Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Canelo-Jacobs, Nonito Donaire, Juan Estrada)
CANELO VS. JACOBS
Hey Doug, just wanted to write in anticipation of Canelo Jacobs. I’ll get right to it.
After Jacobs vs GGG a couple years back, I remember thinking Jacobs could totally beat Canelo, and figured I’d favor him if that matchup was ever made. Now that match is here and I’m not as confident; I still think Jacobs has a decent chance to win but I’m favoring Canelo.
That’s for a few reasons. An obvious one is that Canelo has only gotten better since then. He’s had 4 fights above the infamous “Canelo-weight” and I think going 24 rounds with GGG has culminated in him becoming one of boxing’s most seasoned fighters, certainly the most seasoned below age 30. Even though I thought he at best deserved a draw in the second fight with GGG, he really performed great and improved on his first fight showing. Canelo is at the ultimate peak of his powers right now, and he’s proven he can take shots from the hardest hitting middleweights.
Another factor is that the opponent is just really up against it if it goes to the cards. I don’t have a specific theory of why this is but I think it’s safe to say at this point that Canelo is going to get the benefit of the doubt from at least one judge if this goes to the cards. I think Jacobs’ has the ability to implement an evasive stick and move, picking his shots kind of fight, but not to the extent that he clearly wins like 10 rounds. (Which he might very well have to do to win on points.) Canelo has obviously improved as a ring general and Jacobs can box on the back foot well, but he’s not exactly Floyd Mayweather or even Lara in this department.
For that reason I think if Jacobs is serious about winning this fight he’s going to have to go in there with the mindset to knock Canelo out. That’s going to mean letting his hands go, and could very well get him caught with a knockout counter from the ginger. But as they say, sometimes you’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit. That doesn’t mean Jacobs should brawl (I think that’d be a terrible idea) but it does mean he’s going to have to throw more than he did against GGG, and throw with bad intentions. Jacobs is a skilled boxer with natural power. I think he has the ability to set up that power to hurt and stop Canelo, although the odds will be against him.
As I said I’m favoring Canelo, but I’d love to see the Miracle Man pull this off. I’ll be happy regardless though so long as the fight lives up to level the little guys established last week. – Jack E.
That’s a very high standard, Jack. We’ll see. I don’t care if Canelo-Jacobs falls short of the kind of dramatic showdown Danny Roman and TJ Doheny gave us last Friday, and I won’t even try to compare Saturday’s matchup to iconic middleweight showdowns of the past, such as Hagler-Hearns and Hagler-Leonard (it irks me when promoters and general sports talking heads do that), I just hope the fight is competitive and without controversy. As I type this, I realize that there will probably always be controversy with Canelo because A) he does the get the benefit of the doubt in close rounds (and there’s often that one official judge bends WAY over backwards for him), and B) he’s got a dedicated legion of haters that will give his opponent’s more credit – round by round – than they deserve; so if the Mexican star legitimately wins a close/competitive fight by scores of 115-113 or 116-112, there’s going to be an outcry from biased hardcore fans and disgruntled boxing insiders that will claim Jacobs won by 115-113 margin or that the bout should have been a draw.
So, basically, the boxing world wants the best to fight he best, but we can’t tolerate a close decision after a hotly contested fight if one of the combatants is a star/media darling like Canelo. It is what it is.
Don’t get me wrong, if it’s a nip-and-tuck contest from start to finish and Canelo wins with one of the official judges scoring for him by a landslide, I will join the rest of the planet in damning that judge.
After Jacobs vs GGG a couple years back, I remember thinking Jacobs could totally beat Canelo, and figured I’d favor him if that matchup was ever made. You weren’t alone in that opinion. If you recall, that was in March 2017, so it was before Canelo dared to fight about 155 pounds. He wouldn’t weigh-in and fight at the more natural (heavier) weight until he took on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164 pounds that May. So, it makes sense that you would favor a proven elite 160 pounder over a middleweight champ who had only fought at the junior middleweight limit or one pound over.
Now that match is here and I’m not as confident; I still think Jacobs has a decent chance to win but I’m favoring Canelo. You’re not alone in that opinion.
