Cinco-de-Mayo weekend traditionally entails the biggest boxing event of the year.
2019 appears to represent a continuation of that trend, as a mouthwatering unification showdown takes place between pay-per-view superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Brooklynite IBF World champion Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Guadalajara-born Alvarez – popularly known as ‘Canelo’ – won the WBA and WBC titles with a narrow majority-decision over Gennady Golovkin in a highly-anticipated September 2018 rematch. The outcome of their first bout – a split-draw – was also highly contentious, as judge Adelaide Byrd inexplicably scored 10 of the 12 rounds for the Mexican challenger, in a fight that Golovkin was seen by most to have dominated.
Nevertheless, the rematch was markedly more competitive as Canelo abandoned his trademark counter-punching style and was able to do what was until that point, many considered impossible; holding his feet and forcing the formidable Kazakh on to the retreat for the first half of the fight.
Golovkin also showcased different dimensions to his game by boxing (or outboxing, according to some) Canelo on the back foot; harnessing a somewhat under-appreciated skillset that enabled the Karaganda native to capture Olympic silver in Athens in 2004.
Naturally, boxing fans are interested to see what approach Canelo will adopt against someone as seasoned and skilful as Jacobs, who in March 2017 capitalised on his ring smarts and size advantage to nearly push Golovkin all the way, in a competitive decision defeat.
In addition to possessing arguably the best overall resume in the division (in terms of modern, relevant middleweight opponents), Jacobs has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he is not susceptible to stage-fright, and accordingly harbours an unflappable confidence in his own ability to neutralise the arsenal of his counterpart with speed, strength and skills; something which he nearly accomplished two years ago at Madison Square Garden.
Jacobs’ promoter, Eddie Hearn, is adamant that Canelo-Jacobs should be a classic example of a 50-50 fight. The bookies seemingly disagree; presumably due to the virtually effortless manner in which Canelo dispatched of the significantly bigger WBA regular titlist Rocky Fielding at super-middleweight in December, in addition to the fact that NSAC judges seem to be particularly partial to Canelo in the event of any close fights going the distance; indeed, the Mexican has been the beneficiary of overly generous scorecards on a number of occasions in Las Vegas.
Ultimately, however, Danny Jacobs is no Rocky Fielding – something that Canelo will discover relatively quickly on May 4th, as he struggles to get into punching range and mount meaningful counter-offensives in the face of Jacobs’ long left jab and powerful combinations.
Irrespective of the official verdict, I believe Jacobs will beat Canelo (perhaps in surprisingly comprehensive fashion) over twelve rounds; whether he is awarded the decision, is a different matter altogether. If so, this will potentially set up a fascinating rematch for Mexican Independence-Day weekend in September.
Article by: Navi Singh