This Saturday night Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs unify at middleweight as the DAZN streaming service rolls out the red carpet for their very first high profile event. Canelo is difficult to defeat in the ring because of his ever improving talent. Add the powers that exist in boxing politics to the equation and that makes the task that much harder. Can Jacobs put it all together to produce his best performance? All of the loyal followers of this outrageous at times sport of ours should be satisfied with what we witness inside of the ring. If we go to the cards whelp we know the most likely scenario.
Daniel Jacobs’ journey to Saturday night’s climax of his professional fighting career is filled with forks in road and adversity. Back in 2010, Jacobs was a developing contender full of energy, entering the squared-circle for his first title shot against then unknown on this side of the world, Dimtry Pirog. This podcaster and a few friends watching that night were hyped as Danny made his ring walk to a song by Brooklyn’s own M.O.P. called ‘Ante Up’. Pirog represented the next step in the Brownesville native’s blossoming career.
Not long after the opening bell rang it was apparent that Pirog not only wasn’t there to lie down, he was the real deal both offensively and defensively. Don’t get me wrong, Jacobs was getting his as well but as the rounds added up Pirog was getting the best of the exchanges. As a 3-1 underdog, Pirog leveled Jacobs with a flush right hand, causing Danny to crumble, limp-like to the canvas. The scene played out eerily similar to Tyson Fury seemingly dead to the world on his back from a straight right and a scraping left hook this past December against Deontay Wilder. Danny lied motionless on the mat triggering referee Robert Byrd to stop counting which made Jacobs lunge up to protest the ending of the fight.
Not all that long after Jacobs’ first loss he found out something was horribly wrong after attempting to get out of bed only to be shocked by a paralyzing feeling in his legs. His well-documented battle with cancer only made him stronger once he was able to overcome it. After 18 months on the mend, Jacobs made his return in 2012.
Eight victories later placed him on a course to make a name at the middleweight division versus then unbeaten Peter Quillin. Danny wouldn’t even need a full round to score a shocking technical-stoppage result. Two bouts later Jacobs gave his best performance, albeit in defeat to Gennady Golovkin by unanimous decision. Jacobs stands at the door step to what would be an amazing win if he can finish the job.
Canelo’s climb to fame and fortune is an amazing story, as well. Like the majority of teenage fighters in Mexico, Canelo had to learn on the job as a pro. In his third fight Alvarez defeated a future champion in Miguel Vasquez; two bouts later he drew with Jorge Juarez. This was all the way back in 2006. Flash forward to the last 6 years and you can’t find a fighter with a better resume in their prime. Jose Miguel Cotto managed to badly hurt Canelo early but ultimately Alvarez ended the action in the ninth round in 2010. Otherwise Canelo’s chin has proven to be very sturdy. Love him, hate him, or indifferent, even with Canelo’s questionable victories, no one can deny his talent and the list of who’s who in and around 154-160 he faced. Also, the additions to Canelo skill set in his mid-to-late 20’s are unquestionable.
Thinking through this main event on Saturday night several questions come to mind. Does Jacobs come forward or blend in the outside approach he’s used more in the last two years? Its doubtful Canelo will come out gunning and Danny’s two and a half inch reach advantage could help him in landing a jab. As we’ve seen time and time again Canelo has issues trying to cut off the ring but that doesn’t automatically equate to Jacobs using a ton of movement. Sure, Danny did do some nice work from the outside versus Golovkin but it’s not as though Jacobs can move as fluidly as say an Erislandy Lara.
Did Jacobs peak in the Gennadiy Golovkin moral defeat to some while others though a draw was acceptable or saw Danny winning? Danny has a bad habit of fighting down to the opposition from time to time, is it odd it happened in his last three fights? Is not fighting up to his potential three straight outings a trend or will the moments he flashed during those fights become more prevalent versus Canelo?
Will Jacobs do what Golovkin didn’t and make an effort to target Alvarez’s body? It would pay dividends of course but it also makes him susceptible to counters by Canelo. On that note, Canelo is dynamic and applies more imagination to his offense, whereas Danny is fairly basic and can be figured out offensively. Canelo’s good at protecting on defense but definitely not elite by any means.
Look for Canelo to come out the more tentative of the two as he adjusts to the length of Jacobs. After a couple of rounds Canelo will have a better idea of how to attack and will increase his punch rate and combinations. Speaking of punch activity, Jacobs has to be the more active fighter if he stands any chance of beating Canelo and the Nevada State Athletic Commission judge’s. When push comes to shove, Jacobs’ defense will be his undoing as he puts up pretty good but not great performance.
Side Note: If you plan on watching the DAZN card like most of us boxing fans, make sure to record ESPN’s event that same night because Artur Beterbiev and Radivoje Kalajdzic should be exciting. Beterbiev tends to start a bit slow but then heats up while looking to add to his knockout streak. Many fans thought Kalajdzic beat Marcos Browne in 2016.