There was no miracle today.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (52-1-2) was pushed, more than most assumed he would be, but ultimately came out on top in a hard-fought 12-round middleweight battle with Daniel Jacobs (35-2-0) on Sunday (AEST).
Alvarez earned the unanimous decision win (115-113, 115-113, 116-112) against his American opponent — the 4-1 underdog — who pushed him all the way.
“It’s just what we thought; we knew he was going to be a difficult fighter,” Alvarez, who will now add Jacobs’ IBF belt to his WBA (super) and WBC titles, said post-fight.
And it was difficult.
The opening rounds were too close to call, before Alvarez’s power and movement started to take over in the middle rounds.
There was little love lost between the two, who — before the fatigue kicked in — seemed to receive a jolt of energy with every 10-second warning; some late strikes and verbal exchanges dominating the early proceedings.
Alvarez, in the second fight of his 11-fight, $US365 million DAZN deal, outworked his opponent, who switched between a southpaw and orthodox stance throughout.
Jacobs, the ‘Miracle Man’, landed enough to scare the pro-Canelo crowd in T-Mobile Arena — including one monstrous left hook in the ninth — but Cinco de Mayo weekend was never going to be ruined by the chin of the Mexican champion.
Rounds 9 and 10 opened the door for something special for Jacobs, who famously overcame cancer to get to where he is, but ‘Canelo’ turned it on in the 11th and 12th to end any hopes of what would have been a massive upset.
In truth, the scorecards could have looked quite different; it was a fight that had the potential to go either way.
Jacobs reportedly lost out on approximately $US1 million after failing to make fight-day weight, and did look the bigger fighter next to Alvarez.
“I feel accomplished, I feel great,” Jacobs, whose only previous loss came against Gennady Golovkin, said.
“I have to go back and look at the tapes to see exactly what the judges thought. But I kept in conversation with my corner in the breaks. They said to me that I was up, so I was still pushing forward because I wanted to finish strong.
“But he’s [Canelo] a tremendous champion. I take my hat off to him.”
What’s next is the biggest question now for Alvarez, who could look to add Demetrius Andrade’s WBO belt to his collection, or go toe-to-toe with Golovkin for a third time.
“I’m just looking for the biggest challenge,” Alvarez explained.
“That’s all I want. I want the biggest challenge — I want that to be my next fight.”
Alvarez, when pressed on any ‘unfinished business’ with Golovkin, added: “No, for me we’re done. But if the people want another fight, we’ll do it again, and I’ll beat him again.”
AUSSIE’S TITLE SHOT
Australian Bilal Akkawy suffered a tough third-round defeat at the hands of John Ryder in their interim WBA super middleweight title showdown.
Akkawy, a late injury replacement, was dropped twice in the third, before the referee was forced to step in and stop it — the first loss of his career.
Canelo Alvarez def. Daniel Jacobs — via unanimous decision
Vergil Ortiz Jr. def. Mauricio Herrera — via 3rd round KO
Joseph Diaz Jr. def. Freddy Fonseca — via 7th round KO (towel thrown)
Lamont Roach Jr. def. Jonathan Oquendo — via unanimous decision
Anthony Young def. Sadam Ali — via 3rd round TKO
John Ryder def. Bilal Akkawy — via 3rd round TKO
Aram Avagyan def. Francisco Esparza — via unanimous decision
Alexis Espino def. Billy Wagner — via unanimous decision
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