By: Oliver McManus
Canelo Alvarez will look to add the IBF world title to his, already, unified collection from the WBA and WBC when he takes on Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas, this Saturday. Jacobs brings that third strap to the table having won the vacant title in October, courtesy of a split-decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Likewise with Crawford-Khan, this isn’t a preview or a breakdown but just some thoughts.
The 32 year old from Brownsville, New York, has been blowing hot and cold over the last two years with that Derevyanchenko fight being closer than necessary but, before that, registering a comfortable win over Maciej Sulecki. Alvarez, meanwhile, is looking to shake off any remaining critics with another emphatic victory – he’ll hope to replicate his three round breakdown of, an overmatched, Rocky Fielding.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The fight itself is an interesting one with Alvarez understandably the betting favourite but Jacobs is far from mismatched. Fielding was dealt with in merciless fashion and looked to be out of his depth from the first punch – but that wasn’t unexpected and certainly not a slur on the Merseyside man. Jacobs, conversely, comes into this fight with a proven track record at world level. More frighteningly, he backs that up with the consistency of finding finishes on the big stage. Against Caleb Truax he looked, for all the world, to be cruising towards victory but still opted to push forward and secure a knockout with less than a minute to go; Peter Quillin was dealt with in less than a round and; Sergio Mora found himself hitting the canvas on seven occasions in a little over 25 minutes.
Canelo, aside, the Miracle Man was responsible for the providing the sternest challenge to Gennady Golovkin. In March 2017 he piled the pressure on the Kazakh, former, kingpin and but for a fourth round knockdown would have been on course to rip the unified belts away from their long-time holder. Now I enjoy watching Jacobs box for he’s rarely boring but I often forget he’s been a world champion, on and off, since 2014.
Now that is an issue because it doesn’t pay to be a forgotten world champion and, arguably, Jacobs is as best known for his loss against Golovkin as he is any of his world title wins – despite their abrupt finishes. I like the fact he jumped at the chance to fight Golovkin and is doing so against Canelo but it all feels at the wrong time. Momentum is a big thing in boxing and we saw that play a part, certainly I feel, in his contest with Triple G. Coming off the back of five top-drawer performances there was an aura around him but he approaches this Canelo contest with one average performance in his bag, I’d have liked to see him have a couple defences, loosen up and then go for the jugular.
All that being said I don’t imagine it would have made much difference, such is the irreproachable form of Alvarez in recent fights. The Mexican learned from that first contest with GGG and actively changed his game-plan for the second bout to give him a righteous win. Throughout his career we have seen the effortless power that he possesses with a particular menace for shots to the body. In doing so he doesn’t just beat his opponents through outright brutality but systematically breaks their resistance, mentally and physically, punch by punch.
Make what you will of the whole Clenbuterol case but that seems to be fading into the background, for now at least. I find it more remarkable, although probably not surprising, just how far in the pocket of Canelo the WBC are. I can’t remember a time where the president of a governing body has seemingly been toing the line of a fighter and not vice versa. Of course there are allegiances between fighters, promoters and governing bodies but it all seems rather weird in the context of Canelo and Mauricio Sulaiman. Like that “uncle” in the family who no-one is related to.
The 28 year old continues to push for his position at the top of the pound-for-pound list and it is hard to argue with him sitting pretty as number one. Of course a name like Lomachenko is a worthy challenger but when you consider the fact Alvarez turned professional at the age of 15 – without all that stellar amateur pedigree – and has remained, pretty much, at the top of the sport since 2011 then that’s where Canelo starts to edge ahead. For me, anyway.
An, expected, win against Daniel Jacobs would see Alvarez unify belts for the third time in his career. With Jaime Munguia seemingly set on moving up to middleweight, let’s get that Mexican feast on for September and do it in Mexico – do it at the Estadio Jalisco – and create one of the most insane fight experiences in recent memory. I’m allowed to look past Jacobs, though, I’m not fighting him but, for now, the task ahead is on May 4th.
Will the Miracle Man be left needing one or can he turn Saul’s celebrations sour? Tune in exclusively on DAZN to find out and catch the full fight card featuring John Ryder vs Bilal Akkawy as chief support.