LAS VEGAS, Nevada, May 4, 2019 – It might not have been the barnburner fight the 20.203 fans at the T-Mobile Arena craved as their Cinco de Mayo entertainment. But they missed something more impressive.
No matter though to the partisan crowd walked away into the Las Vegas bars and nightclubs happy with a unanimous decision victory by unified middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who proved too tricky a test for challenger Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs.
The Mexican superstar (51-1-2, 34 KOs) retains his WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine world middleweight titles. The three judges scored the fight 115-113 X 2, and 116-112 (Ringside Seat also scored it 116-112).
“It was just what we thought,” said Alvarez. “We knew he was going to be a difficult fighter but thank god we did things the right way, what we were going to do. It was just what we thought because of the style of fight that he brings but we just did our job.”
“It definitely took me a couple rounds to get my wits about me, to figure out his rhythm, because he’s a pop shotter,” said Jacobs. “He was a fast guy, very slippery. It was a great contest today, I look forward to the future. I feel like I gave enough tonight to get the victory, so I’ll have to go back to the tapes to see exactly what happened.”
Alvarez delivers defensive gem
Alvarez has never had to worry about his offensive output. The revelation on Saturday was how complete a fighter Alvarez has become. For boxing purists, he delivered a defensive gem, especially in the first half of the fight. Jacobs had a good first round as Alvarez assessed his opponent. From that point, Jacobs found himself completely frustrated as he tried to figure out how to get to Alvarez. Through a combination of reflexes, head and upper body movement, and footwork, couple with defensive blocking, Alvarez made himself nearly impossible to hit.
Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) decided not to try and stay under the 10-pound weight gain limit on Saturday morning, weighing in at a reported 173 pounds (the limit is 170). Alvarez hit 169 pounds. It cost Jacobs a fine of $1 million, a gamble Jacobs decided was worth taking. Later, Jacobs said “I didn’t feel any different. I’m just a naturally big middleweight. I made the sacrcifice, coming in 173 and paying a fine for it. At the end of the day this is boxing, you make sacrifices.” Jacobs was visibly the bigger man in the ring. It made no real difference.
Jacobs tried working from a southpaw stance. It presented Alvarez a different look, but he was able to adjust. “It’s normal,” said Alvarez. “It’s obviously just a matter of adapting when they switch rightie to leftie.” It also negated Jacobs’ power, and it retrospect it wasn’t the best tactical decision. As Alvarez kept landing the better shots rolling up round after round on the cards, Jacobs needed to take some chances.
“It wasn’t the war we expected… I think Jacobs will be kicking himself later” over the slow start, said promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Hearn says he expects Jacob to move up to super middleweight, and thinks it’s the right move for him.
Alvarez landed 188 of 466 punches through (40 percent), with 58 of those to the body. Jacobs threw more punches, 649, but landed just 131 of them (20 percent), and just 30 to the body.
Daniel Jacobs can’t leverage his size advantage
In round six, Jacobs started to get busier with his output, and he was more successful. For the first time in the fight, judges Dave Moretti, Glenn Feldmann and Steve Weisfeld all gave the round to Jacobs. In the seventh round, Jacobs landed his best punch of the fight, a left hook halfway through the round. Alvarez ate it well. Jacobs pushed Alvarez to the ropes with success. Jacobs paid taking a left hook to the head, but it was the kind of round he needed. Jacobs continued the effort in the eighth, making progress. Once again, Alvarez made Jacobs pay with hard left hooks to the head and body. It was by far the most exciting offensive round of the fight for both men, with the edge to Canelo.
Jacobs surely knew he’d need to take chances; a win on the scorecards was quickly slipping through his grasp, if it was ever a possibility. He pressed forward and took another round from all three judges, thanks to a sensational left hook, his best punch of the fight. For anyone who’s ever questioned Canelo’s chin, those questions were answered Saturday. “It was a hard shot, but no,” Alvarez said he wasn’t hurt. “I went to the corner, they asked me, it was no big deal, I just continued with my fight.”
As the tenth round opened, Jacobs appeared to stumble as if he knees were briefly giving way. It was fleeting; was it a clue? Jacobs started to appear tired, and Alvarez was also starting to slow down. Jacobs needed both the 11th and 12th round to have any hope of a draw. A stoppage would have taken a miracle from the “Miracle Man.”
The final round started with a fall by Jacobs due to a wet canvas, not the best way to start the final round. Both men gave it what they had left, with Alvarez landing straight rights and a beautiful right upper cut. At the final bell, many of the fans started to leave the seat, with the scorecards a mere formality.
Alvarez: ‘Looking for the biggest challenges’
Alvarez said he is eager to continue challenging himself, in whatever form it comes. “I’m just looking for the biggest challenge. That’s all I want.” With Gennadiy Golovkin present, would a third fight be a possibility? “No, for me, it’s over. 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.”
Jacobs didn’t hang his head over the loss. “I feel accomplished, l feel great. I have to go back to look at the tapes to see exactly what the judges thought … 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.”
Jacobs sent a message to his fans, especially his fellow cancer survivors. “To all my 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.”
With his son and biggest supporter Nathaniel alongside him in the ring, Jacobs said he asked his son, ‘do you think Daddy did a good job?’ He said, ‘yes Dad, you did a great job.’ That’s all that matters to me, I’ll go home and be the best I can be.” This is the true measure of Jacobs and the reason he is so admired.
In the end, Jacobs could not make full use of his size advantage. He didn’t take enough chances early to strike hard. Alvarez adjusts too quickly to whatever is coming at him. It’s the fans’ loss if they don’t appreciate the finesse and complexity of the Mexican champion’s performance.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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