That’s for a few reasons. An obvious one is that Canelo has only gotten better since then. True. And the flipside to that observation is that Jacobs hasn’t looked as good as he did vs. Gennady Golovkin in his three subsequent fights (although I believe he acquitted himself well against Sergey Derevyanchenko).
Even though I thought he at best deserved a draw in the second fight with GGG, he really performed great and improved on his first fight showing. The infighting craft that was on display in that rematch – from both middleweights – was breathtaking. (I have no respect for any so-called boxing fan that doesn’t acknowledge this.)
Canelo is at the ultimate peak of his powers right now, and he’s proven he can take shots from the hardest hitting middleweights. Fact. However, Jacobs has the speed and style to hit Canelo with power punches from unorthodox angles, which are the kind of shots that can rock a fighter with solid whiskers.
Another factor is that the opponent is just really up against it if it goes to the cards. Yup, and that’s been true for the opponent of every star or house fighter since the sport did away with “fights to the finish.”
I don’t have a specific theory of why this is but I think it’s safe to say at this point that Canelo is going to get the benefit of the doubt from at least one judge if this goes to the cards. This was the case with his fights against Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara and the first GGG bout, so I can understand why so many fans and pundits fear that it will happen again. You don’t have a “specific theory” on why some judges love Canelo? Really? He’s a superstar, bro. The entire arena (and sometimes stadium) is filled to the rafters with HIS fans. If he grazes an opponent with a punch those fans erupt in thunderous cheers. Judges are going to notice everything he does. And, you know what? He does a lot of things very well in that ring.
I think Jacobs’ has the ability to implement an evasive stick and move, picking his shots kind of fight, but not to the extent that he clearly wins like 10 rounds. (Which he might very well have to do to win on points.) I think Team Jacobs understands this and they’ve prepared him to stick-and-move but with a higher-than-usual volume. They also know that Jacobs will have to occasionally plant his feet and stand his ground to earn respect. That’s what makes this matchup so intriguing.
ONE MIRACLE TOO FAR FOR JACOBS?
I am looking forward to a good fight between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs on Saturday night but as much as one wants to root for Jacobs given his background story, I just can’t see it happening for him.
Jacobs has the height and reach as well as the speed advantage. He can clearly punch and when he hurts his opponent, he is a good finisher, but I am not sure he hits any harder than Alvarez. I just can’t see anyone at middle or super middle knocking Alvarez out or am I overrating his chin?
What worries me about Jacobs is the inconsistencies he shows over the course of a fight. He just never seems able to put it all together in any one fight. He would use the jab effectively for a round and then forget about it in the next. Then he would be boxing and moving beautifully before seemingly losing interest, suddenly getting hit and staggering around on his heels, off balance.
Why do you think that is? Just too used to getting by on his natural ability?
Jacobs, for my liking, gets hit too much. Derevyanchenko, as well as Maciej Sulecki before him, were able to hit him consistently. They are good, world class fighters but they are not elite. I am sure he will tighten things up on Saturday night, but he can’t afford that against Canelo.
If one thing is clear about this fight, then it is that the outside game in the center of the ring favors Jacobs and the inside game along the ropes belongs to Canelo. Jacobs will have to use his jab with far more consistency than he usually does, land hard enough to keep the Mexican star from walking in and working the body and keep changing angles and direction. Canelo has always struggled with slick boxers that punch on the fly, like Mayweather and Erislandy Lara. That is the strategy that Jacobs should emulate, but he will also need to stand and get off in spots and when Jacobs opens up, the counter punching opportunities will be there for the taking and Canelo has excellent timing.
For Jacobs to win, he will have to combine all his best performances into one and cut out the dud rounds that he tends to have. He will need to win at least eight rounds clearly, without hitting the deck, as we all know who will get the close rounds. Not impossible but a very tall order in my book.
What do you think are his keys to victory?
The best I can see Daniel Jacobs do is emulate his career best performance against Golovkin which is to be highly competitive but fall just a round or two short of victory.
Yes, we all hate the A-side crap that go along with stars like Canelo but I think he keeps improving, is in his prime and his confidence is sky high. I expect Jacobs to land a flashy shot here and there and cause Alvarez some frustration but the red head will find him with his jab and long shots to the body. At some point Jacobs will have to exchange if he wants to set himself apart. Alvarez’s shots travel a slightly more unorthodox, upwards angle than those of Golovkin and I think that is why he will catch and hurt Jacobs. This is just a hunch, but I don’t think that Jacobs will survive when that happens and Canelo will stop him in around eight or so rounds.
