By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
In a tactical but exciting bout, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) edged out a narrow unanimous decision victory over Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) in front of 20,203 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Scores were 115-113, 115-113, 116-112 with many close rounds, any one of which scored the other way could have turned it into a well-deserved draw. With the victory, Canelo added Jacobs’ IBF belt to his own belts to become the unified WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight champion.
Although most ringside observers favored Canelo in the early rounds, Jacobs ably executed his game plan of boxing from distance and holding Canelo at the end of his jab, keeping the Mexican star from getting into any sort of rhythm and forcing him to reach with his punches.
What might have hurt Jacobs’ cause is he wasn’t taking advantage with effective counters when Canelo lunged out of position, relying almost solely on his jab but with little else behind it. Jacobs also effectively switched stances early, with particular success boxing from the southpaw stance. However from round eight forward Canelo appeared to make the necessary adjustments, getting Jacobs to trade more out of the orthodox stance and having more success getting past Jacobs’ jab in the southpaw stance.
Jacobs still proved dangerous though, landing the best punch of the fight by either fighter with a huge left hook that stunned Canelo in round nine, prompting Canelo’s corner to ask if he was hurt after the round. The momentum from that left hook seemed to carry into round ten, with Jacobs getting the better of the action, but Canelo closed strong in the final two rounds, turning the tables on Jacobs by outjabbing the taller, longer boxer and punctuating his strong finish with a snapping right uppercut in a spirited final round.
A draw or narrow win for either fighter would have been a just result, but as he has so many times, Canelo’s offensive aggression, with maybe a slight assist from his boisterous fans, was enough to carry him to another big win over an elite opponent.