Lance Armstrong was once arguably the most beloved athlete in all of sports. He was the face of numerous brands and made it seem as though anything was possible through hard work and dedication.
When the testicular cancer survivor denied using PEDs, after accomplishing feats that seemed impossible, people wanted to believe him, and most of us did.
In October,that all came to an end when Armstrong gave up his fight with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and was stripped of his, then record-setting, seven Tour de France titles by the International Cycling Union.
In the wake of being stripped of his titles, he also lost all of his major sponsorship deals.
October also saw the in-ring return of Danny Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs), a former middleweight title challenger and HBO stalwart, who at this point last year was paralyzed from the waist down as the result of thoracic spinal cancer.
“It (the tumor) killed my appetite and left me feeling lifeless,” Jacobs told Denis Hamill of the New York Daily News . “The doctors didn’t think I’d ever walk again, never mind box.”
Within months, the determined fighter would do just that, fight, and regain his ability to walk, although boxing again as a professional prizefighter would still be a long shot.
After months of hard work, the Brooklyn native was ready to once again step in the ring. The fact that Jacobs, after beating the odds, was even fighting again, no matter who the foe, was a miracle in itself, and was a victory for cancer survivors everywhere.
In his first fight back, albeit against limited opposition, Jacobs scored a devastating knockout over Josh Luteran in the first round of a scheduled eight-round fight.
The former NYC Golden Gloves champion will take the next step in his comeback when he fights on the Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout undercard at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1.
This fight also will be against a limited foe, but he is still in the rebuilding stage and by this time next year, it isn’t out the question that he could be vying for a title shot.
While Lance Armstrong deceived the public and the cycling world through his use of PEDs to win championships and make millions, Danny Jacobs is lucky just to be fighting after what he has gone through.
Obviously, Jacobs will never be the superstar and cultural icon that Armstrong was, but his remarkable story is one that will resonate and inspire all types of people and not just those that have survived cancer.
Jacobs has never won a major championship and there is a chance he never will, but if Nike, Oakley, the Live Strong Foundation and some of Armstrong’s former sponsors are looking for a real hero to back, they need look no further than the “Miracle Man” Danny Jacobs.