Canelo vs. Jacobs: Industry experts' predictions on who wins middleweight title unification fight

Sporting News
Who will emerge victorious between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs? Sporting News talks with some boxing experts for their takes.
Who will emerge victorious between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs? Sporting News talks with some boxing experts for their takes.

Boxing kingpin Saul "Canelo" Alvarez returns to the ring for the second time in five months on Saturday night (May 4), when he puts his WBA (Super) and WBC middleweight championships on the line against IBF champion Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight title unification bout, live and exclusively on DAZN.

Boasting a 51-1-2 record, including 35 knockouts, Alvarez became a three-division world champion his last time out, stopping Rocky Fielding in the third round to capture the WBA (Regular) super middlweight title. Alvarez has defeated former world titleholders such as Shane Mosley, Amir Khan, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Gennandy Golovkin in his illustrious career.

Jacobs sports a 35-2 record with 29 KOs. He is a two-time middleweight champion, having won the IBF belt in his previous bout, as he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko by split decision back in October. Jacobs has defeated world titleholders such as Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax and Ishe Smith.

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Many boxing pundits and fans believe Jacobs presents the toughest challenge in Alvarez's historic career.

Sporting News spoke with some boxing experts to discuss who comes out on top in boxing's best fight in the first half of 2019.

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Who wins? Canelo or Jacobs?

Dan Rafael, To me this is the best fight that has been made so far this year. Excellent match that should be highly competitive, but the judges love Canelo and the same judges who gave him a close decision over Gennady Golovkin in September are also judging this fight.

Pick: So, my pick is Canelo Alvarez by another close decision that some will view as controversial.

Mike Coppinger, Boxing Insider: Alvarez can fight in a variety of ways, making him so hard to contend with. There’s nothing he can’t adjust to, though I do expect Jacobs’ length and ability to turn southpaw to trouble Canelo. We know Alvarez is tough to edge on the scorecards, so Jacobs will need to show off his vaunted power.

Pick: Canelo Alvarez wins via decision

Diego M. Morilla, The Ring en español: A lot has been said about Daniel Jacobs and his ability to defy the odds, and most of it is true. But when it’s all said and done, it will all come down not to his ability to overcome adversity, but rather to his ability to rise to the challenge and put on a truly dominating performance. That’s where Jacobs has always fallen short. There was no reason for him not to beat Golovkin after the kind of performance he seemed capable of, and yet he simply failed to make that final push. Just as there was no reason for him to be stopped by Dmitry Pirog in what was supposed to be his graduation night back in 2011.

It’s not his ability to come back from the brink of defeat what matters, it’s his capacity to exploit his full potential in career-defining fights what has defined him so far. And against a prime, hungry and determined Canelo, he will need much more than a miracle to finally rise to the occasion. After a steady stream of punishment for the better part of the first half, Canelo will finally break through to score a dominating stoppage or a decisive decision in his favor.

Pick: Saul Alvarez KOs Daniel Jacobs in the 10th round.

Thomas Gerbasi,, and It took me 54 fights, but finally, in fight 54, I became a Canelo Alvarez believer. I always saw him as an above average fighter, but in his rematch with Gennady Golovkin, he took things to a new level. Regardless of how you saw the final decision, there is no disputing that Alvarez stood in the pocket with Golovkin and made him fight his fight. That doesn’t just take skill; it takes confidence, and I believe confidence – not arrogance – will take him past Danny Jacobs this weekend. Now, as a New Yorker, picking against Jacobs is blasphemy, but Danny has a tendency to keep things too close, and a close fight goes in Alvarez’ favor every time. If Jacobs can get an early lead or even win the rounds that he does in the first half of the fight in a dominant fashion, this could be a different fight down the stretch. But Alvarez isn’t a guy who is easy to dominate and as long as he has his way, he’s going to get more confident, gain momentum and win a decision.

Pick: Canelo Alvarez by decision.

Jonathan Snowden, Bleacher Report: Jacobs has a tough task in front of him. He has to convince three judges that he's a better man than Canelo Alvarez. Gennady Golovkin couldn't manage that in two tries, despite a pair of brilliant performances. That will no doubt weight heavily on Danny's mind. If he follows a smart plan, staying mobile, jabbing, avoiding Canelo's relentless body attack, he'll have a real chance. Unfortunately, those tactics may not win him much love from the judges. My guess is that he will be overly concerned with the battle outside the ring he has no control over and rush right into a Canelo counter shot. A right hand will sit him down in round eight.

Pick: Canelo Alvarez by eighth-round knockout.

Kelsey McCarson, and Alvarez is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He's an amazing combination puncher with excellent footwork and solid power. Against Jacobs, he'll admittedly be in some pretty deep waters. But Alvarez swims in such just about every time he fights, and he always seems to stay afloat. While Jacobs is taller and remarkably skilled, Alvarez's harder and cleaner punches will eventually wear on him as the fight progresses. I like Alvarez by decision in a bout the judges score pretty wide for the younger, stronger champion. Alvarez will throw more power punches because that's how professional prizefights are won. Jacobs will rely mostly on the jab.

Pick: Canelo Alvarez by decision.

Carlos Toro, On paper, this might be the best middleweight fight that doesn’t involve Gennadiy Golovkin. Jacobs’ power, reach and height will certainly give Canelo something to deal with, at least in the early portion of the fight. It should also be noted that Jacobs gave Golovkin a very tough test back in 2017, so anyone completely dismissing Jacobs’ chances of beating Canelo does so at their own risk.

Aside from Golovkin, Jacobs will be Canelo’s toughest test in the last few years. But I believe Canelo is the better all-around boxer and the way he’s been performing as of late, in the rematch against Golovkin and against Rocky Fielding last December, is on a whole different level compared to the rest of the 160-pound division. Jacobs is going to provide Canelo some trouble in the early going, but I think the Mexican star will adjust in the middle rounds and start to dominate in the second half of the fight. Given Canelo’s incredible skills and the fact that this fight is taking place in Las Vegas, I predict Canelo will win by unanimous decision in an action-packed bout.

Pick: Canelo Alvarez by unanimous decision.

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