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PREDICTION PAGE: Canelo vs. Jacobs, Who Wins and How?

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Guess time…

Informed by your time spent watching high grade prize fighters face off…by the rounds you’ve seen Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs fight…time to furnish your guess on who will win, and how, in Canelo vs. Jacobs.

Canelo Alvarez comes in the favorite, and Jacobs is seen as a live dog, but since he’s not bowled people over his last three fights, the Mexican is seen as the likely victor. 

That’s a very general overview of perceptions about this middleweight unification, which will play out at T-Mobile, and on DAZN. 

Let’s get to some more specific takes, from the NYF squad and a couple guest analysts.

Abe Gonzalez: “Canelo Alvarez, whether people want to admit it or not, is fighting at a elite level in boxing. With that being said, Jacobs will give him some different looks and something to think about early in the fight. Once we reach those middle to late rounds, those elite level skills of Alvarez will come into play as he will use smart head movement, counter to the body and head while avoiding any traps laid by Jacobs. With Jacobs probably winning a good chunk of the early rounds, in the end, Canelo will have his hand raised with a decision victory.”

John Gatling: “Damn. Canelo vs. Jacobs is one of those times where I had to reach for a bottle of scotch. This one just makes your chest burn. It makes sense that it’s a 12 round affair that ends in a hotly contested decision that many feel could’ve gone either way, and one that winds up going to Canelo because of a massive, partisan crowd that swayed the judges unfairly. Fuck that. I didn’t come all the way to Vegas for the expected without expecting the unexpected! I know Canelo is far better than that fighter against Shane Mosley, and infinitely more mature than the fighter against Austin Trout who was the same fish Floyd Mayweather hooked. I also know that Jacobs will be a far bolder Erislandy Lara in spirit, absolutely not wanting the fight to go the distance, while keeping the memory of what slipped away against Gennady Golovkin in his grasp. I think “that common fighter” propels greatness out of this fight, and that those extra 12 phone booth-like rounds with Triple G has provided a resolve in Canelo, that will allow him to eventually change a fight he’s losing. He’s the one between them with a singular game changing punch. Jacobs beat a generic Canelo in old mate Sergey Derevyanchenko, who’s similar in physical constitution– but not in talent. Canelo via dramatic 11th round TKO.”

Alden Chodash, The Fight City: “Canelo vs. Jacobs has all the makings of a technical war, similar to Canelo-GGG and Canelo-Cotto. Jacobs brings a lot of the athleticism to the table that GGG doesn’t, and certainly has the punching power to keep Canelo on his toes. However, what we haven’t seen from Jacobs on the biggest stage is the ability to elevate his game to the highest level. Against GGG, he had the then unbeaten Kazakh in an uncomfortable position for much of the middle rounds, yet couldn’t crank it up to another level and close the show. I expect Canelo to start slow and maybe drop some of the early rounds, but ultimately close the distance and start to carry the fight in the latter rounds, maybe even hurting Jacobs in some of the exchanges. I am picking Canelo by a competitive but clear-cut unanimous decision, by about 116-112 type margins.”

Not many folks picking Jacobs to upset Canelo. Pic by Amanda Westcott

Not many folks picking Jacobs to upset Canelo. Pic by Amanda Westcott

Josh Friedman, Sirius producer: “I agree with Gerry Cooney. Heart is with Jacobs. Brain is with Canelo.”

Jonathan Leir: “Contrary to popular belief, I think Daniel Jacobs’ advantage in size could play towards the benefit of Canelo. If he tries to lean, come inside or bully, Canelo won’t be intimidated and may encourage the spacing to allow for his precision in the pocket. Daniel is good at lots of things in my opinion. Not great at any one thing. It’s Vegas. It’s Cinco De Mayo.  Canelo by Unanimous Decision.”

Kelsey McCarson: “I’m picking Alvarez by decision. Jacobs is a very good middleweight, and he deserves this big fight. But Alvarez seems to get better every single time out, and he wins this fight with precise, hard combinations. It should be a very close and competitive fight, with Alvarez winning the championship rounds.”

Gabe Oppenheim: “Canelo by UD. Daniel will take a beating. I’ve no doubt he’ll land some, but I see Adelaide-esque scorecards for Canelo — but justly this go-round. Jacobs hasn’t faced anyone as sharp as this Canelo is in ages. He’s an old 32. The oddest sensation is my seeing exactly what Golden Boy did with Canelo, realizing it was the right move and being disappointed as a result. They kept Canelo at junior-middleweight or away from big middleweights for just long enough so that when he arrived, the division was his to own. I don’t see anyone at 160 who can beat him right now — he defeats Jacobs, GGG, Andrade comfortably enough. And he’d blow everyone else out (Horn? Lemieux? Brant? Please).

