Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) will defend his WBA/WBC titles and try to unify against IBF champ Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) on Saturday, May 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. These are two of the best middleweights in the world getting ready for war, in what should be a fight of the year candidate. Boxing fans should be in for a treat!
Alvarez is coming off a TKO victory against super middleweight Rocky Fielding, back in December, in which he won the WBA (regular) Super Middleweight title. It was a “gimme” fight for Canelo. Fielding is not a world class boxer and stood no chance. A fight against Daniel Jacobs on the other hand is a much more challenging task. While Alvarez is the betting favorite going into this fight, he won’t be able to just walk down Jacobs and knock him out. Jacobs is naturally bigger and stronger and has about a 3 inch reach advantage over Canelo and is also a world class boxer who does a lot more than just slug it out.
Daniel Jacobs is coming off a split decision win against stablemate Sergiy Derevyanchenko in what was a very hard fought battle. Both fighters had sparred each other hundreds of times over the years, so there was no surprises come fight night. Both fighters showed heart, grit and determination, but Jacobs edged out the victory. If Jacobs is to win against Alvarez will need the performance of a lifetime. The type of performance he showed against former unified middleweight champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) back in March 2017. That was a true war, which many felt was decided by a knockdown GGG scored against Jacobs in the 4th round of their fight. Jacobs cannot afford to be knocked down or even hurt in this fight. If Alvarez smells blood in the water, it is likely that he will finish the job. Alvarez is in his prime and we rarely see him make mistakes.
Even though this is a unification bout, Canelo Alvarez and his team insisted on a rehydration clause. The IBF usually has a mandatory fight day weigh-in during the morning of the fight, which has a 170lb weight limit, meaning fighters can only rehydrate 10lbs between their initial weigh-in and the IBF weigh-in the day after. The IBF waives the mandatory weigh-in for unification title bouts. Canelo’s team is smart to have included this clause because it is not mandatory in unification fights. Jacobs previously skipped such a weigh in against Golovkin and came into the fight very big. Some speculating that his weight was upwards of 185lbs, which is huge for a 160lb middleweight fight. The clause gives Alvarez a slight edge, and he will not have to face such a blown up version of Jacobs. But make no mistake, Jacobs will still come into fight night as the bigger man.
Keys to Victory for Jacobs:
- Be Physical. Be intelligently aggressive. From the opening bell, Jacobs will need to impose his will. He does not want to come out guns blazing, because he’s shown defensive flaws when being too aggressive in the past, but he needs to be aggressive nonetheless. He needs to be intelligent because we all know Canelo has very good defense and stellar counter punching ability. He will need to find the perfect balance of being a technician and being aggressive.
- Stick and move. One glaring weakness of Alvarez is that he has slow feet. He has had problems with fighters who have had quick feet and good speed. Thankfully, Jacobs has both. Mix in the technical boxing, make Canelo try to cut him off, and make him move around a lot. Jacobs has superior athleticism, hand speed, good head movement and a great jab. If he can win rounds clearly, he could run away with the fight. Not many people see that happening, but that is what he has to do. No Canelo opponent can allow there to be too many swing rounds, because Jacobs will not be given the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards.
- Box off the back foot. Jacobs did this against Golovkin and had a lot of success. Previous opponents of Canelo did this and found success. Lara did this and frustrated Canelo much of the fight. Many people felt Lara did enough to win the fight, but there were too many close rounds. Jacobs is bigger than Lara, so hopefully he can use that to his advantage.
Keys to Canelo winning:
- Turn it into a war. Jacobs might be bigger, stronger, and have quicker feet and hands but he’s not the superior boxer. All around, Canelo has the better boxing toolkit. He’s the better counter and combination puncher and he has much better defense. Canelo doesn’t have quick feet and he doesn’t want to be chasing Jacobs all night. Jacobs has been known to make mistakes when he gets too aggressive and over commits himself, so force him to be aggressive, and then counter punch him into submission.
- Go to the body. Jacobs might try to use a lot of movement to frustrate Alvarez and try and mimic what other opponents have done, but better. Canelo is a tremendous body puncher. He should go to the body early and often. If he is landing counters to the body, hooks to the body, anything, it will show in the later rounds. It could possibly even lead to a KO.
- Get creative with combinations. Uppercuts, hooks, mix up body and head shots, mix the head movement and feints to throw Jacobs off. While Jacobs will be moving around a lot, Canelo will have to neutralize that multiple ways. Counter punching and combinations, mainly to the body first and coming upstairs. Go with fakes to the body in middle rounds, after landing repeated early round body blows. It could frustrate Jacobs enough to force him into making costly mistakes.
At the end of the day, I feel that Canelo is more of a complete fighter than Daniel Jacobs. My heart says Jacobs wins in a close battle. My mind says Canelo on the scorecards. I’m one of those boxing fans that truly believes you have to KO Canelo to beat him. He keeps too many rounds close, and seems to get the benefit of the doubt more often than not with the judges. It is what it is. Superstar athletes in any sport seem to always get the benefit of the doubt, so why should boxing be any different? Jacobs either needs to dominate with a boxing clinic, maybe channel his inner “Money Mayweather” or he needs to score a knockout to win this fight. Canelo is the better fighter and while he has some weaknesses, his strengths do make up for them against pretty much anyone in the middleweight division today. Canelo Alvarez by Unanimous Decision.
This fight will be shown on the DAZN streaming app. The main event should start around 11.30pm ET, possibly as late as midnight. In the UK, the fight can be viewed on Sky Sports. The undercard will begin at 9:00pm EST.
Fathom Events is also showing the fight at select theaters across the united states. Check local theaters for times and prices. It’s usually a bargain. I highly recommend it. I used Fathom Events to watch the Errol Spence Jr. vs Mikey Garcia fight, and I wasn’t disappointed. I only spent $20 and I live in New York City where things are often outrageously priced compared to other places in the country.