Would be interested to know your thoughts.
Pierre Coetzer vs Tex Cobb
Pernell Whitaker vs Edwin Valero
Julio Cesar Chavez vs Brian Mitchell at 130
Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa
I’ll go with Tex by decision or late stoppage (but your boy Pierre earns a very close nod in their contest of mucho macho ‘staches), and Sweet Pea and JC Superstar by unanimous decision in competitive fights.
Regarding Canelo-Jacobs, I think you make a lot of really good points in your usual well-thought-out analysis, Droeks. I agree with most of your opinions, but I envision a distance fight that Canelo wins (legitimately). I’ll be just fine with a stoppage (scored by either middleweight) because it will take the official judges out of the equation. (Of course, there’s always the possibility of a controversial quick stoppage or a KO from a questionable punch.)
What are Jacobs’ keys to victory? It’s real simple in my opinion: He’s got to establish and control distance with a stiff/educated jab, punch on the fly, and jump on Canelo like a maniac if he manages to hurt the superstar.
Jacobs has the height and reach as well as the speed advantage. He can clearly punch and when he hurts his opponent, he is a good finisher, but I am not sure he hits any harder than Alvarez. I think his long-range power shots (mainly his straight right) land harder than Canelo’s, but my hunch is that the Ring/lineal champ lands hooks and body shots with more leverage.
I just can’t see anyone at middle or super middle knocking Alvarez out or am I overrating his chin? A little bit. Just because Canelo can take a direct hit from Golovkin doesn’t mean he can take Jacobs’ best shot without ill effect. Jacobs has more velocity with his power punches than GGG and he can deliver them from different angles.
What worries me about Jacobs is the inconsistencies he shows over the course of a fight. He just never seems able to put it all together in any one fight. Very good point, Droeks. This is something that former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik brought up as guest editor for our June issue (which previewed Canelo-Jacobs). He described this flaw as a lack of focus.
Why do you think that is? Just too used to getting by on his natural ability? Your guess is as good as mine, but that’s not a bad theory. I think Jacobs has admitted to having so many “tools” to call on during a fight that he sometimes gets mixed up or indecisive as to which to use at the appropriate time.
Jacobs, for my liking, gets hit too much. Derevyanchenko, as well as Maciej Sulecki before him, were able to hit him consistently. Yeah, but he handled their power well, didn’t he?
I am sure he will tighten things up on Saturday night, but he can’t afford that against Canelo. We will find out tomorrow night. Canelo can punch, but let’s not make him out to be Julian Jackson.
If one thing is clear about this fight, then it is that the outside game in the center of the ring favors Jacobs and the inside game along the ropes belongs to Canelo. I agree. I also think the center of the ring favors Canelo whenever Jacobs elects to engage with him there.
Hope you, the family and team are well.
Canelo-Jacobs. Brilliant fight! Been looking forward to this one since it was announced.
Jacobs has shown he has the mettle, skills and engine to operate at this level. His fight back from cancer has shown without a shadow of a doubt that he has warrior’s heart and that he knows the value of the position is has worked so hard to get into. His fight with GGG stands out. He gave GGG a hard night. And it’s not all about being able to take GGG’s power. GGG is technically very good and a great ring general and Jacobs was with him all night.
But still, it’s 51%-49% in Canelo’s favour IMHO.
Canelo for me is more the complete fighter. Only just, tho. I know I’m in the minority with this opinion but I’m happy to call both Canelo-GGG fights a draw or slightly favour Canelo in the first.
What I’m saying is, very crudely, is that if GGG is the yard stick, then I feel Canelo performed better against him than Jacobs.
But I think this is gonna be a great fight to unify titles. It’s great for boxing that this fight is happening and has all the ingredients to be a classic.
How you calling it? And what does Jacobs have to do to win?
Side note, Canelo is still getting a lot of stick on social media??? He’s got to be given credit for taking this fight, which by no means is a given for him.
