In two months, Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs will fight for the unified middleweight belt at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It’s a classic pugilistic tale. Canelo will enter May 4 with the WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring and lineal middleweight titles. The 5-foot-9 fighter from Guadalajara, Mexico has won belts at the welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight levels over the last decade of his 51-1-2 career.
Another boxer with a similar resume? Sugar Ray Leonard, who climbed the same classes to win a veritable smorgasbord of championships over his 20 professional years in the ring. Canelo (or “cinnamon” in Spanish) shares a literally sweet nickname, as well.
Jacobs possesses the height (nearly 6-foot) and reach (73 inches) to turn the Cinco de Mayo bout into a recreation of Leonard versus Thomas Hearns. When told of the comparison, the 32-year old from Brooklyn made another.
“It’s almost as if it’s Thomas Hearns versus Roberto Duran,” Jacobs said to Heavy Thursday. “That’s the outcome I’m looking for.”
The Hit Man knocked out the Panamanian champion in the second round back in 1984. Jacobs, the holder of the IBF middleweight belt, says he has the “power” necessary to replicate it.
“We both have high boxing IQ, but at this level, it’s really about the small things you can take advantage of and I try to do my very best at that,” he said. “There’s a lot of disadvantages (for Canelo) because he’s coming up from a smaller weight division. (He’s) truly not used to fighting big guys with athleticism and speed and power such as myself.”
One person who will admit that? Canelo Alvarez.
“We know his style is going to be very difficult, very complicated, but at this level, that’s what you have to face,” he said at Thursday’s press conference in New York. “We’re prepared, we’re going to train, and we’re going to work for whatever he’s going to bring.”
Jacobs didn’t know what the 28-year old from Mexico meant by “complicated.”
“I could probably say he means that the things I bring to the table aren’t things he’s used to seeing on a regular basis,” he said. “Knowing that I can switch, maybe is one of them. Having different looks and angles. I appreciate the honor and respect, but I look forward to being dominant.”
Jacobs’ trainer Andre Rozier provided a possible explanation.
“Danny could be very, very fleet-footed and very awkward,” Rozier told Sporting News. “And the worst part of it is, he could punch off of those moves, which makes him super dangerous because he is a puncher.”
The 35-2 Jacobs has only lost once since returning to the ring in 2011 after a battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. The lone blemish came against Gennady Golovkin (“GGG”) by unanimous decision on March 18, 2017.
Today, Jacobs exudes supreme confidence. In the early days of his recovery, his goals were more humble.
“I never knew how it was all going to pan out after the cancer situation,” he said. “Learning how to walk again and all these different things. It wasn’t assured (that I was coming back), so I had to go through (the recovery) before moving forward.”
He credited “the cancer community” at large for providing support throughout the last 8 years. He is trying to reciprocate the love.
“The cancer community is so broad that I’m representing so many different people,” he said. “So many people are rooting for me because they think of me as an inspiration.”
The native of Brownsville, one of the most economically depressed communities in New York City, comes from a community of elite fighters. Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Zab Judah all hail from Brownsville, as well.
Jacobs stated that the adversity faced every day in that neighborhood breeds resilient boxers.
“The fight to get out and be successful, find a better way and a better life, that’s why we produce so many different champions,” he said. “(It’s) because so many people are literally trying to fight their way out.”
The Canelo vs. Jacobs fight will be broadcast on DAZN. No start time has been announced at this time.