Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



No bad blood needed to hype Canelo vs. Jacobs at final presser

Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions

It isn’t too much to ask for, though maybe you’ve been conditioned, as a consumer, to think otherwise.

The best fighting the best. One would think that would be the default setting, and if not all the time, then most of all the time in the pro boxing sphere. But it doesn’t happen nearly enough in this era.

However, we are getting that on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas when Canelo Alvarez, the “best” from the standpoint of being the best at putting butts in seats, and in drawing buzz and eyeballs, meets Brooklyner Daniel Jacobs, who owns the IBF 160-pound strap. Canelo is the lineal, Ring Magazine, WBA and WBC middleweight champ. Jacobs is ranked No. 2 at middleweight by The Ring, behind only Gennady Golovkin.

Yes, of course, some other folks would beg to differ on who’s best. GGG maintains that he has beaten both those main eventers, who will do battle on DAZN, on a card co-promoted by Golden Boy and Eddie Hearn.

He would tell us that he believes he’s still the ace at middleweight, and would like a chance to prove that, and fight the winner of the May 4 clash in the fall. But still…We the fans, I dare say the vast majority of us, are looking forward to and believing we will be rewarded for allocating the time and subscription money to DAZN when we tune in to 12 rounds or less, of this 160-pound title unification clash.

Wednesday’s final presser at host hotel MGM Grand didn’t lessen the anticipation level for anyone watching Canelo and Jacobs, and their team members who helped hype the scrap to come. And yes, it was done with not one scintilla of trash talk. The quality of the athletes, their track records, that spoke loudly–not too loudly, the decibel level was at a level reserved for the dignified elite–on Wednesday and is sufficient to whet appetites of fans of pugilism.

Canelo is a man of few words in these settings. He will admit, he is more comfortable giving and taking punches, and playing this most physical brand of chess that is the sweet science. Jacobs, too; he doesn’t dig the repetitive nature of dealing with the media (though Canelo is a notch better at hiding that lack of love than is Danny). But both made sure to thank the media for covering the lead up to the mashup.

Not much in the way of money shot quotes were born at the press event. This was professionalism on display, from the fighters, and from the planners.

Canelo broke a record for brevity and simply said he thanked the planners and his team, and he promised a good scrum. Jacobs took a bit longer; “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” he said, and he wants to prove he’s the “best middleweight of my generation.”

All class from Jacobs; he finished by saying, “To Canelo, let’s put on a good show, my brother.” Canelo had the last words, delivered with a Hollywood leading man, circa 1964, assurance: “I’m ready, I’m ready to continue writing history, as I always have,” the red-head said.

Oscar De La Hoya, who helps steer that Canelo ship, took to the mic and called DAZN “the biggest platform in boxing.” Of course, that would depend on how you define biggest, right? “It’s like Netflix, for sports,” is how the ex-fighter termed the streaming outfit.

About the “best fighting the best,” WBC prez Mauricio Sulaiman spoke to that when during his time at the mic, when he lauded Oscar and Eddie Hearn (Jacob’s promoter) for working together. Amen, I say, let’s everyone get on the same page, or close enough to at least shelve enmity while we get the coin-flip fights we want, while the fighters are in their athletic primes. (Yes, I’m talking Wilder-Joshua, and Spence-Crawford, and any other nor brainers which are being held up for various reasons).

Hearn noted that he likes the value that DAZN offers; this scrap would be topping an too expensive PPV, he said, but not so on Saturday. “Great fights can be made…you can take risks, it’s fun, it’s called sport,” he said. Let’s focus on wanting to be GREAT..and not so much about money, that was his message. DAZN executive Joe Markowski at the mic said also that DAZN offers swell value. This main event would command $80-$100., he said, but you won’t be feeling a PPV charge hangover on Sunday…instead, you will know that you ponied up to subscribe and for that fee, you will get an entire year’s worth of content.

Jacobs’ advisor Keith Connolly reminded us that he’s seen the Jacobs story play out over most all the chapters. He’s known him since was 15, so he is well suited to knowing how his skills and temperament have come to the point where, he says, he can be confident Danny gets the ‘W’ at T-Mobile. And Connolly showed his political chops when he thanked Al Haymon, knowing full well that Al isn’t Mr Popular in those circles. Haymon still is on the books as an advisor to Jacobs, for the record, though Connolly seems to more so steer the ship.

Andre Rozier, Jacobs’ trainer, brought his trademark positive energy to the table, and mic. He celebrated a birthday today, and noted he’s lost 38 pounds in the last month. He calls Danny his “son,” in contrast to other gents he adores, but less so, who he calls his “nephews.”

My three cents: More so than usual, because we’ve had a few snoozers and misfires in the big ones of late, I root for Canelo vs. Jacobs to be a fan friendly fight. There is a rematch clause, with Canelo having more leverage in exercising it if he loses. Team Jacobs would think that there’s a strong possibility we’d see Canelo vs Jacobs 2 in the fall, while one would think DAZN would like set the table for a Canelo vs GGG scrap, their third, if the red head wins. So, those are the stakes…Me, I’m most invested in just seeing a top grade prize fight, with ebb and flow and drama and the sort of majesty that pugilism can conjure, on the best of nights.

Listen to Woods’ podcast sponsored by Everlast, “Talkbox,” right here.

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