Bravo, Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, for some much-needed class
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Give me more of this.
Give me more of the sportsmanship…the parties working together….the making of the bouts without the months upon months upon months of back and forth posturing and mud slinging, which seems to do nothing more than fill news cycles.
Canelo Alvarez and Danny Jacobs, both dressed to the tens, talking no s__t…shaking each others’ hands and not trying to psych one another out, but still leaving the potential watchers who might tune into their May 4 scrap understanding that they will leave it all in the ring, not save their best material for the lead up.
At the Hard Rock on Wednesday, two of the three best middleweights on this earth came together, along with deal-makers from DAZN, Matchroom and Golden Boy, and nobody talked s__t. They respected each other, and yeah, OK, a couple mini-slings and tiny arrows were shot…but all in all, it was a press conference that got you hyped for the tango, without resorting to ultra profanity or WWE-style animus.
Hey, I am not telling you I don’t dig some fiery pressers. I wasn’t decrying Big Baby Millers’ outing in NYC last week; I think more so that the greatest sin is to be boring in such a setting. But Jacobs has a humble appeal, and a gleaming charisma that reeks of class and character. And Canelo has a throwback appeal, one that has me picturing him playing lead in a Western, or, updating it for this woke age, playing a good guy who stands up for bullied kids and maybe blows the lid off an odious plan enacted by an environmental terrorist or something.
Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the WBC, WBA, lineal and Ring Magazine middleweight world champion and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), IBF middleweight world titleholder, hosted a press conference with CLASS ahead of their 12-round unification fight during the celebratory weekend of Cinco de Mayo. The champion-vs.-champion event will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday, May 4, and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN in the U.S.
OK, there was some business as usual elements to the gig, this is still the boxing business. To wit, we heard a few times that the fact that this isn’t on PPV must be celebrated. Also, that Jacobs is the second best 160 pounder on earth, so, some subtle slaps at Gennady Golovkin were taken.
Yeah, it is still the FIGHT game….
And no, Canelo still isn’t a quote machine; but I think his demeanor and class and dignity fit the day, which was so cable channels clogged with coverage of the President’s former fixer, who is soon headed to prison for a few years for his felonious doings. “I’ve always liked challenges, and this is not an exception. We know what Daniel Jacobs brings: his ability, his qualities, his talent,” Canelo said. “He knows how to move well in the ring. We’ll do what we always do to prepare ourselves to the fullest and to give the fans a great fight. This is not going to be an exception and we’re going to come out with our hands raised.
“We know his style is going to be very difficult, very complicated, but at this level, that’s what you have to face. We’re prepared, we’re going to train, and we’re going to work for whatever he’s going to bring.”
As per usual, he’s giving props to the foe, respecting them, and telling you he will give his best, which is all we can ask.
“Anything can happen. We’ll go in there looking for the knockout,” he said, something I always like to hear, “but prepare for the 12 rounds, expecting the unexpected. We’re ready for it.”
Equally classy was the Brooklyner Jacobs: “Much respect to Golden Boy and Canelo for accepting this fight. You’re a true champion and stepping in with another champion says a lot. I tip my hat off to you but I’m looking for a tremendous fight for the fans. Obviously, my legacy is on the line. His legacy is already well-established so, for me, it’s about capturing all the titles and solidifying my legacy for my own right.
“I never ever had it easy,” he said, a reference to his staring down a cancer which tried to strangle his spine. “I always had the long road, had to jump over hurdle after hurdle after hurdle, and when I step into the ring May 4th, that will be the last hurdle I ever have to step over because I will be declared the unified middleweight champion of the world. We have worked so hard for this moment.”
“If you understand, boxing styles make fights. You can’t automatically think that because he defeated Golovkin, he’ll beat me. Physically I’m the bigger man,” said Jacobs, giving people thinking he is the 30 in a 70-30 odds guesstimate a bit more to hang their hat on. “Golovkin was bigger than him and I’m bigger than Golovkin. Rocky was the biggest fighter that Canelo has faced, but he didn’t possess the skill set that I have. So, that’s the difference.”
Trainer Eddy Reynoso spoke confidently, but without a cocky tone: “This year, we want to sweep the middleweight division and Daniel is in the way, so he’s going to have to lose. We’re going to do what we always do, prepare strong and properly. We won’t take any shortcuts because in 2019, we’re sweeping the division.”
And Jacobs’ trainer Andre Rozier spoke from the heart and gave Jacobs backers more confidence: “Canelo and Jacobs are two of my favorite fighters but my son [Jacobs] is my favorite fighter. We’re going to work very hard so that the last hand to be raised will be from the miracle man. He’s hungry to show the world how special he is. He’s done what no other man has done. He fears no man and has no need to. He’s been anointed as elite and come May 4th, Daniel ‘the Miracle Man’ Jacobs will be the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.”
Oscar De La Hoya made it clear one of his main points he’s been making, setting his company apart from the Top Ranks and ESPNs and Showtimes: “The best part about this event is it will be streamed live on DAZN. With DAZN, you can watch anytime, anywhere. Together with DAZN, we’re committed to making boxing more accessible and affordable for all fans, without the price of pay-per-view.”
He tag teamed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom: “This is an amazing moment for DAZN and fight fans. For a long time, you’ve been paying a lot of money for the super fights and that’s really about to change.”
Hearn too had me thinking Jacobs is nearer to a 50 percent bet to win that 40: “For a long, long time since we signed Daniel Jacobs, he has told me three special words: ‘Bring me Canelo.’ And on May 4, he finally has the chance. I have never been so confident in a 50-50 fight. I believe this young man walks with faith and I believe on May 4th, he will become the unified middleweight champion in the world. Faith is a wonderful thing and when you combine it with talent, you can’t beat it.”
My three cents: Nothing occurs in a pure vacuum, if you aren’t head buried in a silo. Yeah, this presser, this tone, this was needed on a day when in D.C., the two teams stood and slugged and it felt like there was no winner. Canelo and Jacobs acted both like stars and made boxing look good on a day it needed it.