By Jake Donovan
Fighter A beats Fighter B, who in turn beats Fighter C. Therefore, Fighter A is a lock to beat Fighter C, right?
Danny Jacobs isn’t trying to hear any of that.
The two-time middleweight titlist is locked in for the biggest in-ring challenge of his career as he squares off with reigning World (lineal) champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Their May 4 clash will stream live on DAZN from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where Alvarez will headline for the fifth time in his career, all coming in his last seven starts beginning with his May ’16 knockout win over Amir Khan in the first-ever boxing event at the venue.
Alvarez’s most recent T-Mobile performance came last September, when he managed a narrow 12-round decision over Gennady Golovkin in their high-profile rematch. The two fought to a highly-questionable draw one year prior, which came one fight after Golovkin edged Jacobs in their March ’17 Madison Square Garden headliner.
The controversial draw with Golovkin aside, the only fighter to officially hang a loss on Alvarez is Floyd Mayweather, whom dethroned the reigning World super welterweight champion in September ’13.
Alvarez (51-1-2, 35KOs) is unbeaten in 10 starts since then, including his becoming a two-division world champion after unseating World middleweight king Miguel Cotto in Nov. ’15.
“If you understand in boxing that styles make fights, there’s no way you can’t just say that because he beat Gennady that he can beat me,” Brooklyn’s Jacobs (35-2, 29KOs) explained. “Gennady was bigger than him, and I’m bigger than Gennady and much bigger than (Canelo). I’m more of a threat of Canelo than he’s ever seen in the ring.”
His spirited performance versus Golovkin was just the latest of several admiring qualities and achievements which had caught the eye of Eddie Hearn, England’s leading promoter who at the time was looking to make his way into the U.S. market. Jacobs would become his first U.S.-signed fighter.
“When I saw him fight GGG, and that final bell sounded I thought, ‘Jacobs has done it. He’s come back from cancer and he’s won this fight,’” Hearn recalled of their memorable title fight. “It was a close fight but he didn’t get the decision.
“The (boxing) gods are gonna give him this win. They didn’t then, because they waited for this moment. I’ve never been so confident in a 50/50 fight, and that’s what this is. I believe on May 4 he will become the unified middleweight champion of the world.”
Jacobs has managed three wins since the loss to Golovkin, all of which have come under the Matchroom Boxing USA banner. The last one made him a two-time middleweight titlist, scoring a narrow victory over stablemate Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their fiercely-contested vacant title fight last October at Hulu Theatre on MSG grounds.
Now heading into the biggest event of his boxing career, he believes his presence represents the biggest challenge—literally—for his superstar opponent.
Of course, size alone didn’t matter at all in Alvarez’s last ring appearance. The Mexican icon crushed England’s Rocky Fielding in three rounds to claim a secondary title in his brief foray into the super middleweight division.
Any sensible boxing expert will note that Fielding—a hard-working boxer who managed to win a title last year—hardly poses the threat as does Alvarez’s forthcoming challenger.
“I’m not just the biggest fight he’s ever faced,” Jacobs notes. “It’s also my skillset that I bring to the ring.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox