By: Rahat Haque
Canelo Alvarez and Danny Jacobs will be facing each other this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena at Las Vegas. Even though a GGG vs Canelo III makes more sense based on popular demand, we know styles makes fights in boxing. Thus, this title unification fight between two of the best names at 160 was inevitable. The fans want the best to fight the best, and so this should be treat to watch. UK viewers will be able to watch the match at Sky Sports, US viewers will be able to see the fight at the new sports streaming service DAZN. It is partner of both Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Sport and it even secured the ring announcing services of Michael Buffer.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The game of boxing provides many twists and turns. Dmitry Pirog was able to knockout Danny Jacobs in the 5th round in July 2010. Jacobs would fight twice more before being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2011, a form of bone cancer. Pirog on the other hand, would be forced into an early retirement only 3 fights later in 2012, after not being able to recuperate from a ruptured disc. But shortly after, in that same year, Jacobs made a full recovery and scored a TKO in his comeback win against Josh Luteran. Jacobs has not looked back ever since, only losing to the formidable and excellent Gennday Golovkin. He especially caught boxing’s eye with his first round knock out of Peter Quillin, who was very much a budding star himself at 160 until then. After that happened, Peter took a long break before coming back to fight again, and has avoided the limelight since then. Perhaps the morale here is, we do not always know what life throws at us, it is beyond our control. Boxing imitates life in this fashion. We also are unsure what will transpire inside the squared circle. From the outset, Canelo is a huge favorite. It would seem that the Cinderella man, or The Miracle Man as Jacobs is dubbed, is in for a defeat.
It is not that Canelo cannot be beaten. Floyd Mayweather beat him fair and square, using his skills and stamina to full use. Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout gave him good bouts, finding success on the outside, and using their athleticism to outwork Canelo to a great degree. But when it comes to landing the most decisive blows, Canelo is unmatched. He does not waste any effort. He is willing engager on the inside and out, with underrated defense via parrying and head movement. But he does stop to take breaks in between rounds, which would have lit up Jacob’s eyes. The Matchroom fighter will look to capitalize on these cessations against the Golden Boy fighter, hoping to catch him by surprise. But if Canelo could withstand GGG’s power, he should be able to do the same with Jacobs. But Jacobs is quicker on his feet than GGG, which should give him angles GGG could not exploit in his fight with Canelo. Actually, the more you look into it, it is not that Canelo is the best or most dominant fighter, it’s just that he knows how to get wins. He has the science of winning boxing matches down packed. There was a sizeable contingent of fans objecting to the decisions in the Lara and GGG encounters, who felt it was closer than the refs saw it, or that it could have even gone the other way! But Canelo and his camp will be quick to remind you that it is him who always ends up landing the cleaner and crisper shots, while doing more to make the other fighter miss. Basically, he has gotten very good at doing to others what Mayweather did to him. This does not make him fearsome, but makes him nearly unbeatable. There is also the notion among fans that any close decisions always go to him, being Golden Boy’s cash cow.
From Danny Jacob’s perspective, he has nothing to lose. He along with Gennady, Canelo and Andrade are the four fighters at middleweight who all pass the eye test. If he is not fighting these guys in the division, then there is no point of him hanging around. Billy Joe Saunders was another name in the division, but he has moved up to 168 after not being able to make the cut anymore at middleweight. In order to cause the upset and come out with a victory against Canelo, he has to use his massive height advantage. If Jacobs really wants to win, he has to become a jab first fighter, which he is not. He is known more for his hooks, and his first instinct would be to step inside and trade with Canelo. He may take a few of Canelo’s shots to slip in a few of his heavy hooks. The only problem with such a strategy is it keeps the fight at a pace favorable to Canelo. As long as they are both trading, Canelo would be confident in landing the more effective punches before changing angles on Jacobs. But if Jacobs fights behind his jab the whole night, he has the potential to frustrate Canelo, forcing the Mexican superstar into some mistakes. There is one small problem with this logic however, which is Canelo has an excellent jab himself! But if Danny wants to win, he will have to fight a fight he never fought before. Despite what happens in the T-Mobile Arena this weekend, both fighters need to fight Demetrius Andrade pretty soon. Like Jacobs, Andrade is signed to Matchroom which should facilitate negotiations.