Jacobs: I did enough to beat Canelo
By Mark Eisner: Daniel Jacobs thinks he did enough last Saturday night to earn a victory over the highly popular Saul Canelo Alvarez in their unification match. Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) will be watching the fight again to identify whether Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) whether he should have had his hand raised or not in their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jacobs sounded more than a little deluded at the post-fight news conference in telling the media that he thought he deserved the victory over Canelo.
It was certainly a winnable fight for Jacobs. Canelo was nowhere near his best last night, and he was there to be beaten after he faded from after round six. Jacobs was the better fighter from round 7 to 10. The problem was, Jacobs showed no fire in his belly in rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12. Jacobs gave those rounds up by being passive, and fighting like he was afraid of being countered by the 28-year-old Canelo.
This was the biggest fight of Jacobs’ 12-year pro career. The 32-year-old Jacobs campaigned hard for the Canelo fight, saying he was going to be super aggressive and impose his size on the Mexican star. Instead of doing that, Jacobs generally was on the outside most of the fight, trying to keep out of range of Canelo’s heavy shots, and not looking like he really wanted it.
The judges scored it 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112. The first two scores were rather kind for Jacobs, because he didn’t look like he did enough to win five rounds.
Jacobs’ inability to take the fight to Canelo in the crucial first six rounds resulted in him falling too far behind in the contest for him to make up the rounds in the second half. Going into the match, Jacobs pointed out that he needed to start fast in order to keep Canelo from jumping out to a big lead like he had done in his two fights with former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in 2017 and 2018. Jacobs might have forgotten the importance of starting quickly, as he wasn’t aggressive at in the first six rounds of the fight.
”I felt like I did enough to get the victory,” Jacobs said at the post-fight news conference last Saturday night. ”Once I got my rhythm, I began to push him back, and then it became a really competitive fight. I didn’t feel I was at my best, even though I felt I did enough, especially with the conversations I had with my cornerman,” Jacobs said.
It’s not all that surprising that Jacobs thought he deserved the victory over Canelo last night, as he also felt that he did enough to beat Gennady Golovkin in their fight in March 2017. He didn’t fight aggressively in the first half of that contest either.
Jacobs said at the post-fight news conference that might be moving up to the 168-pound weight division, being that it’s become hard on his body to drain down to 160 to compete at middleweight. However, with the money that Jacobs can make in a rematch with Golovkin, it’s possible that he could stay at middleweight a little longer. If Canelo doesn’t face GGG in a trilogy fight in September, then Golovkin is going to need to fight a big name. GGG is taking on the unknown Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) in his first fight with DAZN on June 8. For Golovkin’s second fight, the streaming company will obviously be expecting him to take on a big name at middleweight. Jacobs would be the ideal opponent for Golovkin, as their previous fight in 2017 was a controversial one.
Whether Jacobs is willing to stick around long enough at middleweight to fight Golovkin a second time is unclear. Moving up to super middleweight might not be as easy as Jacobs thinks it’ll be. Jacobs would have problems with younger fighters like David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders. Plant is probably the weakest link right now among the champions in the division. Benavidez and Callum would be risky fights for Jacobs due to their punching power. Saunders has the speed and boxing skills to give Jacobs’ fits, especially if he’s fighting passively like he did last Saturday night against Canelo.
“It’s questionable for me if I’m going to stay at middleweight,” Jacobs said. “It’s taking a toll on my body, and it’s showing. I think I may have outgrown the middleweight division, and I might take my talents to the super middleweight division,” Jacobs said.
The head and upper body movement that Canelo used in the fight made it hard for the 32-year-old Jacobs to land his shots. The New Yorker Jacobs was missing frequently with his power shots, even when he was on top of Canelo at close rankings throwing flurries. Most of the punches were hitting air. Jacobs connected only 20% of his punches compared to the 40% that Canelo connected on. That’s significant. Jacobs never made the adjustments that he needed to by targeting Canelo’s body. That was the one area where Jacobs was able to land on a consistent basis, but he wasn’t willing to go downstairs all that often due to Canelo countering him with left hooks and right hands when he would dip down. Jacobs was having no luck targeting Canelo’s head, and it looked bad with the way that he was constantly missing.
In between rounds, Jacobs’ trainer Andre Rozier was failing to light a fire under him by letting him know how he was giving the fight away in the first six rounds. Rozier was mostly giving Jacobs’ a positive picture of how the fight was playing out instead of giving him a true assessment of how things for him. That was clearly a mistake. Rozier should have told Jacobs was losing every round, and that he needed to attack with nonstop punches. The only times in the fight where Jacobs would do well is when he would get busy and start throwing a lot of punches.
Canelo would get tired, and look ragged. Jacobs always chose the last 20 seconds of the rounds to attack Canelo hard, which is a sign that he was worried about gassing. A younger middleweight with better conditioning would have pushed Canelo hard the entire three minute rounds instead of waiting until the last 10 to 20 seconds the way Jacobs was doing in the second half of the fight. Jacobs wasn’t attacking at all in the first six rounds. He just gave those rounds to Canelo for some reason. The moment looked like it was too big for Jacobs, and he wasn’t up to the task of fighting hard in rounds one through six.
It wasn’t until the second half of the fight that Jacobs realized that he needed to start fighting hard. But by that point in the contest, he had no longer could afford to give away any rounds for him to get the victory. And sure enough, Jacobs eased off the throttle in the 11th and 12th rounds and allowed Canelo to get the victory. Overall, it was a poor effort by Jacobs, who fought in a manner that showed that he and his corner didn’t see the fight clearly, and failed to make the needed adjustments during the crucial first half of the fight and in the last two rounds.
“I thought Danny had a relatively poor first half of the fight but he won the back end of the fight,” Jacobs’ promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA said at the post-fight news conference.
Jacobs did come back in the second half, but he didn’t maintain the pace during the crucial last two rounds. Jacobs won the middle rounds, which Canelo basically gave like he did in his two fights against Golovkin. Jacobs needed to fight hard in the last two rounds, he was missing in action and he gave those rounds up like he did in the first six.
DAZN could urge Jacobs and Golovkin to fight each other later this year with the winner getting the Canelo fight. That wouldn’t be a bad idea. If Jacobs fights like he did last night, he’ll lose to GGG. Jacobs has got to fight harder for him to hang with Golovkin, especially that he’s now being trained by Johnathon Banks, who wants him to throw more punches per round. Jacobs might not be able to handle a busier Golovkin.