While the best of the middleweights are willing to face each other the heavyweights are letting the side down. Let’s park Wider/AJ/Fury facing each over for a moment and focus on AJ-Andy Ruiz Jr. Out of the available opponents I actually think it’s not a bad option. He don’t look the part but he can fight and brings intensity. MSG will be packed with the Mexican fans with an amazing atmosphere so why not? It’s a shame the Ortiz fight couldn’t be done, but rumors are he has a 2nd Wilder fight lined up? (according to Hearn) Or did AJ feel he didn’t have enough time to prepare for a southpaw as dangerous as Ortiz?
How you calling it?
Finally, a 6-month ban for Big Baby Miller is a joke! The results of the PED will stay with him way after the ban. And WTF does he need growth hormones for anyways?? Isn’t he big enough!!
Loma Vs Prime Mayweather at 140
Loma Vs Prime Manny at 140
Loma Vs Crawford at 140 (version of Crawford who won all the belts at 140lb)
Prime Mayweather Vs Prime Naz
Mayweather Vs Crawford 147
Keep up the good work and enjoy the fights this weekend. – Tabraze, London, UK
Will do, Tabraze.
I’ll go with prime Floyd (in a fun fight) and prime Pac (in a great fight) by decision, Bud by close and technical nod (and I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m pissing on Loma because I’m not, it’s just that he hasn’t proven himself above 135 pounds yet), and Mayweather over Hamed and Crawford by decision.
Miller being dropped from the WBA’s rankings for only six months does look like the proverbial “slap on the wrist,” but it’s not like he’s going to automatically be reinstated in the sanctioning organization’s heavyweight ratings on September 19. He’s got to register with VADA (at his own expense), something he’d never done prior to signing to his challenge to Joshua. The WBA is giving Miller an opportunity to prove that he compete as a clean athlete. If he doesn’t undergo random, year-round VADA testing, he won’t get back in the rankings. If he signs up with VADA and pops positive again, I’m sure the WBA will ban him for much longer than six months if not indefinitely.
I agree that Ruiz is a quality late sub, and probably every bit as good as Miller. I think Ruiz has quicker hands and better combos than Big Baby, but he may be more one-dimensional with his aggression. Regarding Ortiz, I don’t blame Joshua for the Cuban not taking the tremendous opportunity (not just a career-high payday but three major world titles). That was Ortiz’s choice. If he chose to listen to his advisers and stay on the Showtime/Fox side of the street, that’s on him. If he prefers to challenge Wilder again for the WBC belt, that’s his prerogative. I don’t think Joshua has any fear of Ortiz. As close as he came to winning the WBC title, he wasn’t able to finish off Wilder in Round 7 when he had him out on his feet, and then he ran out of gas late in the fight. And it’s not like Ortiz has looked like “King Kong” in his recent fights (10-round decisions over Travis Kauffman and Christian Hammer).
(By the way, I’m not accusing you of a double standard, but I do find it strange that a lot of fans who, like you, are totally outraged that Miller isn’t receiving a more stern sanction from the WBA also happen to be Ortiz boosters that wanted to see the Cuban contender – who has twice tested positive for PEDs – replace Big Baby as Joshua’s June 1 opponent.)
Jacobs has shown he has the mettle, skills and engine to operate at this level. Yep, Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Serio Mora, Caleb Truax and Sergey Derevyanchenko agree with you.
But still, it’s 51%-49% in Canelo’s favour IMHO. Yeah, I think they’re evenly matched in terms of physical attributes, boxing ability and ring smarts, but when I factor in big-fight experience and Canelo’s steely focus, I gotta favor the star 60%-40%. And I’m obviously not alone. The RingTV Fight Picks were overwhelmingly for Canelo.
Canelo for me is more the complete fighter. Only just, tho. I know I’m in the minority with this opinion but I’m happy to call both Canelo-GGG fights a draw or slightly favour Canelo in the first. You biased HATER! People like you are what’s wrong with boxing! Shame on you!
What I’m saying is, very crudely, is that if GGG is the yard stick, then I feel Canelo performed better against him than Jacobs. Yeah, but styles make fights, homie. Golovkin’s style, in many ways (save for his elite jab), played into Canelo’s strengths. Jacobs’ style, as I’m sure you know, does not.
