By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Las Vegas, NV (May 3rd, 2019)– Four middleweight fighters are at the top of the division, Saul Alvarez, Gennady GGG Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, and Billy Joe Saunders. These four names represent the current mega draw promotable big money names of the middleweight division today.
On Saturday evening, May 4, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, promoters Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN streaming service, will present a televised six-bout card of high level boxing, featuring the World Middleweight title unification 12 round bout between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs.
In order for Jacobs, 35-2 with 29 knockouts, age 32, Brooklyn, New York, the current International Boxing Federation World Middleweight champion, to beat Alvarez, he will have to convincingly stop him or knock him out. Alvarez, 51-1-2 with 35 knockouts, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, can outpoint, stop, or knock Jacobs out, but the road will be the most difficult of his career. Canelo is a young 28, and Jacobs is far younger than GGG and is in his fighting prime as Canelo is. At nearly six feet tall and with a 73-inch reach, Danny Jacobs goal will be to keep the shorter 5’8” Canelo, who has only a 70 ½ inch reach, out of range, out of sight and out of mind. Superior movement will be required to keep Canelo at Bay, whose legendary power is nasty on the inside. Jacobs was dropped by GGG, and Canelo will have searched for the same answers GGG found, a split decision titular loss in what was otherwise a very winnable fight by Jacobs.
In terms of the game plan, and punching accuracy, neither fighter can afford to make major mistakes. Alvarez will get inside and draw Jacobs into continuous power punch exchanges in which his pinpoint accuracy and counter accuracy has finished many foes. Jacobs will have to wage a cautious counter technical war. At some point, Jacobs’ caution will have to be thrown to the wind to outwork Canelo and win rounds. Canelo will take Jacobs to school and provide him with an education on ring generalship, using superior punch speed and accuracy to win rounds and put the fight in the bank early.
Of greatest concern to Jacobs are the three top fight judges selected for his bout with Canelo Alvarez. Nevada’s Dave Moretti, Connecticut’s Glenn Feldman, and New Jersey’s Steve Weisfeld, the same judges who scored the Alvarez-GGG rematch for Alvarez. Moretti and Weisfeld had it 115-113 for Alvarez, while Feldman had it 114-114 a draw. Scorecards involving Canelo have been weird and strange, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jacobs, and both Golovkin fights. Alvarez does not want a third rubber match with GGG, nor would GGG, who fired trainer Abel Sanchez. If Jacobs gives way too many close rounds to Canelo, the judges’ scorecards could go three confusing different ways. Also of great concern to Jacobs should be the legal contractual weight issue. Middleweight is 160 pounds, but the contractual rehydration allows for a weight gain of only ten pounds to 170 pounds the next day, the day of the fight. There will be a fine of 150 thousdand dollars for each pound over that limit.
The predicted result is a majority or split decision 12 for Alvarez, or Jacobs if he can knock Canelo down, in a bout which could go either way, depending on which man wants it more.
While this reporter finds it difficult the scorecards will go against the high profile famous Canelo at this point in his career, Jacobs could win if Canelo gets caught sleepwalking or underestimates Jacobs. While this reporter believes Canelo will ultimately have his hand raised in victory, the bout will be close, and the outcome could be controversial. Canelo’s momentary fame could influence judges in the same way as Paul Williams’ decision win over Erislandy Lara years ago. Experts agree Jacobs has the best chance against Canelo.
Alvarez holds the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association Super World Middleweight titles. This is a titular unification match, with his WBC and WBA titles, and Jacobs IBF World Middleweight title at stake in a super fight. Canelo’s WBA World Super Middleweight title won from Rocky Fielding will be temporarily fought for in the interim WBA world super middleweight world title fight between John Ryder and Bilal Akkkawy in the world title bout preceding Jacobs. Canelo could still defend his full version of the WBA Super Middleweight title later against the winner of this bout if he chooses, or he can vacate his 168 pound WBA world title belt, whatever he decides to do.
T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas, Nevada Undercard Predictions, Five Bouts, Four Title Bouts
John ‘Gorilla’ Ryder Win 12 Bilal Akkawy, Super Middleweights
Interim World Boxing Association World Super Middleweight title
For the title Canelo won last year from Rocky Fielding. Should Canelo choose, he can later step back up to 168 pounds and defend his full WBA World Super Middleweight title against the winner of this bout. Not much known about 20-0-1 Australian fighter Akkawy.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. Win 10 Mauricio Herrera, Super Lightweights
12-0 Dallas-Texas super lightweight prospect Ortiz, age 21, has a bright future.