That said, if the top four rumble and Canelo puts on real displays — if he breaks down to the body guys who are bigger — it’ll be entertaining enough, sensational enough, to command my attention and praise. A streak of UDs would be a bummer.”

Robbi Paterson, analyst, based in Scotland:  “As is the case with a monster fight taking place in Las Vegas, the cash cows—this time it’s Canelo—are usually a handful of rounds up before a round is even in the bank. Not always the case, though, as De La Hoya found out against Trinidad in ‘99 and four years later when he rematched Mosley. But such cases are few and far between. We can safely presume the higher and longer-armed Jacobs will pop his fists at distance for the majorty of the fight, to make the teak-tough Canelo pick up his feet and follow him around. Not ideal for the flame-haired Mexican when it comes to getting his own way, with a YouTube visit required for those who doubt such a claim. Mayweather, Lara, and the eventually knocked-out Khan, all gave Canelo issues with their gliding movement and point-scoring punches.

For Jacobs to iron out any doubt, he must stay ahead of Canelo in terms of punch output, especially if he uses his jab as his bread-and-butter weapon, which in turn might just make the judges award for him rather than the other way around. That said, variation will be needed, too, particularly fully committed straight right hands. Being busy is one thing, variety is another. While Jacobs might be ok-ish at times on the inside, it’s a zone where he’d be handing over the reigns, for Canelo to shine with those compact, up and down bursts. Faced with a stationary target, there ain’t much better around than Canelo when it comes to razor-sharp punch placement. Therefore, Jacobs must keep on the move, lead off, turn his foe to change direction, then counter the counters in return. It’s a tough assignment for Jacobs. Can he do it? I say, no, he’ll lose via non-controversial decision, after a gallant effort. And he better pray his durability is as mean as it’s ever been, because if anyone is being stopped, it’s him.”

Tom Penney: “I’ll go out on a limb, sure.  Jacobs is going to conjure the same will he had against Quillin (another fight in which he was a minor underdog) and stop Canelo some time in the later rounds. Jacobs isn’t a devastating puncher but he is incredibly well conditioned and has scored his share of stoppages late in fights. He’s also the most well-rounded of the middleweight stars. I look forward to being spectacularly wrong about this.”

David Phillips: “Let me start by saying no one loves Danny Jacobs more than me except maybe his kin. I don’t rule out a surprise here. Canelo takes rounds off and often fights in spurts.  He can sometimes run out of gas down the stretch. If Jacobs can weather the early rounds, I think a 115-113 decision for Jacobs is possible. HOWEVER, I think it’s more likely that Canelo eeks out a closer than expected decision over the underdog. Probably due to a knockdown in the early rounds – which will provide the margin for Canelo. I like both fighters, but I know who I’ll be pulling for.”

Jacobs says he can win if he is his best self on May 4. Amanda Westcott pic.

Jacobs says he can win if he is his best self on May 4. Amanda Westcott pic.

Jeremiah Preisser, The Grueling Truth: “There’s an issue saturating boxing’s landscape and it’s the lack of competitive matchups being made. You can’t file this fight under that complaint. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs represent something like the two best middleweights in the world squaring off, with Alvarez as THE champ and Jacobs placing #3. The latter is an arguable #2, however, given his nip-and-tuck affair with Gennady Golovkin a few years back. Triple-G has since aged, too.

The ginger-haired Mexican is judged as one of the world’s finest fistic practitioners, possessing quick hands, quality pop, well-oiled counter-punching skills, and a penchant for body punching. This is all rounded out by 54-fight seasoning. His problem lies in tracking down a fast-mover.

Brooklyn’s son Jacobs is likewise a well-rounded operator who can match Alvarez in the speed department but is more than a match when it comes to single shot power, swiftness of foot, and size. Jacobs has a large frame and will enter the ring with a four-inch height and three-inch reach advantage. His shortcomings are his shakier chin and a few defensive chinks.

What does that mean for May the 4th? What approach Jacobs takes is vital to his success. He can box cautiously and make Alvarez give chase, or he can be more aggressive and bang, like we saw against Peter Quillin. There are risks involved in each approach and the latter may be more dangerous, yet more rewarding. The former may end up working out, but it invokes the fear that hordes of hardcore fans have. That is, an attempt at a decision win is a fool’s errand when opposing Golden Boy’s golden pony.

There be no need for high drama, though, as Alvarez appears to be the slightly better boxer and his better sense of when to engage and when not to should secure him enough rounds to edge this out. I’m taking Alvarez by decision.”

Bruce Silverglade, owner, Gleason’s Gym: “Jacobs by unanimous decision.”

Johnny Wilds, ESPN Insider: “Canelo by close decision and it reminds fans that Canelo gets all close rounds- especially in Las Vegas.”

So…what about you? For those betting on boxing fights, are you inclined to take a flyer on Jacobs, believing that he will rise to the occasion?

Talk to me!

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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