CANELO ALVAREZ is the darling of Sin City. Las Vegas is rarely home to much luck, at least not for the gamblers who flock to the bright lights of the Strip. But Canelo is perennially lucky when he ventures there. Floyd Mayweather clearly outboxed him when they fought at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, yet one judge still managed to give Alvarez a draw. His two recent fights with Gennady Golovkin were famously contentious but Canelo emerged with a draw and a win.
Many expected Saturday’s contest with Danny Jacobs, a rival champion, to be similarly close and possibly even controversial. It wasn’t. The judges got it just about right, with Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld each scoring 115-113 and Glenn Feldman marking it 116-112. With that result Alvarez added Jacobs’ IBF world title to the WBC and WBC middleweight championships he already held.
The surprise in the fight was seeing Jacobs at his least effective when he manoeuvred away from Alvarez. Canelo is supposed historically to have trouble with movers. Yet early on in the bout, with Jacobs on the backfoot, the Mexican looked majestic. He managed to outjab the taller man, hitting him with clean, clear punches.
It was when Jacobs switched his stance southpaw and stepped inside, to stand his ground and fight, that he discomforted Alvarez. When he forced Canelo to retreat, he found further openings. One of the most eye-catching strikes was an almighty left hook that Jacobs whipped into Canelo’s chin. But there is a solidity to the Mexican. He barely let it wobble him. Jacobs needed to take advantage of those momentary successes, but, though he won rounds (four in my unofficial tally), he never fully capitalised.
There were times that Canelo’s boxing became ragged, losing its shape and form. Even though the bout was not fought at a fast pace, Alvarez did start to flag as the contest progressed. That could have been the physical effort of getting to grips with a middleweight as tall and as large as Jacobs.
Canelo’s future rivals though will hope it is a flaw, that the Mexican does run out of steam over the course of a 12 round fight. But at 28 years old, and already a veteran of 55 fights, there are few signs of weakness in Canelo’s game, and those errors are getting fewer and fewer as each fight goes by.