Jason Gonzalez was ringside for maxboxing. He filed this report
On the exact same day that the Kentucky Derby was held, the two-top thoroughbreds in the middleweight division, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Danny Jacobs collided head on in the ring before a sold-out crowd of 20, 203 at the T-Mobile Arena Cinco de Mayo weekend.
And after it was all said and done, the sport of boxing can now claim its first unified middleweight champion in 14 years. Canelo becomes the first fighter to accomplish this since Jermain Taylor back in 2005 after beating ring legend Bernard Hopkins. The match up which paired champion versus champion was aired on DAZN.
"It was just what we thought. We knew he [Jacobs] was going to be a difficult fighter, but thank
God we did things the right way, what we were going to do," Canelo said through his interpreter. "It was just what we thought because of the style of fight that he brings, but we just did our job."
Maxboxing agreed with the outcome, we scored it 115-114 for the native of Mexico. With the victory the 28-year-old Canelo successfully defended the WBA, WBC middleweight title [that he won from Gennady Golovkin in the rematch last September], as well as the Ring magazine belt, while capturing Jacobs’s IBF strap in the process via a unanimous decision. The official scorecards read 116-112 [Glen Feldman], and 115 –113 twice [Steve Weisfeld and Dave Moretti] in Canelo’s second fight of his 11-fight deal worth a whopping $365 million with the sports streaming app.
Jacobs came into the ring with a size advantage that was enhanced as a result of failing to make/meet the contractual Saturday morning weigh in weight of 170. Both Canelo and Jacobs made weight at the official weigh-in Friday afternoon. However, there was a contractual clause that called for neither fighter to weigh over 170 pounds the day of the fight or they be subjected to a hefty fine. Canelo meet the requirement however, Jacobs weighed in at 173.6 pounds, which translated to a $1 million fine.
"I feel accomplished, l feel great. I have to go back to look at the tapes to see exactly what the judges thought," Jacobs said. "They said to me [in the corner] that I was up, so I was still pushing forward because I wanted to finish strong. He’s a tremendous champion, and I tip my hat to him. I gave my all out there. You’ll see Daniel Jacobs bigger and better next time."
Ironically, Jacobs’ size advantage didn’t affect Canelo, who with the victory improved to 52-1-2, (35). In Canelo’s last outing, the native of Guadalajara moved up to super middleweight to face Rocky Fielding. After obliterating Fielding and winning a secondary world title, Canelo promised that he would return to middleweight. Obviously to Canelo’s credit he kept his word.
The fight began slowly as both Canelo and Jacobs came forward feeling each other out. The 32-year-old Jacobs, of Brownsville, Brooklyn dropped to 35-3, (29) with the loss. It appeared that Jacobs was content to go backwards firing punches sporadically.
Jacobs opened the fight by jabbing, while Canelo picked up the pace in the second round. Both fighters traded shots throughout the bout. Jacobs won the third. As the bout continued, Canelo landed a left hand that rocked Jacobs’ head back in the early moments of the fourth round in Canelo dictated controlling with activity and effective punches. Canelo should also get credit for the defense that he employed.
"I didn’t feel any different. I’m just a naturally big middleweight," Jacobs said. "I made the sacrifice of coming in 173 and paying a hefty fine for it, but end of the day, I made sacrifices. I got the short end of the stick, but to my fans, to all my [cancer] survivors out there who appreciate me and my story, for what I represent, I thank you. The journey is not over. I continue to strive for success and be the best I can be."
Jacobs claimed the vacant IBF belt via a split decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October of last year at Madison Square Garden. There were moments in the bout in which Jacobs switched between conventional and southpaw stances. Jacobs obtained minimal success. When Jacobs fought left handed, he managed to take away Canelo’s potent left hook to the body. But Canelo made the brilliant adjustment of shooting the straight right hand down the middle to Jacobs’ midsection. Immediately after turning righty, a Jacobs flurry finally backed Canelo up and proceeded to land more shots in the seventh round.
In the latter half of the fight there were several fierce back-and-forth actions in which both fighters landed solid punches during some good exchanges. Although Jacobs managed to land a big left hook in the ninth round, it was Canelo that appeared to stun Jacobs in the championship rounds.
Jacobs’ right eye was beginning to swell by the 10th round, but he fought on with great valor and courage. Jacobs hit Canelo with some big shots, but rarely if at all ever hurting him. There was a spot in which Jacobs backed Canelo against the ropes but failed to capitalize. Jacobs pity patted, which was extremely ineffective. Both fighters fought hard in the 12th round, leaving it all in the ring.
Canelo has a lot of options moving forward, he can fight Demetrius Andrade, if he decides on seeking to obtain the only title remaining in the middleweight division, which is the WBO belt. A third fight with Gennady Golovkin in September is a realistic option. (Assuming Golovkin gets by Steve Rolls in June) Lastly, Callum Smith is Canelo’s super middleweight mandatory opponent. Canelo has expressed an interest in fighting in the United Kingdom.
Canelo didn’t call anyone out in the post-fight press conference. He opted to enjoy his moment of triumph.
"I’m just looking for the biggest challenge. That’s all I want. No, for me, it’s over," Canelo said regarding a third fight with Golovkin. "But if the people want another fight, we’ll do it again, and I’ll beat him again. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I was born for, to fight, to defend what’s mine. I’ll fight anyone."
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy