In the Middle with this Division
By: Rich Mancuso
Canelo Alvarez holds the WBC Middleweight title and last week became the richest athlete in sports with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. Saturday evening two championships in the division changed hands and now the middleweights are the talk of boxing.
Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden, Daniel Jacobs gets his opportunity on HBO with the iBF title middleweight title up for grabs. Jacobs (34-2, 29 KO’s) opposes Sergly Derevyanchenko, 12-0, the undefeated pro formerly of Feodosia Crimea, Ukraine who has more of an amateur background.
Welcome again to the middleweight division. Daniel Jacobs sits in the middle of this, a division that suddenly is compared to the elite fighters at 147. That weight class has dominated and is highly contested.
Similar to the complexion and change of televised boxing, so goes the middleweight title that has been highlighted with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. And according to Eddie Hearn, promoter of Matchroom Boxing, the middleweight division has the top fighters.
“The middleweight division is class,” Hearn said on a conference call Monday afternoon. Hearn now has rights to Canelo Alvarez and said the winner of Jacobs-Derevyanchenko could fight Alvarez in May.
So the process, and as difficult as it can be, is to unify the middleweight titles. And with the different promoters, titles, and networks unifying the titles can be difficult. However, Hearn has the capability to get that accomplished and every fighter in the division will be aiming at getting that opportunity to challenge Canelo Alvarez.
“I think its a great time to be a middleweight in the division,” Jacobs said on the conference call. “A great time for the middleweight championship.”
Though Daniel Jacobs “The Miracle Man” knows this is the proper time, he sits in the middle. Alvarez is also aiming for the super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in December but still holds the number one spot.
Rob Brant dethroned Ryota Murata on the WBA side and former 154lb world champion Demetrius Andrade defeated Walter Kautondokwa and claimed the vacant WBO middleweight title on Saturday night. Yes, in a matter of a few hours the complexion of this division changed.
And this is all good for boxing. As always, there has to be unity and Daniel Jacobs with a victory at the Garden Saturday night would no longer be sitting in the middle.
Eddie Hearn could be the promoter that gets the unity accomplished. Again, he has been at the forefront of changing the complexion of the sport with DAZN and signing big name fighters.
“You are going to see a lot of these big unification fights,’ he said. “Another champion in Andrade. Think with now the championship spreading out, three champions, the winner Saturday night is in prime position to fight Canelo.”
Assuming Jacobs gets the win, anything is possible. The middleweights have become as good as the always talked about welterweights.
“Being in one of the hottest divisions I’m looking to take advantage,” Jacobs said “Time to get a middleweight belt and campaign for some of these bigger and better fights. I don’t believe in sharing belts. I want unification ”
He added: This is a good time. The fans are the one who will benefit the most.”Jacobs has the advantage Saturday night and is the favorite. His opponent is undefeated in 12 professional fights
but is also motivated for something bigger, a piece of this middleweight title.
“This is a respected belt,” he said. More so, this is how Daniel Jacobs gets out of the middle of this pile and once again becomes a dominant middleweight.
And all you have to do is listen to co-promoter Lou DiBella. His perspective of where this division will stand after the Jacobs fight does speak volumes. That elite division of welterweight champions and contenders is in good company.
“Boxing is a business,” said DiBella. “When you get past the heavyweights we’ll see big middleweight fight after big middleweight fight.”