LAS VEGAS — Reaffirming his status as the unified middleweight champion of the world, Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. With the victory, Canelo added a third title to his already vast collection of belts.
Let’s break down the biggest questions that came from Saturday’s result.
Though we were promised Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns, what was delivered was a chess match with only pockets of sustained action.
Canelo boxed effectively for large stretches of the bout, backing up the much larger Jacobs (who earlier in the morning didn’t comply with the contracted 10-pound hydration limit) and controlling things by coming forward methodically. For the first two-thirds of the fight, it was Canelo landing the harder, cleaner punches and winning whatever exchanges took place.
This was much more of a boxing match than a fight.
What’s next for Canelo?
The most natural fight would be a third go-around with Gennady Golovkin, after fighting to a split draw in 2017 and winning a majority decision last September. Although there might be some fatigue with this particular fight, can you honestly name a better pure matchup at 160 pounds? Or one that will attract as much commercial interest?
No, you can’t. You get the sense that there is still unfinished business between the two.
Making this fight is a real possibility, since they are both aligned with DAZN and it seems to be a very easy one to make.
What are Canelo’s other options?
There is the possibility of facing Demetrius Andrade, whose WBO title is the last remaining belt at middleweight Canelo doesn’t have. But the reality is “Boo Boo” is the very definition of high risk/low reward. He’s a well-schooled, lanky, athletic southpaw who can glide smoothly around the ring and has never particularly cared much for putting on crowd-pleasing efforts. In other words, he’s a younger, bigger version of Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara.
You could argue that if a green Canelo faced Trout and Lara — who both troubled him for 12 rounds — why wouldn’t a much more polished version of him face Andrade? If you really delve into Andrade’s record, you could make an argument against the fight.
Quick: Name Andrade’s best win. See, that’s the point.
But styles make fights, and Andrade does have the physical attributes to make life difficult for Canelo.
This matchup seems unlikely — for now — but Canelo has always been an ambitious fighter. He doesn’t just want to make money (of which he makes plenty), he also wants to create history. Maybe the allure of capturing all four major belts would offset the perceived risk of facing Andrade.
For what it’s worth, Canelo said at the post-fight news conference that his goal is to unify the division and to fight whoever has a title.
Is Canelo the best middleweight?
Right now, that is probably a rhetorical question.
Not only does he have to be considered the best middleweight on the planet, but with victories over Trout, Lara, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Golovkin and now Jacobs, Alvarez has one of the most impressive résumés in all of boxing. You can argue that he has gotten favorable treatment from the judges, but it’s hard to deny how he has developed as an all-around boxer.
It’s going to take a very good fighter on a very good night to defeat Canelo, 28, who is right in the thick of his physical prime and showing more facets technically each and every time out.
He is the brightest star in boxing. And it looks like he’s going to shine for a while.