THOUGHTS – This is one fight if any to watch right now in all of boxing when it comes to all-around interchangeable skills, inside/outside match-ups, and the cat and mouse game with 2 high IQ boxers constantly shifting and making adjustments to keep the other off balanced. You may also see multiple occasions where each fighter makes his presence felt with their power in the midst of the Chess game to be orchestrated inside the ring, which should help to add to what I feel will be a memorable, solid , well rounded contest.
BREAKDOWN – The man at 160 that has the acclaim, the fame, and holds the hardware right now is LINEAL/WBA/WBC Middleweight World Champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (51-1-2, 35KO). What Canelo brings to the game is ultimately everything that is needed in the ring to establish a multilayered attack, and the freedom to make any type and style of adjustment towards whatever tactics are being used against him. I’ve come to admire Canelo in recent times due to his willingness to study and analyze his weaknesses, to putting in the work through his assessments to turn them into strengths. At one time, you could say that Canelo had two left feet, well he got his footwork together. He used to throw one shot at a time and take periodic gaps during rounds, now he is far more consistent in that area, and whatever defensive shortcomings he had prior, he completely overhauled his mechanics to become one of the shiftiest defenders in all of boxing today. The main key for Canelo in this fight is to try and get inside of Jacobs long jab to find his distance, break down the body of the taller Jacobs to bring him down to his size, to counter Jacobs whenever he sees his openings, and to prepare for whenever Jacobs may want to switch to southpaw, due to Daniel being a switch hitter, and fighting equally effective in each stance.
As for IBF Middleweight World Titlist Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs (35-2-0, 29KO), he has turned himself into a fantastic top level fighter, though he may be a half step behind Canelo in the skill department, however he is the taller man, with the longer reach advantage, and the discipline to stay home and know how to use his gifts to his advantage. The question that always pops up in boxing is “does size really matter in the ring?” it does, whenever your opponent is vulnerable in a few areas and you are aware of how to use your arsenal to exploit it. Though Canelo doesn’t have any faults at this stage, Jacobs height and reach gives Canelo a conundrum that nullifies one part of Canelo’s all-around arsenal, and that’s his ability to fight outside. This fight he will have to exclusively fight middle distance, also picking and choosing his spots to get inside and do work, so just by sheer dimensions alone, Jacobs compromises Canelo enough to even up the playing field for this fight. The key for Jacobs in this bout is to keep Canelo at the end of his jab, use the ring and constantly shift directions to keep Canelo reactive to his movement. The one thing that worries me about Jacobs is that his one and only weakness is that his punches tend to get wide whenever he exchanges in combination, often chopping down at the target instead of shortening his punches, and with Canelo being the best counter-puncher in boxing, he could exploit that weakness big time. Because that is Canelo’s best attribute, along with his shifty upper body movement defensively, Jacobs needs to keep his lead shoulder up and fire the stiff jab down to Canelo’s chest for a better result, and to be in better position to guard against the counter-punch both downstairs and over the top with his arm positioning. Doing these things, as well as refraining from getting into the exchanges should help out big time for Jacobs in trying to get the upper hand.
COMPARISON – Looking at the type of skill-sets that each of these fighters have, the height/reach comparisons in relation to their opponent, and the overall styles they fight with, the closest historical comparison I can come up with for this one is Emile Griffith versus ‘El Feo’ Luis Rodriguez (PICTURED BELOW), most notably their 2nd and 3rd fights of their trilogy.
Griffith in this case would be the role that Canelo would fill, trying to outwit and out-skill his taller opponent mid distance and coming forward with a wide bag of tricks while Jacobs would be in Rodriguez role of sticking and moving, peppering with the jab, and relying on his outside boxing skills to utilize to his full advantage. Much like how those 2 fights mentioned went is how I expect to see the fight play out.
I will pick Canelo in a very close type of fight on a “Reasonable Scope of Credible Judging”. The reason why I stated it this way is that there are always scoring controversies when it comes to Canelo in ALL of his biggest fights in his career. It is for that reason why you may see a close fight like I’m predicting, that may result in 117-111 type of scorecards, which is why I am only predicting what we may possibly see here, not what the scorecards indicate. With that in mind, there is also an added pressure for Daniel Jacobs to either knock Canelo out, or completely dominate him in a way where he doesn’t have to worry about any scoring verdicts, due to his concern over what has proceeded in the past in this area, which could harm Jacobs if he over-presses with the action, but that’s the type of ☁️cloud that hangs over his head, and that’s what he will have to deal with. This is one prediction I would like to be wrong with, due to Jacobs being one of my 3 favorite current fighters, but we do unbias coverage and assessments here at Project Combat. All things considered, I look forward to this highly skilled contest.
🥁|| MY PREDICTION – 🏆🇲🇽Canelo Alvarez Wins via Split-Decision Victory within a Credible Outlook, Whether it Shows Up on the Actual Scorecards or Not (“115-113 SD CANELO”).