Canelo Alvarez Beats Daniel Jacobs via Unanimous Decision to Unify Titles

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2019

Canelo Alvarez, left, of Mexico, fights Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight title boxing match Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) put on a show on Saturday night in front of a friendly Cinco de Mayo weekend crowd, defeating Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) by a narrow unanimous decision in a world middleweight title unification bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ring's Ryan Songalia had the cards:

Ryan Songalia @ryansongalia

Canelo Alvarez defeats Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision in Las Vegas. Scores were 115-113x2, 116-112, a unanimous decision. Alvarez retains the middleweight championship, annexes Jacobs' IBF belt as well. Scores were fair #CaneloJacobs

Alvarez dominated the first half of the fight. His impeccable movement and timing frustrated Jacobs, who had a hard time landing cleanly or at all. In the second half of the bout, Jacobs' physicality and stamina came into play. He was able to swarm Alvarez at times and find openings that were simply unavailable earlier on, but it wasn't enough to make up for the lost ground.

Sporting News' Andreas Hale complimented Alvarez's ability to make fighters miss:

Andreas Hale @AndreasHale

What Canelo does better than just about any fighter is be economical but find a way to land the cleaner punches while avoiding anything significant. It's a unique skill but one that has him convince judges that he wins all the close rounds.

CompuBox provided the final punch stats:

CompuBox @CompuBox

Final Punch Stats for #CaneloJacobs: https://t.co/ENSSoo4ds2

This was the second fight for Alvarez as part of his massive contract with sports streaming service DAZN, one of the richest in sports history.

With the win, Alvarez now holds the WBA, WBC and IBF world middleweight titles. The only major title he's missing at 160 pounds is the WBO strap, which belongs to Demetrius Andrade.

John Locher/Associated Press

It was clear from the start how much respect the two fighters had for each other's ability. Jacobs, taller and with a longer reach, looked to stay behind his jab and keep out of Canelo's range.

Jacobs has seen a lot of rounds in his long career, and Alvarez targeted the body early on, but his best punch at the start was a straight right over the top of Jacobs' jab.

Fox Sports' Mike Coppinger felt a power punch helped him take the third:

Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger

Another close round but Canelo shades it. Landed big right uppercut at bell, a punch that should work well for him with taller opponent leaning in. All even. #CaneloJacobs

Alvarez has grown into a true all-around fighter in his prime. Rather than his offense, it was his sublime defensive work that impressed throughout the night. Alvarez kept the head and body on a swivel, with Jacobs looking like a guy getting shut out on a game of whack-a-mole. All he had to do was pop up from a difficult angle, and Jacobs was wide open for a power shot.

The Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire felt Alvarez was dominating by the end of the fifth:

Lance Pugmire @latimespugmire

Canelo answering all that Jacobs is throwing at him. Body work is superb, and Canelo showing off head movement. 50-45 Canelo

Jacobs has rare gifts of his own, as he's one of the few fighters able to switch stances comfortably. He trotted out the southpaw look here and there, and he landed a few good shots from that stance. However, it seemed to do little to dissuade Alvarez from his game plan, calmly walking down Jacobs and countering off the jab.

Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. felt Alvarez was in control:

Errol Spence @ErrolSpenceJr

Canelo winning easily to me tho

CompuBox showed a wide disparity in punches and percentage landed:

CompuBox @CompuBox

Through 8 Rounds: Canelo — 110/284 (39%) Jacobs — 76/387 (20%) #CaneloJacobs @DAZN_USA

John Locher/Associated Press

Jacobs looked better once he finally started letting his hands go. The eighth could have gone either way, and Jacobs landed one of the best punches of the night in the ninth, snapping Alvarez's head back with a left hook. The movement and timing Alvarez had in the middle rounds had eroded, seemingly because of fatigue, and Jacobs had a much better time of stringing together punches.

Eventually, though, Jacobs ran out of gas and wasn't able to close out the fight in the way he would've needed to sway the judges or get the knockdown. Alvarez struggled at times, but he had most of the answers.

For the 32-year-old Jacobs, it's another night of disappointment on the big stage. He came close to beating Gennady Golovkin in 2017, and this shot against Alvarez likely represented his last chance at getting a signature win. Had he fought Alvarez a couple of years ago, he may have been able to pull this one out, but his best years are behind him.

Alvarez, 28, looks every bit like a fighter taking full advantage of his glory days. He's beaten Triple G and now Jacobs, two of his toughest tests. A trilogy fight with Golovkin would be welcome, or he could go after Andrade and unify the middleweight division.

Another option is going back up to 168 pounds. He ran roughshod over Rocky Fielding in a super middleweight title bout in December. That's life for a complete boxer in the best years of his life. He can go anywhere and do anything.