Cinco de Mayo 2019 will be a champion vs. champion affair as Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBA/WBC/Ring Magazine titles against IBF champion Daniel Jacobs on May 4.
Today’s surprise announcement comes a week after Oscar De La Hoya proclaimed he had “marching orders” from Canelo to make a rubber match with rival Gennady Golovkin, who Canelo beat by a narrow majority decision last September. But after recent insinuations from Golden Boy president Eric Gomez that Golovkin negotiations were going bad, Canelo appears content with the new challenge Jacobs presents.
“I will unify my middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs on one of the two most important dates that belong to me,” said Canelo. “I have no doubt that I will be victorious and that I’ll be one step away from becoming the undisputed middleweight world champion. And what better way to watch it than on as tremendous a platform as DAZN.”
Since losing a close decision to Golovkin in March 2017, Jacobs has reeled off three straight victories. He won the IBF strap in his last appearance, earning a split decision over then-undefeated Sergiy Derevychenko. In his post-fight interview, he expressed interest in one opponent — Canelo Alvarez. Now, that dream is a reality.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. The opportunity to achieve greatness inside the ring,” said Jacobs. “I have always believed I can beat Canelo, and on May 4 live on DAZN, I will get my chance to play it out. It’s been nearly four years since Canelo has faced an American challenger. It’s going to be a huge event where I believe I will cement myself as the best middleweight in the division.”
While an official announcement is pending, the expected venue will be Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, home to three of Canelo’s last four fights.
Nothing but respect for this move. Yes, Canelo and GGG have unfinished business. But Canelo needs to tangle with the other young guns (Jacobs, Charlos etc.) to truly stake his claim as the best middleweight. And with Jacobs holding the IBF belt, it’s really a no-brainer to make this fight. Jacobs signing a three-fight deal with DAZN was icing on the cake.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if Jacobs wins, he certainly has an uphill climb. Namely, the defensively lapses he’s had since the GGG fight cannot happen against fast counter-puncher like Canelo. And lingering on the inside and trading like he did with Sulecki would be suicide.
Still, we can possibly dismiss Jacobs’s recent struggles as fighting down to his competition. I fully expect him to raise his game against Canelo knowing this is potentially his only shot to take down the game’s most popular fighter. The elephant in the room is if Jacobs can raise his game enough to convince the Vegas judges.