LAS VEGAS – When Saul "Canelo" Alvarez inked a historic 11-fight deal with DAZN last year—a deal that could be worth as much as $365 million—the expectation is that Alvarez would continue his practice of taking on all comers. And he has, accepting a middleweight title unification fight against Daniel Jacobs, which pits two of the best 160-pounders in the world at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday in the biggest fight of the year.
It's also the toughest to call. Alvarez was a 4-1 favorite on Friday, despite Jacobs's sterling record (35-2) and impressive resume. Both men have shared the ring with Gennady Golovkin—Alvarez fought him to a draw in 2017 and eeked out a narrow decision win in 2018, while Jacobs lost a close decision to Triple-G in 2017—and both possess sharp knockout power.
So who has the edge? SI.com’s boxing analysts weigh in:
Jacobs believes that Canelo is an ideal style matchup for him, and he says it so forcefully it’s easy to believe him. And speaking with Golden Boy executives this week, there’s an equal, if not stronger fear of Jacobs than there was against Golovkin. No doubt, Canelo will have a lot to contend with. Jacobs is a terrific athlete, and I imagine that part of the game plan will be to avoid presenting Canelo with a stationary target. And Jacobs, while complimentary of Canelo’s speed, believes he can be timed. But Alvarez to me is a fighter in his prime, while Jacobs's narrow win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko showed me that a good fighter can take the fight to him—and Canelo is an excellent fighter. Alvarez has a history of pulling out close decisions, especially in Las Vegas. I think this is another one.
I like Canelo in this fight by close, controversial decision. I think he and Jacobs are closer in terms of skill level and boxing ability than most. I view Canelo as more of a bottom-10 pound-for-pound fighter than a top-five one, as a boxer whose results don't match the astounding level of hype involved in his career. You could argue pretty easily he lost the first GGG fight, that he looked lost against Floyd Mayweather, that he wasn't very impressive against Chavez Jr. Combine that with Jacobs's ability, and I think this will be a close bout, and since most close bouts favor the favorite, I'm going with Canelo—by a hair.