By Jake Donovan
Barely two months after conquering New York, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez took to the city that never sleeps to promote his next big adventure.
The reigning World middleweight king and unified titlist joined IBF 160-pount beltholder Daniel Jacobs in New York City last Tuesday for the first leg of a three-city press tour for their May 4 collision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The event will mark Alvarez’s second appearance on DAZN since joining the streaming platform last fall and by far the most attractive of any scheduled fight in 2019 to date.
“I’ve always liked big challenges,” Alvarez (51-1-2, 35KOs) stated of his next ring adventure. “This is no exception.”
Alvarez’s DAZN arrival came in the wake of HBO’s exit from the boxing game after more than 45 years in service, a move which prompted Alvarez to look elsewhere for a new televised home. His stance as the leading attraction in the North America boxing market wasn’t at all lost on DAZN, who emptied the vault in presenting him with an overall package worth at least $365 million over five years, the richest long-term contract in sports history.
The first fight to kick off the partnership came last December, when Alvarez stopped England’s Rocky Fielding in three rounds to claim a secondary super middleweight title. The event doubled as his DAZN debut as well as first career fight at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. Both instances were enough for fans to give him a pass on the opponent, especially while boasting a second-to-none career résumé.
That said, the next fight had to be a significant upgrade. True to his history, Alvarez didn’t disappoint in agreeing to a unification clash with Jacobs (35-2, 29KOs).
“Canelo was born for these types of challenges and to win these challenges,” said Chepo Reynoso, Alvarez’s longtime manager and trainer. “May 4 won’t be any different.”
The, event itself might not carry the same magnitude as his pair of battles with Golovkin, his historic Nov. ’15 meeting with Cotto—becoming the first-ever Mexican boxer to win the lineal middleweight championship—and his epic Sept. ’13 blockbuster with Floyd Mayweather—his lone career loss.
What it does represent, however, is Alvarez’s consistently embracing the toughest challenges. Few if anyone in boxing can match his résumé this decade.
In Jacobs, the 28-year old Mexican icon will be a significant height and reach disadvantage, not to mention the challenge that comes with facing a natural middleweight who walks around naturally larger between fights.
The Brooklynite has carved out a heck of a career, twice capturing alphabet titles all coming after having recovered from cancer. His lone defeat since returning to the ring in 2012 came in a narrow points loss to Golovkin, a March ’17 affair which many have argued should have gone to Jacobs.
Three wins have followed, including a 12-round nod over training stablemate Sergiy Derevyanchenko to win a vacant middleweight title last October.
“We know what Daniel Jacobs brings: his ability, his qualities, his talent,” notes Alvarez, who makes the first defense of his second reign as World middleweight champion. “He knows how to move well in the ring. We’ll do what we always do to prepare ourselves to the fullest and to give the fans a great fight. This is not going to be an exception and we’re going to come out with our hands raised.
“We know his style is going to be very difficult, very complicated, but at this level, that’s what you have to face. We’re prepared, we’re going to train, and we’re going to work for whatever he’s going to bring.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox