By Sean Jones: Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions says Saul Canelo Alvarez must pressure IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs this coming Saturday night to defeat him in their unification fight on May 4th on DAZN at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. De La Hoya at one time used to promote the New Yorker Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), and he knows the type of style that gives him problems.
The short 5’8″ Canelo has no choice but to pressure the much taller 5’11 1/2″ Jacobs in this fight. The size difference between the two fighters is extreme. If WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo (51-1-2, 35 KOs) lets Jacobs stand on the outside and jab him all night long, he’s going to get embarrassed worse than he was in his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his loss to the boxing great in 2013. It doesn’t matter that Canelo is fighting in his favorite venue at the T-Mobile Arena. If the Jacobs out-boxes Canelo and loses a controversial decision, the Mexican star is going to be a laughing stock, and the judges are going to be ridiculed even worse than the set of judges that gave Canelo a draw in his first fight against Gennady Golovkin at the T-Mobile Arena in 2017. Jacobs is in a strong position to get the win on Saturday based on his size, talent and the scrutiny the judges are going to be under from the boxing public. The set of judges that have been selected for the Canelo vs. Jacobs fight are the same set of three that worked the Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch last September.
“He is a champion who knows how to box, has a big heart, when he wants to fight, he knows how to fight, tie and fight, push you back, he has everything, but one thing he does not like is to be pressured,” De La Hoya said to ESPN Deportes in talking about Jacobs. “Canelo has to press him, he has to go to the front but pulling combinations, working to the body…Canelo has to push him back and throw a lot of punches,” De La Hoya said.
It’s true that Jacobs doesn’t like being pressured. We saw the success Dmitry Pirog, Golovkin, Maciej Sulecki and Sergiy Derevyanchenko had when they pressured Jacobs. However, what Jacobs has going for him on Saturday is the Canelo’s bad knees, and limited height. He doesn’t cover ground as well as Sulecki, GGG, Pirog and Derevyanchenko. Those guys are taller than Alvarez, and have a better set of wheels. They were able to pressure Jacobs because of their height, and strong legs. Canelo has short legs, and a bad knee, and he’s going to be dependent on Jacobs being stationary for him to be able to land his shots. The reason Canelo had success against GGG in their rematch last September is because the Kazakh star would back up to the center of the ring and stand immobile from that spot, letting Alvarez work his way to the inside where he would land his body shots. Jacobs isn’t likely going to make the same mistake. He’ll in circles the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. did in his one-sided win over Alvarez, and he’ll make it hard on him to land his shorter punches.
As short as Canelo is, he has to press the taller Jacobs if he wants to win this fight. Jacobs is too tall for Canelo to stand on the outside and hope that he can win the fight. There’s a MONSTROUS difference in size between the two fighters. When the two fighters stand next to each other, it looks like they belong in different weight classes. It doesn’t matter how heavy Canelo is. He’s too short to beat Jacobs in this fight if he can’t get close enough to land his shots on a consistent enough basis to win rounds. Although Jacobs’ reach advantage is only three inches over Canelo, it’s still more than enough for him to keep him from landing if he chooses to use his height and reach to keep the Mexican star on the outside all night long on Saturday night.
“If he thinks he can knock out Canelo, let him try,” De La Hoya said about Jacobs.
Jacobs might choose to go for a knockout if he gets trapped into a situation where he needs to let his hands go. But it’s more likely than not that Jacobs will elect to use his size to jab Alvarez from the outside all night long in the same way that Mayweather did in his way victory over Canelo in 2013, and GGG in his dominating performance against him in their first fight. If Jacobs does choose to slug with Canelo, he’s got to flurry on him, because it doesn’t work to throw one or two shots. That doesn’t work against Canelo. The way to beat Canelo is to either dominate with jabs from the outside to take advantage of his limited height or to flurry on him with nonstop punches the way that Golovkin did in the closing seconds of the 12th round in their first, and the way that Liam Smith was doing in the early rounds of his fight against Alvarez in 2016.
James Kirkland had brief success against Canelo when he jumped on him early in throwing combinations in the second round of their fight in May 2015. But the safer way for Jacobs to beat Canelo is to stay on the outside and jab. If Canelo moves forward to try and close the distance, Jacobs needs to circle the ring the way Mayweather did. Of course, there’s no guarantee that judges will give Jacobs the decision over Canelo. As we’ve seen in the past, Canelo is hard to beat in Las Vegas. He’s fighting at the same venue that he was at for his two fights with Golovkin, and the same set of judges are working this Saturday’s Canelo-Jacobs fight as worked the second Canelo-GGG fight last September.
Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA chose not to have some or all of those three judges thrown out in favor of other judges for some reason. Whether that comes back to bite Hearn on the backside if Jacobs loses by a controversial decision remains to be seen. If he does lose, he may not get a second fight with the Mexican star. Canelo might choose to move on and face someone else. De La Hoya is doing a lot of talking about how Canelo has tons of options now, and he doesn’t have to fight GGG in a third contest in September unless he wins a world title before then, which obviously isn’t going to happen. If De La Hoya and Canelo are willing to walk away from the GGG rivalry despite the huge money and interest there is from the boxing world, then you can bet they’ll walk away from a second fight with Jacobs if the results of Saturday’s fight is controversial in favor of Alvarez.