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Canelo Alvarez unites middleweight belt with decision win over Daniel Jacobs

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (52-1-2, 40 KOs) entered the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and emerged with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Jacobs (35-3-0, 29 KOs) that unified three middleweight belts.

Alvarez used a multi-pronged strategy of aggressiveness, key body shots and good defence that neutralized Jacobs just enough produce 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113 from the judges.

“It was just what we thought,” Alvarez said afterwards. “We knew he was going to be a difficult fighter, but thank God we did things the right way, what we were going to do. It was just what we thought because of the style of fight that he brings but we just did our job.”

MMA Crossfire scored the fight 115-113 for Alvarez.

Jacobs failed to make his 24-hour post weigh-in limit of 170 pounds, coming in at 173 and will likely be fined $250,000 USD per extra pound from his reported $10 million USD purse.

“I thought it was an intriguing fight. I don’t think it was necessarily the war we thought we might get, but it was at times,” Jacobs promoter Eddie Hearns said in the post-fight press conference. “It was a high class fight, a high-level fight between two elite fighters. I thought Danny had a relatively poor first half of the fight and I thought he won the back end of the fight. I scored it 115-113 (for Canelo). I think he’ll kick himself a little bit but it’s easy to say but if he would have been a little more aggressive in the fight. He took some big shots, and so did Canelo. They both showed a great chin.

As expected, Jacobs was cautious for the first few rounds, and in effect gave away most of the first half of the fight on the scorecards. He did  have some good moments in the later rounds, particularly the eighth, ninth and tenth rounds. Both fighters took their shots well, but the problem was that Canelo dictated the fight from the beginning with his aggressiveness and ability to back off to thwart the “Miracle Man’s” timing.

Jacobs admitted afterwards that his body has been feeling the strain of making 160 pounds and may have “outgrown” the division.

“I didn’t feel any different. I’m just a naturally big middleweight. I made the sacrifice of coming in 173 and paying a hefty fine for it but at the end of the day, I made sacrifices,” Jacobs elaborated. “I got the short end of the stick, but to my fans, to all my survivors out there who appreciate me and my story for what I represent, I thank you. The journey is not over. I continue to strive for success and be the best I can be.”

“I think it’s something at him and Andre will talk about. I see him moving to 168,” Hearns added. “He’s had a brilliant run at 160. Obviously now with the landscape with Canelo potentially fighting GGG if that happens and Demetrious (Andrade) waiting in the wings with the undisputed fight. I think the time is right for Danny to move up to the 168 division now. I think it will be a new challenge. I think he will be a different monster there as well. If that’s what his team decides, I think it will be a wise move.”

Alvarez earned $35 million USD for the bout, part of a five year, 11-fight $365 millionUSD deal he signed with DAZN.

Canelo landed 188 of 466 total punches for a 40 per cent hit rate, while Jacobs landed 131 of 649 for a 20 per cent hit rate.

Now, that Canelo has unified the WBA, WBC and IBF belts, he has plenty of big fight options to consider. He can completely unify the middleweight picture by taking on WBO titleholder Andrade (27-0-0, 17 KOs). He can also take on Gennady Golovkin, who recently dumped his longtime trainer Abel Sanchez for Emanuel Steward protege Johnathon Banks, in a third big money fight.

This is assuming Golovkin gets by Steve Rolls June 8 at Madison Square Garden in a 164 pound fight and Andrade defends against Maciej Suleki June 29 in Providence, Rhode Island.

For now, it’s apparent Canelo Alvarez is sitting pretty in the 160 pound division.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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