MAY 1st 2019: Canelo V Jacobs Boxing Prediction

May 1st 2019:

One of the more highly anticipated fights of the year is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez v. Danny Jacobs, scheduled to take place Saturday, May 4th, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Most boxing analysts expect the fight to be competitive, and the odds remain relatively close. For those of you planning to bet on this fight, I will lay out my analysis here, as I think there are a few things worth pointing out.

Jacobs will enjoy a 3.5″ height advantage, and 2.5″ reach advantage over Canelo on fight night, and many boxing pundits expect him to utilize these advantages by boxing Canelo from long distance. While I think this approach seems intuitive, I think Jacobs would be better served coming forward, and taking the fight to Canelo. While Jacobs is a large, strong, and skilled fighter, he does not possess the technical boxing ability that Canelo does. At times he displays lapses in his defense, as evidenced in his fights against Dmitry Pirog and Gennady Golovkin. Jacobs has a tendency to throw wide, looping punches at times, but he is often able to get away with it due to his skill and athleticism (in this sense he is reminiscent of someone like Timothy Bradley). Against a tight, technically sound boxer like Canelo, Jacobs will not be able to afford any recklessness.

In Canelo’s first fight against Golovkin, we saw Golovkin moving forward and applying consistent pressure to Canelo. Although the fight was ruled a draw, I had GGG winning 8 rounds to 4, and most boxing analysts agreed that GGG deserved the decision. In the rematch we saw GGG moving backward more, boxing Canelo from the outside. This fight was more closely contested than the first fight, and Canelo seemed more comfortable going forward. Moving backward also seemed to sap more energy from GGG, as he seemed more visibly tired in the second fight.

If Jacobs tries to fight from the outside against Canelo, I see him getting outboxed, despite his height and reach advantage. If he comes forward and takes the fight to Canelo, I see him enjoying more success. This was certainly the case for GGG and Austin Trout when they fought Canelo.

Another thing to consider is the rehydration clause in effect for this match, which was not previously  instituted in GGG v. Jacobs (it was thought that Jacobs weighed in at over 180 pounds, and enjoyed a considerable size advantage over GGG). Against Canelo, Jacobs will be limited to 170 pounds or lower, likely meaning that the Jacobs we see in the upcoming fight will be a diminished version of the one that lost to GGG in 2017.

As of this writing some of the odds I have been seeing for this fight list Canelo as a -400 favorite, or thereabouts. I expect this number to remain somewhat consistent, with late bets possibly coming in for Canelo. While I am not certain that the value of betting on Canelo is particularly great (given the risk that Jacobs presents), I will nonetheless be betting on a Canelo victory. The win will most likely come by way of decision, as I think Danny Jacobs is large enough, resilient enough, and wiley enough to avoid being knocked out. If Jacobs doesn’t maintain his defensive focus, however, I would not be surprised if he gets knocked to the canvas at least once.

VERDICT: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by Unanimous Decision (12 rounds)