Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The fight card at UIC Pavilion on Friday night had a couple of championship bouts, but both men defending their respective titles dealt with an even bigger battle outside of the ring.
Daniel "The Miracle Man" Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell, both cancer survivors, showed their will and determination that helped them get through a life- threatening disease and become a world champion.
Jacobs (29-1) stayed a champ by defeating Caleb Truax by technical knockout in the 12th round to retain his WBA World middleweight title. Dirrell, however, was upset by challenger Badou Jack in a majority decision for the WBC world super middleweight belt.
Jack (19-1-1) took the win by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114.
Both Dirrell and Jack exchanged blows every round, but it was Jack who was the aggressor. Dirrell (28-1-1), making the first defense of the WBC title since a win over Sakio Bika, attacked Jack in the second round, pounding him into the ropes within the first minute and cracking him with a right hand moments later that sent the challenger back.
Jack, born in Stockholm, Sweden and a 2008 Olympian of the Republic of Gambia, responded later in the round with a right hook to Dirrell's chin, and he took that momentum into the third.
The underdog Jack was game in this fight, sending numerous shots to the body of the champ. He got stronger as the fight wore on and started to track Dirrell down in the latter stages.
Dirrell backed off throughout the championship rounds, almost fighting for a draw, as Jack continued to chase and look for a knockout. The two traded shots in the final round before leaving it up to the judges.
Jacobs and Truax worked at a slow pace in the opening rounds, but the champion showed his strength with numerous combinations. In the fifth round, Jacobs caught Truax with a left uppercut and a right cross, and he continued to batter Truax as he opened a small cut underneath the challenger's right eye.
Truax (25-2), who retired from a liquor store over the past couple of weeks to focus on boxing full-time, could not get inside on Jacobs throughout the fight with the latter showing different looks and switching from orthodox to southpaw.
Truax did get in on Jacobs in the 10th round and cracked him with a quick right, but the champion maintained composure and finished it in the 12th with an impressive knockout.
Jacobs, who has won seven fights since surviving surgery for a cancerous tumor on his spine and made his first defense of the WBA belt, clipped Truax with a solid right hand that sent the challenger into the ropes, and referee Dave Smith ruled it a knockdown.
Jacobs smelled blood in the water after that and fired successive, thundering overhand rights, backing Truax into the corner. After a few more crushing blows, Smith stepped in a called the fight as Jacobs secured the 26th knockout of his career.