Two of the three best middleweight fighters in boxing square off in the early hours of Sunday morning as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Ring Magazine's number 1 recognised middleweight, defends his WBA and WBC middleweight title against the number 3 middleweight in the World and IBF middleweight champion Danny Jacobs, in a title unification bout.
This is easily the biggest boxing event of the year so far and while Canelo has fought Gennady Golovkin twice in a row, many consider the American to be Canelo’s toughest fight to date.
In boxing, styles make fights and it is fair to say that Jacobs' style may be one that can cause Canelo problems.
Alvarez has certainly faced technically gifted boxers (Trout, Lara, Mayweather), big punchers (Golovkin) and opponents who are bigger than him (Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Rocky Fielding), but he’s never faced it in the same package that Jacobs offers.
Jacobs was successful in causing Golovkin problems in a controversial 2017 loss when he switched stances throughout and mixed power with speed and has the class to mix it up with Canelo.
Compared to fighters of the past, Alvarez is considered a fairly small middleweight and doesn't possess elite foot speed. While Jacobs is an incredible athlete with a legitimate knockout punch to boot and is very much a legitimate threat to take down Canelo’s middleweight empire.
Canelo’s class, however, shouldn’t be underestimated as his only career loss came at the hands of a Floyd Mayweather Jr who was at the peak of his boxing powers, and even then it took the judges’ scorecards to award the fight to the American.
Canelo comes into this fight having beaten Golovkin on points (considered a controversial result at best) and annihilating British fighter Rocky Fielding in three rounds back in December. He also has the added pressure of being the face of the new boxing streaming service DAZN, needing a superstar showing to justify the reported $365 million 10-fight deal.
Both fighters possess tremendous KO power, Alvarez having won 64% of his fights by KO, and Jacobs an impressive 78%. Such is the skill of both fighters it could well be that the fight goes the distance.
Here in lies the problem, as Canelo has a history of getting the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards in the past. Controversial judge Adalaide Byrd is listed for the fight and was widely criticised for awarding Alvarez a 118-110 score in the first fight with Golovkin.
This means it is likely Jacobs could go looking for the KO, which could leave him open to a counter from Canelo who is the best in the sport at countering his opponent's attack.
With GGG now on the DAZN roster, Canelo will be given the chance for a third fight with Golovkin if he wins this fight.
It would present the biggest fight of the trilogy and a chance for Canelo to right the wrongs of the second fight, which some felt GGG won. For Jacobs, a win would result in a rematch with Canelo and a chance to put himself in the mix as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
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