Lamont Roach Win 10 Jonathan Oquendo, Super Featherweights
WBO International champion Roach will face WBO NABO champion Oquendo in a unique World Boxing Organization unification bout. The winner could get a shot at the winner of the upcoming WBO World Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito versus Jamal Herring on May 25, 2019, in Kissimmee, Florida.
Sadam Ali Win 10 Anthony Young, Welterweights
Vacant WBC USNBC Welterweight title bout
Sadam, who lost his WBO World Junior Middleweight title to Jaime Munguia, returns looking for second comeback win in the 147-pound welterweight division, where he belongs.
Aram Avagyan Win Split Decision 10 Francisco Esparza, Featherweights
Prospects Esparza 9-0-1, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Avagyan, 8-0-1, Moscow, Russia, in a battle for Avagyan’s World Boxing Council International Silver Featherweight title. This bout, which opens the exciting T-Mobile Arena card, could be a technical cliffhanger.
LAS VEGAS (May 1, 2019): The undercard of the spectacular Canelo vs. Jacobs card hosted a press conference featuring Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs), Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs), Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (28-1, 14 KOs), Freddy Fonseca(26-1-1, 17 KOs), Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1, 7 KOs), and Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs).The event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Below is what the fighters had to say at today’s press conference:
Vergil Ortiz Jr., Super Lightweight Prospect:
“I trained really hard for this fight. I was training hard before I knew I was fighting Mauricio Herrera. I was sparring 10 rounders in February. I’m more than ready for this fight. Mauricio has never been stopped. I’ve stopped everybody. I’m more than ready to go into this fight. I’m prepared. Mauricio has been in there with Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez, who I do believe he beat, and in my eyes he is a world champion. We all know who won. But those guys weren’t me. He didn’t fight me, he didn’t fight Vergil Ortiz. We’re going to see how the fight plays out May 4th.
“About my dad. I really wouldn’t be here without him. He didn’t have the best childhood growing up and he made sure he did everything in his power that I did. I don’t think his dad was there for him when he grew up but he made sure he was there for me. My mom wasn’t there. He played both parts. That’s something you don’t see all the time. Usually it’s the mom who stays with the kid. My dad is the one who stayed with me, was there for me. Thank you dad, I love you.”
“On a more serious note, I can’t wait to eat tacos after this fight. I’m hungry. Other than that, hopefully after this fight, I get a world title shot soon. There’s a couple fights out there. Like, Maurice Hooker, we’re both with DAZN. So, Eddie, make the fight with Maurice Hooker happen please? We’re both from Dallas, we’re both on DAZN, I grew up watching Maurice Hooker on Golden Gloves, he knows me as well. In a couple years, I’ll take on Errol Spence too. I don’t mean that like I’m going to go through everybody. I just believe in my ability.”
Shouting out to Miguel Cotto in the crowd: “I want to thank Cotto. He was one of my favorite fighters growing up, my dad based my style off of Cotto. I don’t know if he knew that.”
Mauricio Herrera, Former Interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion:
“This fight is really motivating. As many of you know my career has gone through ups and downs. In 2014 when I had fought Danny and felt I’d been robbed and then had the chance to win a WBA interim title which I won, and then later that same year, I got robbed again. That really left me in a bad place. I didn’t care for boxing and I was unmotivated. A lot of the fights you see where they’re close and I look bad in, it’s because I’m unmotivated in those fights. I’m slowly getting my motivation back.”
“This kid Ortiz has 12 wins and 12 knockouts, undefeated. On Saturday I’m really motivated. I do want to bring my career back. I trained really hard. You’re going to see I’m not an old lion. And if I’m an old lion, I’m a hungry lion. Come Saturday, you’re going to see a great show. Don’t tune me out. Saturday, you’ll see the Maestro comeback.”
Joseph Diaz Jr., Super Featherweight Contender:
“I’m going to go out there and showcase that I’m the next superstar in boxing. Freddy, I appreciate you coming down from Nicaragua but come Saturday night you ain’t gonna get that victory bro. You’re going to go home sad with a couple black eyes. I’m very, very focused. I’ve been training my ass off. 2018, I dealt with a lot of adversity. My dream is to become a world champion, and 2018 really hurt my heart. I was really at rock bottom. Just being focused and having good family supporting me through the rough times, it really meant a lot to me, it made me more motivated, it made me more into a savage and into a beast. I’ve been training my ass off and I’m very determined to turn into a champion by the end of the year. Come May 4th, I’m going to show you that I’m the real deal.”
“Everybody says I have a sno-cone head now but it’s all good.”
Freddy Fonseca, Super Featherweight Contender:
“I know the challenge I have in front of me, I know that JoJo is the favorite, but we’re coming in the best conditions to ensure victory for Nicaragua. I’m very happy for this opportunity because it’s my opportunity to show that I will be a world champion by beating JoJo Diaz.”
Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy:
On Vergil Ortiz Jr.: “Vergil Ortiz is a top prospect in boxing. I’ve said it before. There’s other good prospects out there but the skills this kid has, I haven’t seen in a long time and I’ve been promoting boxing for 20 years. He’s incredible, he can do it all. This is a tough test. This a real test for him. I was a little worried when Robert Diaz came into my office and said Mauricio will fight him. I was worried but I believe in his abilities. In order to beat Mauricio Herrera and to prove he’s a tough prospect moving into a contender status, he’s going to have to be victorious. This is the biggest test of his career. Where else, a better place, than the T-Mobile Arena here in Vegas. We’ll see if he’s ready to shine or not.”
On Mauricio Herrera: “Mauricio Herrera is a tough, tough veteran. He’s fought everyone in this sport. He gave Danny Garcia life and death in Puerto Rico. He’s been doing that for a long time. You name it, he’s fought the who’s who in boxing. He’s here to prove he can still compete at a very high level. He’s fighting a tough, tough prospect that’s coming up. He’s faced every kind of style, every kind of fighter in different positions, world champions, prospects, contenders. He’s ready to put on a show on Saturday.
On JoJo Diaz Jr.: “He’s ready to fight for a title, but he’s gotta get past Saturday’s test. There are a few options for him if he gets past this test, and we feel that for the next fight, he should be able to fight for the title. There are a few champions there lurking around.”
Lamont Roach Jr., WBO International Super Featherweight Champion:
“The time is now for those who haven’t seen me. This is the type of opponent that we’ve been waiting for, for a long time. This is where we are going to capitalize and show that we are ready for a world title in the 130-pound division. This is not the first time I’ve faced a veteran and probably not the last time. We trained our asses off in camp, we had good sparring, good strength and conditioning camp, trained mentally, and I’m just ready to be a world titlist and it starts with Saturday night.”
Jonathan Oquendo, NABO Super Featherweight Champion:
“This will be a unification fight because I have the NABO Super Featherweight belt while Lamont Roach has the WBO International Super Featherweight belt. The whole world knows all the hard wok I put in for this Saturday. We know the quality of fighter that he is, we know the capabilities he has. But I like challenge. He likes to fight, I like to fight, and we’re going to make sure we have a great battle and a victory for Puerto Rico.”
Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions:
“This Saturday, we’re going to have a big fight between Jonathan Oquendo and Lamont Roach. This will be a unification fight between international titles because Jonathan Oquendo is the proud owner of the NABO Super Featherweight belt, and after that, he’ll be looking for a world title. He has done all the necessary preparation to ensure triumph and a victory for all of Puerto Rico.”
John Ryder, Interim WBA Super Middleweight Contender:
“With Lemieux, it was a big upset but we got a great replacement in Bilal Akkawy. I think we’re all in for a real treat come Saturday night.”
Bilal Akkawy, Super Middleweight Contender:
“This is a big opportunity. It’s an opportunity for me to prove myself. It’s a world title fight so there’s no way I would turn down a fight like that. I’m going to make the most out of the opportunity come Saturday.”
Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport:
“This is a big fight for the mandatory position of Callum Smith. It’s a huge opportunity for John Ryder. He’s turned his career in extraordinary fashion. We know what a tough fight this is. We knew David Lemieux was a tough fight but we know Bilal Akkawy comes in as a young man, extremely hungry, very dangerous, and this is going to be a very explosive fight.”
Sadam Ali, Welterweight Contender:
“I’m excited for this fight. It’s on a big card. 26-1 underdog? That’s crazy! I’m excited, ready for any opponent, any style that comes to me. I understand it’s a big opportunity for him, he’s been waiting for a moment like this, I know he’s coming strong, but I’m excited to go out there and shine. I’m ready to go.”
Anthony Young, Welterweight Contender:
“As a person, all I can ask for is opportunity. Getting the opportunity to fight a former world champion in Sadam Ali, who defeated a legend. They got me 26-1 underdog, so if you’re looking to win some money, put it on me. Sadam is Muslim, I’m muslim, that’s my brother, but Saturday, one of us has got to go, and it ain’t gonna be me.”
Joseph Markowski, Executive Vice President of DAZN North America:
“Saturday night is not just important because we’re unifying titles in the middleweight division. When you put on events of this magnitude, you know you will have a significant audience and a perfect opportunity to introduce future headliners to sports fans. At DAZN, we’re invested in the sport of boxing – not just its biggest names. And while we put great emphasis and resource into fights like May 4, we put on more than 100 fight nights a year and know how important it is to build the next generation.”
“We are committed to these boxers, making sure we broadcast their bouts so fans can witness their talents as they ascend to becoming main event fighters.”