LAS VEGAS, Nevada, May 3, 2019 – Whether you are a fan or not, give both Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs credit for taking on top challengers in their boxing careers. It should be a given, but sadly many talented fighters get to a certain level and hang on for dear life.
Alvarez of Guadalajara and now training in San Diego, California, (50-1-2, 34 KOs) defends his WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine world middleweight titles in a 12-round unification bout against IBF middleweight champion Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs of Brooklyn (35-2, 29 KOs) Saturday in Alvarez’s de facto home venue, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main event and televised undercards will air live on DAZN starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
In the lead up this week in Las Vegas, the level of fan excitement hadn’t risen to the pitch over the Golovkin fight series, or even Canelo’s eventual destruction of Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. It’s a mystery. This is arguably the best matchup with the greatest entertainment potential to date in 2019.
Approximately 3,500 fans came to see the Friday weigh-in, most there to see Alvarez. The weigh-in went smoothly, with all fighters making weight. Alvarez hit the scale at 159.5 pounds. Daniel Jacobs weighed in at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds even. These men are seasoned professionals and nothing less is expected of them.
Emotions boil over betweem Jacobs and Alvarez at weigh-in
But as soon as the weighs were recorded in the main event, the gloves came off. Unlike the lead up to last fall’s rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin, there has been little outward animosity expressed between Alvarez and Jacobs up until the weigh-in, although both men have expressed their confidence about their ability to win, and Jacobs has engaged in some good-natured call outs on social media.
This changed with tensions boiling over into pushing and shoving at the face off, followed by pointed comments including remarks directed at each other’s mothers, which we don’t print on this website in their entirety.
I’m from Brownsville. I’ve never run and I never run. Everything I do is for Brooklyn and the culture. This is the opp of a lifetime. I fele like I’m thr best MW in the world. That MF is gonna get it tomorrow Let’s go.
“Emotions are running high,” said Jacobs. “I’ve never backed down. I’m from Brownsville. I’ve never run and I never will. Everything I do is for Brooklyn and the culture … This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I fele like I’m the best middleweight in the world. That MF is gonna get it tomorrow,” declered Jacobs.
“He (Daniel Jacobs) is scared. I have nothing left to say. F*** his mother. This unification (fight) is special to me. I have this challenge in front of me and I will win. I hope he tries (to come to win), but he won’t win,”
“It’s never been in my character, my trait, to be offending fighters, talking bad about them,” said Alvarez. “What happened in the Golovkin fight was a reaction to everything they said and they did, and they talked about me. In this particular case the fans know we’re both going to go in that ring, give it 100 percent, give it our all, and provide a great fight.”
Earlier in the week, both fighters denied getting their hands dirty with this kind of behavior.
“Controversy sells but that’s not who I am,” said Jacobs. “That’s not where I came from. I’m not sure if that’s why I am not a household name, but I can’t concentrate on that.” Jacobs said he respects his opponent. “There are some controversial fights that he’s had that where I thought he lost, including both Golovkin fights. But I respect any man that has the courage to fight as this is a kill or be killed sport, but that’s where the respect ends.
“As far as getting in the ring with him goes, I want to be the victor. I want to take his head off and prove that I am the best gladiator in the world. That’s my true intentions so there’s no respect when it comes to that. But we’re both gentlemen and in my opinion, we’re great ambassadors for the sport. But take that away, and it’s going to be a blood sport in the ring,” declared Jacobs.
Alvarez continues to build on his skillset
Fight by fight, despite controversial decisions, Alvarez’ talent and skills are undeniable. Still just 28 years old, Alvarez says he learns and matures from every single fight. Over time, Alvarez developed improved defensive movement and punch selection to go along with his raw power. His body attack is underrated and underappreciated. Alvarez can also take a punch so well he fails to receive credit due for it.
Jacobs, ag 32, gave Golovkin his toughest fight to date, results be damned. It snapped a 12-fight stoppage streak. Since then, Jacobs hasn’t delivered another fight of equal quality, winning three bouts by decision, last a split decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. All three fights have been at home in New York.
