Gary “The Kid” Jacobs had me worried, to say this man can chat is an understatement, in actual fact with this being the festive season I was scared to take a donkey into the gym to meet him as it would have come out with no hind legs.
We met up to discuss the Scottish Title Fight on the upcoming MTK Scotland Promotions Christmas Cracker Show in the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley on Saturday 16th December as Gary is involved with the MTK stable but I couldn’t resist asking about his own career, here is some of what he had to say.
“I had 28 championship fights and was up against so many undefeated fighters in there and they were all for big title fights. My first title win was the Scottish Title and then I went on to win the British Title, Commonwealth Title, European Title, Inter-Continental Title, International Title and obviously fight for the World Title against Pernell Whitaker.”
What would you say the defining moment of your career was?
“My defining moment which helped tell me how good I was is probably a defeat and it was against James “Buddy” McGirt in Madison Square Garden back in 1988. I was training up in the Catskills Mountains and was there to fight elsewhere on Thursday and got called in (as someone had got an injury) and asked to fight against McGirt instead. The first question you ask is how much and as a young man if you are offered £10,000 to fight on a Thursday or £150,000 to fight on a Sunday you take the bigger purse. He’s the only guy that beat me that I think was too good for me as the others were mostly robberies which I avenged. I can’t argue with the Whitaker fight as I was stopped although I still think I won the first 6 rounds in that fight at least and I had him down in the 10th and he was the pound for pound best fighter on the planet at that time. Buddy was strong and he had to fight hard against me but he did beat me, he was smart and pinching the rounds but he still won them.”
“However he went on to beat a fighter called Simon Brown who was unbeaten and knocking everyone out at that point, it came to the stage that Buddy was to fight him and I thought he would have no chance but he beat Simon easily and I thought to myself well he didn’t do that to me so maybe I’m better than I think I was.”
What about your favourite fight?
“Winning the European Title was probably my favourite fight as I went to Paris to win it against Ludovic Proto in the rematch. I didn’t get the decision against him in in the first fight despite beating him out the park (Proto won on a split decision). It was so controversial and the officials were so embarrassed that the sanctioning board ordered a rematch instantly. That second fight was my finest hour as I stopped him to make sure it didn’t go to the judges this time. I threw something like 27 punches without reply in the 8th and then a hook to the body and a hook to the head at the start of the 9th and the towel came in.”
We moved on to how Gary came about to be working with the MTK team.
“I fell out of love with boxing for a while and then got involved with Sam Kynoch after about 10 years out the game as I was doing a charity boxing match to help raise funds for the Beatson Clinic for all the help they gave my wife. Once I met him I liked him immediately and I have to say he gets the business as he is a smart guy and whatever he decides to do he is going to the top and we started doing bits and pieces together. Run the clock forward 4 or 5 years and I’m here as a trainer helping to train some of the fighters and also doing personal training. With Sam being more and more involved in the management and promoting of the fighters he brought me in to help out so without Sam I wouldn’t be here.”
So out of the current crop of MTK Scotland fighters who does Gary think has the most potential?
“We have a bunch of guys who will have to do it the hard way and some of them will have a long way to go to get to the top but if you have the heart and desire to train hard and really want it then that has a lot to do with it. It would be unfair of me to single anyone out but I do still spar every day in the gym with the guys to see how they are improving. I have been working with Paul Kean who is fighting on the bill once a week and we have been working on sitting down more on his punches to develop more power and he is coming along nicely. In terms of any fighters outside of MTK then I have to say Josh Taylor, he’s a star I’m a big fan of his he could be the biggest and greatest world champion Scotland has ever had I rate him that highly.”
As a coach what would your training style be and what advice would you give any up and coming boxers?
“My style was all out aggression and it was good enough for me so I will try and coach that in but in addition it’s all about not getting hit as if you don’t get hit then you can’t get beat and you also get to have a longer career. The advice I would give any up and coming fighter these days is to train hard and live the life but to be fair that’s the same for any sport, if you do it properly you’ve got a chance. It’s all about being able to do the rounds and if you run into trouble you can get out of it. You can run out the way and survive it as if you don’t train properly then you run out of steam and then you are just a sitting duck. If you look at all the top boys they don’t run out of steam because they train hard and live the life.”
With the coaching work and the personal training work, you must be kept busy?
“With the PT side of things picking up I’m getting kept reasonably busy but I still have some spaces left so if anyone is looking for some training they can get in touch. I also do a lot of corporate days for business so they get a training day and they get to do some sparring with me as well.”
Headlining the bill on 16th is Stephen Tiffney against Lewis Paulin for the Scottish Title, what is your opinion of that fight and how do you see it going?
“That is a superb fight, as to who do I edge towards it’s a tricky one, both undefeated fighters but I like Terry McCormack and I like the way he trains. As far as I’m concerned he trained Josh Taylor, the McGuigan boys are with him now but as far as I’m concerned what he has learnt has all been through Terry. All things considered I fancy that Stephen Tiffney has the edge, he is strong and I think he will come through this one and win the Scottish Title.”
Anyone who would be interested in becoming fitter or having some personal training with Gary can contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone still looking for tickets to the show can contact tickets-scotland.com or call 0141 204 5151
For all the latest boxing news and interviews please follow us on Twitter @hithardnews or Facebook at Hit Hard News.