Despite all the hype from DAZN, the fantastic production, and all those celebrities, Saturday Night’s main event pitting WBC and WBA middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and IBF middleweight champion Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs just ended up being in a word — underwhelming.
The fight was very technical, and it had its own unique sense of drama, but lacked a lot of two way, nonstop action that many hoped for, and which had been almost guaranteed by DAZN. In the end, the Mexican champion best known as Canelo was simply too skilled and hit too hard for Brooklyn’s Jacobs, who despite a solid performance never seemed to be in the fight.
Canelo mastered Jacobs early in with superior defensive work, moving well both at the waist and with his head, making Jacobs miss on punches all night. By the fourth round, Canelo had made Jacobs miss so many punches that the New Yorker seemed reticent to try to throw punches at all. As usual, Canelo’s best weapons were an effective left jab and body punches, both the left hook and the straight right, but Canelo was shockingly sparing with his offensive output. He averaged about forty-five punches thrown per round, much less than the usual middleweight, but because his defense neutered Jacobs’ offensive output, it was an effective strategy.
Jacobs didn’t do himself many favors especially in the first round, as he insisted on fighting predominately from the southpaw stance. He was able to land from that stance early, but it put him in position for Canelo’s right cross and seemed to take away his own big right hand. For the first two-thirds of the fight, however, Jacobs was either left following Canelo around, trying to land a big shot or pressed against the ropes, taking big bodyshots. For the first eight rounds, Canelo’s ring generalship controlled the fight.
The best rounds for Jacobs were rounds nine and ten, as he finally decided to fight from the orthodox stance and not allow Canelo to dictate the fight. Jacobs landed a big overhand right in the ninth, and another one in the tenth, but neither of these big shots or any that Jacobs landed seemed to bother Canelo, which was almost shocking considered Jacobs size was thought to be one of his advantages. Yet Canelo took his best shots and keep going.
With the fight seeming to tighten up, Canelo seemed to want to step up on the gas pedal in the last two rounds and probably had his best offensive output with his combinations in the 11th and 12th. Yet even in these rounds, Canelo never seemed to step on the gas pedal the way that he is capable of doing. Even thought Jacobs didn’t even seem to have the power to hurt him, Canelo never went for the knockout, and neither much to his discredit, neither did Jacobs.
In the end the scores were 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113, all for Canelo Alvarez. Fightbooth scored the fight 116-112.
Most media scoring the fight on Twitter seemed to score along the same lines, although many noted than many of the early rounds seemed close. But Jacobs’ inability to ever stun Canelo leads be to disagree. This was a rather dominant if uninspiring performance for Canelo, reminiscent in some ways of the later career of Floyd Mayweather. That could be concerning for Canelo’s Mexican fan base, which generally doesn’t like their fighters to move and counter their way to decisions. They want violence, blood, machismo, and knockouts.
Much has been said of the announcing for this fight, which was handled on ESPN and MLB network veteran Brian Kenny, former WBC 154 pound champ and original Contender champion Sergio Mora, and longtime Sports Illustrated boxing writer Chris Mannix. While they did favor Canelo throughout the fight, it is not out of the ordinary for commentary teams to favor “The A-Side” fighter, and the PBC announce teams are MUCH worse. It also seems clear that Canelo’s head movement and Jacobs inability to hit him flummoxed the announce team as much anyone. This wasn’t the fight that anyone expected. They wanted war. That isn’t what they got.
As for Canelo, it seems clear the only fight left for him at 160 pounds is a third fight for GGG, which is still the biggest fight for box office, and seems coveted by DAZN. Canelo might be ready for a move to 168 pounds, where he fought Rocky Fielding last December. He will have a lot more options and attractive opponents in that weight class, including the undefeated Callum Smith, which would be a stadium fight over in England.
For Jacobs, it is back to the drawing board, although after this performance, it seems clear that he is a level below the elite level of the middleweight division.