Jacobs has the talent, and seemingly the drive. His backstory as a cancer survivor and a true medical miracle is intrinsic to Jacobs’ identity, but it does not completely define him. He is also a father and community activist, and a solid color commentator when called upon.
Jacobs fights on unfriendly turf Saturday, but he and his team have signed off on the judges and referee – with nary a Byrd in sight. Jacobs says he knows the crowd will be against him.
“Regardless of the fans rooting for Canelo or booing me, I take it and use it as fuel. I want people to chant, roar, raise the roof, it doesn’t matter if it’s for me or against me, I just want that energy in the arena to feed off, and that’s what I am expecting on May 4,” said Jacobs.
Trainers Rozier and Reynoso enjoy close relationships with their fighters
Jacobs says his training camp in New York has gone much like previous camps, save for sparring people similar to Canelo’s style. Jacobs’ long time trainer Andre Rozier, as much a father to him as a trainer, says now is his time.
“This is not something that’s just fallen into Danny’s lap as a gift. This is many years of hard work and dedication and now his moment is here. You train fighters to be ready for everything and anything you might get. You never know what Canelo might bring into the ring. He could show something new,” explained Rozier.
“He’s my baby, my boy. Danny showed early that he was elite and special. When he was afflicted with cancer, we thought we were going to lose him. God put his hand on him, kept him with us, and he started coming to the gym. Then, he had this huge brace on and he’d walk down the steps one and a time and the kids would help him. He’d do a little bit of shadow boxing and then a bit on the bag, and every day he would improve until he became a world champion. That’s why I believe that he’s still improving and will unify the titles.”
Alvarez shares a similar relationship with his trainers, the father and son team of Chepo and Eddy Reynoso, who have worked with Alvarez since he was a young teenager. We asked Chepo Reynoso if Alvarez has always followed his advice. “Yes, definitely. He listened, but not only listened, would always put it in effect, whatever the advice was. That’s what made him who he is today. He wants to, and he said it. He wants to be remembered as one of the greatest that ever boxed. That’s why he continues to learn, listen, and put it to play.”
Alvarez sees Jacobs as a complete fighter, but at his level he can adapt in the ring and overcome anything coming at him.
“Look, right now more than ever everybody wants to fight me, to beat me,” said Alvarez. “Obviously that’s the biggest thing for them. They want to come and beat me. We’re always exposed to that. In boxing anything can happen. That’s why today I train harder than ever, so that it doesn’t happen and we continue with victories and continue winning.”
Prediction: Expect anything, but don’t bet against the champion
The first few rounds will tell the story of Saturday’s fight. This is not going to be an easy puzzle for Jacobs to solve. He has two advantages he can deploy. First, Jacobs is likely to be the bigger man in the ring. Working with nutritionist and fellow professional boxer Chris Algieri is one of the smartest moves Jacobs has ever made. Algieri gets Jacobs in top shape and allows him to peak in size at the perfect moment.
Jacobs needs to be able to manage his size, move it and make it work for him. Alvarez can be a slow starter and Jacobs must take advantage of it. Jacobs faces an uphill battle on the scorecards no matter where he fights against Alvarez. He needs to be aggressive early, strike hard and strike fast before Alvarez gets his bearings. It will not be long before Alvarez adjusts to whatever is coming at him and starts to roll up the later rounds on the scorecards. If Jacobs isn’t ahead by the fifth round, he will only win if he gets a stoppage. While it’s possible, it’s a tall order.
Jacobs should also employ whatever bullying tactics he can within the rules and the leniency of the referee. Tiring Alvarez out if he can is smart and strategic – and necessary.
Given their records and level of opposition, it’s tempting to root for the Miracle Man, but it would be a miracle if he pulls off a victory against Alvarez. It might even be another controversial decision. Boxing fans always need something to argue about.
The Canelo vs. Jacobs event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
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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