Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOS) will take on Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs (35-1, 29 KOs) this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez’s WBA, WBC and Ring Magazines titles as well as Jacobs’ IBF titles will be on the line. The winner will be considered the best middleweight on the planet.
While Canelo is considered the favorite in this fight, it would hardly be a big upset if Jacobs pulled of a victory. Jacobs has proven to be an elite middleweight and the boxing community is expecting a highly competitive fight. This is precisely why Alvarez will have a big opportunity to win the fans back on Saturday night.
It wasn’t too long ago that Canelo was universally loved in the boxing world. Originally from Mexico, he turned pro at the age of 15 and quickly compiled a strong record before making his U.S. debut at the age of 19. Canelo quickly gained a reputation for taking all comers. This was most evident when he pushed for a fight against Austin Trout in 2013 after Trout had defeated Miguel Cotto. Most pundits expected Golden Boy Promotions to protect Canelo and that he would oblige. To the surprise of many, he took the fight and won.
Alvarez followed that fight with a match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Despite losing a wide decision, many gave Canelo a ton of respect for taking the fight, at the age of 23, against the best fighter in the world. Canelo followed this fight with matches against the likes of Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, and Miguel Cotto.
But was after the Cotto fight that things began to shift.
After getting his marquee victory over Cotto, Canelo became the WBC middleweight champion and the boxing public immediately demanded a unification fight with Gennady Golovkin, who was widely recognized as the best middleweight in the world. For the first time in his career, Canelo opted to go against what the public demanded (and what made most sense). He instead chose to fight welterweight Amir Khan in 2016, whom he predictably knocked out in devastating fashion. The public once again demanded a fight with Golovkin, and again Canelo opted for someone else. He chose to vacate his WBC middleweight title and dropped back to 154 pounds. He fought WBO champ Liam Smith later that year and won easily. By this point the boxing public had gotten restless and accused Canelo of ducking Golovkin, especially because he had vacated his title.
But after a year of waiting, many thought they would finally get to see Canelo and Golovkin lock horns on the big Cinco de Mayo pay-per-view in 2017. Instead, Canelo chose to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. And once again, he easily dominated as Chavez barely through punches. After the fight ended, Canelo called Golovkin out and announced the fight between them. The fight that the fans wanted to see was finally going to take place.
Canelo squared off against Golovkin in September 2017 and the fight was a solid one. Canelo started off boxing well and used a lot movement. As the rounds progressed, it was clear Golovkin’s jab, pressure and right hands were a big issue for him. When the bell rang, most boxing pundits felt that Golovkin had won a clear decision. Instead, the fight was announced a draw.
Fans immediately made their feelings known. Many spoke out against Canelo and his team, and some went as far as to claim that the judges had been bought. Judge Adelaide Byrd, who had scored the fight 118-110 in Canelo’s favor, received a ton of backlash on social media. Despite finally getting the fight the fans wanted, the result left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth and further dropped Canelo’s popularity.
With the first fight resulting in a draw, an immediate rematch was set to take place in May 2018. All that came crashing down when Canelo tested positive for clenbuterol in March. He blamed the failed drug test on contaminated Mexican meat, but nonetheless, the fight was scrapped and Canelo received a six month suspension. Many called Canelo’s excuse ‘bs’ , including former champion, Paulie Malignaggi. Canelo’s support from non-Mexican fans seemed to be at a low point.
The rematch between the two fighters was re-scheduled for September 2018 and the fight delivered. Following Canelo’s failed drug test, the Golovkin camp had been outspoken about Canelo and his team, calling him a cheater and even making videos mocking him. The fight was now personal and it showed in the ring. This time, Canelo stood in the center of the ring and fought Golovkin like no one else had. It was a valiant effort but once again, most of the boxing pundits felt Golovkin had won. Instead, Canelo was awarded a narrow unanimous decision. Canelo ended Golovkin’s undefeated streak and became the new unified middleweight champion of the world.
And once again, boxing fans made their voices heard. They once again claimed robbery, and blamed Golden Boy Promotions for paying off the judges. Canelo failed to receive the wide support that a victory over Golovkin was thought to have brung. It was another controversial victory for the Mexican star and one that didn’t bring him any new fans.
Following his victory over Golovkin, Canelo stepped up in weigh to challenge Rocky Fielding for the ‘regular’ WBA super middleweight title. Many fans claimed Canelo was cherry picking and was looking to pick up an easy title. Some claimed that after two fights with Golovkin, he deserved an easy fight. And an easy fight it was. Canelo battered Fielding and TKO’ed him to be come the new WBA ‘regular’ champ. Hardly anyone gave him too muchcredit for the win as many recognized from the start that Fielding was had nothing for the Mexican fighter.
So now we find ourselves days away from Canelo’s anticipated fight against Danny Jacobs. This opponent choice is back to classic Canelo. An elite level fighter who he could’ve easily avoided but chose to fight. However, the question is whether or not a non controversial victory over Jacobs would put Canelo back in the positive limelight in the eyes of the fans. The vast majority of the fans have already given him credit for choosing to fight Jacobs, but those same fans are already claiming that Jacobs has to knock him out to win as the judges will simply favor Canelo. But what if Canelo is the one who knocks out Jacobs? Will he get the support back from the vast majority of the boxing community like before? We will have to wait and see.