ring name)!
I found out about Danny and his story when I was undergoing my treatment and his story did so much to inspire and motivate me, I commented on a post of his once and he responded and I kept in fairly regular contact with him ever since, he follows me on Instagram and we have spoken once or twice via comments, which for me was such a huge boost and it made me feel great when I was going through some very dark months in my life.
Once I heard that Danny was coming along I knew I had to stick around and seize this opportunity to meet him as he is someone who is not only an inspiration and idol to me but also a massive role model and example of how true professionals and true Champions should hold themselves and act.
When he fought Golovkin recently I was in awe of how he handled the situation, how deeply rooted his self belief was and how he used his mind to it’s fullest and came across so confident, strong and focused. For me, that was a big turning point as I realised that despite cancer and it’s treatment, it really is your mindset and self belief which will take you far beyond what is ‘supposed’ to be possible.
After queuing for around an hour, I finally got to the front of the queue as my coach Andre came over after meeting his favourite fighter Marco Antonio Barrera; luckily he was there to see me and capture the moment I met Jacobs with some photo’s.
The conversation went a little like this…
DJ: Hello there young man
Me: Hi Danny, you probably don’t recognise me but…
DJ: No way, yes I do my man! Tyler, come here brother!
Danny stood up and embraced me like an old friend…
I was in shock!
One of my heroes recognised me without me mentioning my name and he was so thoughtful and genuinely happy to see me – this demonstrated so much to me in terms of how to treat others, how to make people feel love and respect and also how to act when you’re successful; that it’s all about giving a little something back to others and making them feel better for seeing you.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have met a lot of World Champions and Hall of Fame fighters, but the thing that resonated the most with me was that Danny was so selfless, he made that experience special for me, asked questions about me, my health, etc. and was just so genuine. It was also very nice for me to see how Danny complimented my coach for all he has done for me and for helping me become the person I am; he also said how we inspire him!
It’s mad to think that Andre & I training together could quite possibly pop into his head at some points and inspire him to work harder, but what a surreal experience that was for me and it was almost as if it was meant to be.
I probably sound like a right little fan girl – but this is a memory that I will always cherish and it has a lot of meaning and emotions attached to it, as cancer has been a massive thing in my life over the last 10 years and to gain strength, motivation and friendship from it means a lot to me!
I still speak with Danny on occasions, he often gives a shout out to me on his live videos, and responds to my comments; so that means a lot.
The biggest lesson I learnt this day was sometimes a very small action can make the World of difference to someone and so with that I’d like to wish every person reading this a great weekend and I hope that you found something useful, inspiring or heart warming from this story and experience of mine.
Also, thank you very much to Danny for being a tremendous ambassador for the sport and for the disease – I see how hard you work to help raise awareness, show support and raise money for the research, treatment and support for cancer and those who it affects.
It feels pretty cool to be called a ‘fellow cancer survivor’ by one of your Heroes who has walked and is walking the path that you too wish to travel.