Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the top fighter out of Mexico, is gunning for the top of the boxing world this year with the unification of all four major alphabet belts on his priority list.
Canelo already has the WBC, WBA, the Ring Magazine and the lineal middleweight championship in his possession following his legacy-securing win over Gennady Golovkin last year. Now, his next step is to annex the IBF middleweight championship currently owned by the “Miracle Man” Daniel Jacobs.
Veteran boxing writer Dan Rafael of ESPN considers the Alvarez-Jacobs Cinco de Mayo showdown on May 4 at T-Mobile Arena as the most significant fight on the boxing schedule so far this 2019. The result of this middleweight title unification bout will have huge ramification not only for the division but boxing in general, considering the caliber of the fighters involved.
Both signed by media giant DAZN, Canelo stands to earn more than the five-year, 11-fight, $365 million deal he inked last year, while Jacobs gets the highest paycheck of his career at $15 million.
Battle of Styles and Power
Canelo is without a doubt the favorite entering the match, but Jacobs poses a great threat to his mission of becoming the undisputed middleweight champion. Aside from his respectable record of 35-2 (29 KOs), the American has been on a roll with unanimous decision victories against Luís Arias of the United States and Maciej Sul?cki of Poland. Last October, Jacobs became a world champion again after edging Serhiy Derevianchenko of Ukraine via split decision to wrest the IBF crown.
Due to his style and physique, Jacobs presents a myriad of problems to a much shorter Canelo. He’s a 6-foot middleweight who moves like a featherweight with his quick feet and reflexes. His hand speed is impeccable too. He jabs with a purpose, creating separation from his opponent to set up his power punches. The tricky part is that he is capable of fighting either in orthodox and southpaw stance. Boxing experts consider Jacobs as an all-around fighter with a legit KO power.
On the other hand, Canelo is a punching machine with perhaps the meanest body shot in boxing. While Jacobs and Golovkin try to methodically beat down their opponents, the Mexican uses brute strength to overwhelm his foe. He steps in with a barrage of punches and waits for the perfect time to uncork his lethal right hook. For a counterpuncher, Canelo’s game is as devastating as it gets.
Still, it’s safe to say that the upcoming bout against Jacobs will be up there among the toughest fights in Canelo’s career. He personally admitted this fact in a recent press conference.
“It’s going to be a very good fight. I have a very good opponent in front of me who is going to be very difficult, very complicated in the first few rounds,” Alvarez said via ESPN. “But once I figure it out I’ll be fine.”
The Undisputed Dream
Should Canelo go on to beat Jacobs and capture the IBF title, the next step for him to become the undisputed champion is to face undefeated WBO champion Demetrius Andrade (27–0, 17 KO), who is a former Olympian and world champion at an amateur level.
Then, there comes a surplus of challengers in the middleweight class. Former WBO title-holder Billy Joe Saunders (26–0, 12 KO) will be facing Shefat Isufi for the WBO super-middleweight belt this April, yet the possibility of him facing Canelo remains very high since the Mexican also holds the WBA regular super-middleweight crown. The Charlo Brothers, especially the undefeated and interim WBC champion Jermall Charlo (28–0, 21 KO) is another intriguing opponent for Canelo.
Of course, who would object the idea of a third showdown between Canelo and GGG? Multiple news sources reported that Golovkin is expected to sign with DAZN ahead of a planned trilogy with Canelo. Golden Boy Promotions chief Oscar De La Hoya also believes fans deserve a third Canelo-GGG contest, saying it’s the best thing for the sport.