But I think this is gonna be a great fight to unify titles. Yes Sir. This is boxing at it’s best. Anyone who cries the blues over the heavyweight and welterweight logjams should applaud what’s going down at middleweight on Saturday, and they can tune in on May 4 with the confidence that the winner of that showdown will go on to face either Golovkin or WBO beltholder Demetrius Andrade.
How you calling it? Canelo by decision.
And what does Jacobs have to do to win? Like I stated earlier in this mailbag, he’s got to get his jab off, hit-and-move and seize control of the fight the moment he’s able to rock Canelo (if that moment comes).
‘EL GALLO’ & RING’S POUND-FOR-POUND RANKINGS
Not sure if you all will post your Ring Ratings before Friday’s Mailbag but if not then I really hope you all move Juan Francisco Estrada up to #8 on your rankings. He’s definitely worthy of the placement. I also think Donnie Nietes should move up to #9 and to also give Kosei Tanaka some consideration at #10. He’s also more than worthy over Mikey Garcia based off the eye test and becoming a three-division world champ at the ripe age of 23 in only 12 professional bouts.
On the subject of Junior Bantams and Flyweights, here are some MM’s…
Khaosai Galaxy vs Johnny Tapia
Masao Ohba vs Miguel Canto
Thanks. – Eli, Austin, TX
I’ll go with Tapia by close decision in the U.S., Galaxy by competitive but clear decision in Thailand (where he could get away with coming in a bit heavier than the junior bantie limit of 115 pounds at the weigh-in), and Canto by close decision (at the 15-round
distance, of course) in a hotly contested fight.
The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound Rankings on the website have not been updated yet, but when they are (hopefully soon) you will see Estrada at No. 8, ahead of Mikey (who’s at No. 9) and Nietes who holds on to the No. 10 spot. Kosei Tanaka was given consideration by the Ratings Panel, as was Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (some members did not want the Thai hero to fall completely out of the mythical ratings). But he and Tanaka are just outside the top 10 and could crack the rankings with the right fight and performance.
NONITO DONAIRE STILL HAS FLASH
I hope you and the family are well.
I thought Donaire looked good on Saturday. That left hook is a thing of beauty, one of the signature best shots I’ve seen from any boxer in my time. And I think if he hits anyone in in his current weight class with that punch, they are going to sleep. As I’m sure you recall, he almost put down Nicholas Walters, a much bigger man, with that hook.
That said, I imagine that the Monster Inoue gets the ‘W’ in his bout next month, I think, setting up a fight with Nonito for the Ali trophy. I’d love to see that fight, hopefully at StubHub Center this summer.
I see that as a tough fight for the Filipino Flash. I think he might get to Inoue inside 5 rounds. If it goes past that, I see Donaire getting worn down by the younger guy and losing on a stoppage. How would you see that fight playing out?
Take care Doug and thanks for your columns and the always enjoyable mailbags. – Andy, Chula Vista
Thank you for the very kind words, Andy.
I love Nonito dearly (he really is one of the affable prize fighters I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know), but I don’t think makes into the second half of a showdown with The Monster.
However, before we can talk about Inoue-Donaire, the Japanese phenom has to get by Emanuel Rodriguez on May 18 and that is no “gimme” matchup. If you think it is, you need check yourself.
I thought Donaire looked good on Saturday. He’s still way past his physical prime, but I think he’s recaptured his peak technical form due to his return to the bantamweight division and with the help of co-trainer Ken Adams.
That left hook is a thing of beauty, one of the signature best shots I’ve seen from any boxer in my time. Yes, and I think Stephon Young, Fernando Montiel and Vic Darchinyan agree with you.
And I think if he hits anyone in his current weight class with that punch, they are going to sleep. We’ll see.
As I’m sure you recall, he almost put down Nicholas Walters, a much bigger man, with that hook. You know what? I was ringside for that fight and I don’t recall that moment. I’ll have to watch a replay of it.
That said, I imagine that the Monster Inoue gets the ‘W’ in his bout next month, I think, setting up a fight with Nonito for the Ali trophy. The Ring magazine bantamweight championship will also be on the line because Inoue and Rodriguez will fight for it on May 18.
I’d love to see that fight, hopefully at StubHub Center this summer. It’s the Dignity Health Sports Park! Come on, man! Get with the times! But, yeah, I’d love to see that showdown in Southern California, too.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.