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Hearn eager for Canelo vs. Jacobs negotiations to start

Image: Hearn eager for Canelo vs. Jacobs negotiations to start

By Dan Ambrose: According to Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn, negotiations between his fighter IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) and unified WBA/WBC champion Saul Canelo Alvarez will begin next week for a May 4 fight on DAZN at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If Hearn gets his way, Jacobs will be facing the 28-year-old Canelo in the first week of May on DAZN. Hearn says Canelo-Jacobs is the second best fight that can be made in the middleweight division, and that DAZN specifically wants this fight. There are so few appealing options for Canelo at 160, which you can argue is why Golden Boy Promotions are now looking at fighters from the 168 lb division for him to fight. The only popular fighter in the middleweight division is Gennady Golovkin, and Canelo just beat him. Jermall Charlo, Jacobs, Rob Brant and Demetrius Andrade aren’t popular enough fighters for Canelo to get boxing fans excited about him fighting any of them.

If Canelo and Golden Boy choose to go in another direction for the May 4th date, you would assume that it would be someone that is a bigger name than Jacobs. Canelo fighting David Lemieux at super middleweight has been rumored to be the Mexican star’s next fight for his fight on Cinco de Mayo on May 4th, but it’s unclear what the reaction would be from casual boxing fans in that kind of a fight. There won’t be much shock value for a Canelo vs. Lemieux fight.

Hearn is chomping at the bit, eager and ready to start putting a deal together with Golden Boy Promotions for the Canelo-Jacobs fight.

Hearn says Jacobs will be Canelo’s first opponent for 2019 followed by a trilogy fight against Gennady Golovkin for the Mexican star in September.

Of course, that’s if Canelo beats Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) on May 4. If Alvarez loses that fight, then he’ll be back inside the ring with Jacobs for a second bout in September. That would be an ideal situation for Hearn, because he needs Jacobs to beat Canelo to setup a big money rematch. There’s little chance that Canelo would walk away from a loss to the 31-year-old Jacobs without attempting to avenge it.

Although Golden Boy Promotions head boss Oscar De La Hoya and president Eric Gomez aren’t giving any hints about Canelo’s next opponent for May 4 on Cinco De Mayo, Hearn is saying that Jacobs will be the next opponent for the Mexican star.

Hearn has effectively shut down the possibility of a fight between WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith and Canelo for May 4 by saying that it’s not a big enough fight for Wembley Stadium in London, England. That’s the giant 100,000 seat stadium that Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez has spoken of wanting to place Canelo vs. Callum Smith. Even though Hearn promote Smith, he wants Jacobs to be the guy that faces Canelo. You can argue the reason for that is he’s more likely willing for him to take a loss to Canelo than he is in having Smith reduced to rubble like Rocky Fielding was in his embarrassing 4th round knockout loss on December 15th. Hearn can’t have Callum exposed like Fielding was, because he’s trying to turn him into a star in the UK. Smith is young at 28, and has a long career ahead of him. In contrast, Jacobs is about to turn 32 in February, and his recent performances against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Maciej Sulecki and Luis Arias suggest that he’s on the decline.

“Probably not,” Hearn said last week when asked if Canelo would agree to fight Callum Smith in the UK. “He’s [Canelo] going to fight May the 4th in Las Vegas, and I think it’s going to be Danny Jacobs. I think that’s the best fight in the middleweight division. Danny Jacobs is the IBF world champion. That’s the one we’ll be trying to make happen on May the 4th. I believe DAZN wants the fight, and I think in the next week or so we’ll start negotiations.”

Canelo vs. Jacobs is the bigger fight for U.S boxing fan than a Canelo-Smith fight. You have to wonder whether DAZN would overly pleased if Canelo chooses to face another fighter from England in his next fight on their platform. There’s nothing wrong with Canelo fighting guys from the UK. The only thing that might be a negative about that is DAZN’s subscribers might not increase to any great extent if Canelo faces British fighter Callum Smith, who the American boxing fans aren’t as familiar with as they are Daniel Jacobs. The 6’3″ Callum Smith be a bigger threat to Canelo than Jacobs, and it would mean more in terms of achievement if the Mexican star were to beat him. Smith is undefeated, and is coming off of a knockout victory over George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Jacobs was beaten just last year by Golovkin, and he’s not looked especially sharp since then.

“I think from DAZN’s perspective, DAZN would want Canelo-Jacobs, and Canelo-Golovkin. They’re the two fights,” Hearn said in once again continuing with his campaign to drum up interest in a fight between Canelo and Jacobs.

The problem is there isn’t a lot of interest in Canelo fighting anyone in the middleweight division other than Golovin, and even that has gone down after the controversy surrounding the scoring of their two Las Vegas based fights at the T-Mobile Arena. At this point, Jacobs is arguably the next most interesting opponent for Canelo behind GGG, and De La Hoya isn’t going to put those two together for May 4. He wants someone different for Canelo to fight. The shock value in a fight between Canelo and Jacobs in’t going to be enough to cause boxing fans to want to subscribe to DAZN in massive numbers on the 4th of May. It’s going to take someone that the masses will get thrilled about. It’s too bad Floyd Mayweather is only interested in fighting MMA guys, since he would be perfect for Canelo to fight.

Canelo’s WBC mandatory Jermall Charlo would be a decent option if not for his awful performance last Saturday night in winning a controversial decision over Matt Korobov. This would not be a good time for Canelo to fight the 28-year-old Charlo after the way he looked against the Russian southpaw Korobov. If Canelo were to agree to fight Charlo now, it would look like the only reason he chose him is because of the way he was exposed by the 35-year-old Korobov, who took the fight on one week’s notice. It would be better for Canelo to fight someone that is on the rise, looking good, and preferably with an unbeaten record.

Golden Boy will need to think outside the box if they want to make massive headlines for Canelo’s next fight on May 4. Jacobs is too safe of a pick to get the boxing fans excited about that fight. He’s a star, even in his hometown of New York, and there’s no ‘wow’ factor with him. Jacobs is just a simple fighter that has lost every time he’s stepped up against elite opposition. Golden Boy has got to think of someone different that will get the casual fans excited about Canelo’s next fight. The way to do that is to look at the 154, 168 and 175 pound weight classes for a potential name that will get the fans eager to subscribe to DAZN to see Canelo.

Here are the ideal options for Canelo’s May 4th fight:

Jarrett Hurd

Callum Smith

Rob Brant

George Groves

Carl Froch: He’s retired, but he would still be an interesting opponent for Canelo to fight.

Andre Ward: This is another guy that is currently retired. It’s been over a year since Ward last fought, but he still be an excellent choice for Canelo to fight if the idea is to create interest, and drive up subscribers to DAZN.

David Benavidez: A good option for Canelo, but very risky opponent due to Benavidez’s heavy hands. He’s one of those guys with a good engine, who is capable of punching hard for 12 rounds without losing anything on his shots. The left side of Canelo’s face was puffing up after just one round against Rocky Fielding. If Benavidez is given the chance to land his even shots on Canelo for a 12 round fight, he could force a stoppage.

Gilberto Ramirez: This would be a good fight too for Canelo, but unlikely due to Ramirez being signed with Top Rank Boxing. They have a deal with ESPN.

Dmitry Bivol: This would be a doable fight. Bivol would likely be willing to move down to 168 to fight Canelo, and it would be an interesting fight. Bivol is seen as the future star at 175, and he’s undefeated. If Canelo were to fight Bivol, it would attract a lot of attention from the boxing world.

Artur Beterbiev: This is another light heavyweight that would be an ideal opponent for Canelo to fight to attract interest.

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