If he’s anything like his namesake suggests on the Cinco de Mayo night of Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35KOs) will need an act of God to defeat IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29KOs), in the most anticipated fight of the year on DAZN.
Or will he?
NY Fights learned today that Tony Weeks will referee what’s expected to be a fierce battle of wills. But that’s not really an issue. The judging assignment of Dave Moretti, Steve Weisfeld and Glenn Feldman– the same trio who gave us Canelo/GGG II and an Alvarez verdict, may very well prove to be one. Throw in a 10lb rehydration clause and the Mexican icon’s homefield advantage of T-Mobile, where a partisan crowd will cheer on every missed shot thrown, and Jacobs just might need “The Miracle Man” that’s brought him to this stage.
Hell, we even learned today that Maverick Carter, business partner of LeBron James, just dropped off a pair of the lit new kicks “LeBron 16 Martin” at the San Diego training camp of Canelo, in time for the Tuesday premiere next week of the new docuseries “40 Days” for DAZN, which chronicles Canelo’s preparation for Jacobs on the historic Mexican holiday.
On paper, Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya and Matchroom Boxing promoter extraordinaire Eddie Hearn just might have the Fight of The Year. On film, Jacobs (whose surname translates to “God is my strength”, while his last name is an ode to Israel) would appear to epitomize pugilistic prophecy fulfilled, after climbing a tumultuous ladder filled with rungs of doubt. I caught up with “The Miracle Man” on Monday to find out that he doesn’t really believe miracles…he expects them.
“Is Canelo that much better now than when he fought Floyd?” I ask Jacobs during Monday’s international media conference call, while wondering how his spring 2019 edition of powerful grace, will augment Mayweather’s autumn 2013 acidic finesse. “I understand he’s definitely gotten a lot better, he was a lot younger then,” said @DanielJacobsTKO. “In my mind I will become victorious if I become my best self on that night.”
Numbers don’t lie. Multiple world champion Canelo Alvarez signed a staggering 11-fight, five year, $365 million dollar contract with DAZN that Jacobs is expected to help validate. Then, there’s the specter of Canelo V GGG III, a topic of discussion even as I was speaking with Jacobs; as questions bounced off the ears of long reigning middleweight king Gennady Golovkin at a gaudy New York City presser to announce his June 8 return against the unheralded Steve Rolls.
“Triple G” is making his own DAZN debut, and is expected to steam roll Rolls, presumably, paving the way for a trilogy with Alvarez. But what makes Cinco de Mayo so intriguing, is that unlike in years past, this is a [non-PPV] PPV-esque affair, owed to the platform of DAZN, which offers a free trial month and a $10 monthly fee thereafter. I personally have DAZN; relatively happy with the service and coverage provided on the platform as an admitted picky bastard of critical austerity. What I haven’t been able to do is gather data indicating a guesstimate as to how many subscribers exist on this much hyped streaming service, which now boasts some of the biggest names in boxing. But this much is clear: Jacobs, in front of millions currently unfamiliar with his ring exploits, is more than capable of presenting an alternate marquee reading “GGG Vs Jacobs II” or “Jacobs Vs Canelo II”, while potentially being associated with the kind of holy numbers to produce a PPV death knell for the likes of Top Rank/ESPN+ and Premiere Boxing Champions/Showtime.
Our own editor-in-chief, Michael Woods, asked Hearn, specifically, about his take on the PPV Goliath he and De La Hoya are trying to take down on the heels of the disastrous result of Terence Crawford V Amir Khan. Hearn didn’t mince words, informing us that he didn’t think an “away fighter” won a single round against Manny Pacquiao (vs Adrien Broner), Errol Spence Jr (Mikey Garcia) or Crawford, while pointing out that a UK PPV event is $25 as compared to $70 in the US. That’s huge. It just rolled right off of his lips like the truth does. It had all the requisite passion and voice inflection required to convince anyone listening that PPV can fly a fucking kite and dance with a hurricane. Maybe Jacobs will make Canelo do that, in LeBron James kicks or his own.
Given the Big Apple spectacle afforded to Crawford Vs Khan last week in Gotham, very sadly; it turned out to be a singular cash grabbing outing for the famously “Bud” smoking Bobfather Don, as fans and media alike left none too pleased. I don’t think that happens in Sin City. Then again, given the often times abusive nature of our hopelessly one-sided love affair with boxing, there’s always the very distinct possibility that a can of Lysol might come in handy. I mean, let’s face it folks, boxing has shown a proven proclivity (especially given the close stylistic mesh and recent big fight outcomes of both Canelo and Jacobs), to fuck things up. I just don’t think so here. It’s not like Bob Arum or Al Haymon didn’t mean well; it’s just that all too often, PPV cards don’t end particularly well, while finding a way to drain it. It just might be time for PPV to die, as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao certainly put it on life support.
Attempts of resurrection over the ensuing four years have been met with as many mixed reviews as DAZN has received over its initial year within boxing’s lexicon.
But one of them, either Canelo or Jacobs, may forever alter the course of how things are viewed (or not) on boxing’s day reserved for its Superbowl. Life has taught me that pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. Just as rival promoters may have wanted Khan to con Bud into a sucker punch, maybe ESPN or SHOWTIME wouldn’t mind seeing the bottom of Canelo’s soles to burn at the souls of DAZN. To which Daniel might quip, “What the fuck did you expect? I’m a miracle, man.”