Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs), the WBC and WBA middleweight champion, and Daniel "Miracle Man" Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), the IBF middleweight champion, clash Saturday night in a title unification bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET).
Here’s a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, boxers, boxing TV personalities, trainers and my prediction for the fight.
Where is the money going?
At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Jeff Sherman, VP of risk management, opened the fight with Canelo -300 and Jacobs +240.
"Currently, 60 percent of tickets written are on Canelo, but 56 percent of the money wagered is on Jacobs," Sherman said. "We just took $10,000 on Jacobs +375, so we lowered the number to -450/+350."
|Fighters||Opening Odds||Odds as of May 1|
Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook
Sherman opened the total round prop at 10.5 rounds over -200 and under +180 and has had limited action on this so far.
He is expecting a very solid handle for this fight and also is offering the following prop bets:
Jacobs by KO: 9/1
Jacobs by decision: 13/2
Canelo by KO: 9/4
Canelo by decision: 5/7
At William Hill U.S., assistant director of trading Adam Pullen opened the fight with Canelo -270 and Jacobs +230. "We have had overwhelming support for Alvarez with a 16-1 ratio of money wagered on him and are now up to -475/+380," Pullen said.
Pullen opened the total rounds prop at 10.5 over -215 and under +185 and it remains the same with little action. Pullen, too, is expecting a great handle on this fight.
Experts weigh in
After opening at -300, Canelo Alvarez, left, has moved to a 4.5-to-1 favorite over Daniel Jacobs at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions
Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): Jacobs will start out by trying to fight from the outside and using his jab to establish some offense while holding and smothering Canelo in order to diffuse his offense and frustrate him. In the middle to late rounds, it will be Canelo using his counter punching ability to land successfully giving him a slight lead on the cards and ultimately a majority decision victory.
Joey Oddessa (MMA & boxing oddsmaker): How many times have you seen scenarios like this play out in the past? A guy looks like a live underdog based primarily on a really solid performance in a losing effort against a great fighter. Jacobs in a losing effort to GGG, in this case. It’s a selling point on the preview shows that makes this matchup appealing. Unfortunately for the hopefuls and ‘dog backers, Jacobs will not beat Canelo on any day of 2019 and particularly not on Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. And, if there’s any doubt in your mind going in, rest assured [judges] Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld will put a stamp on it if it goes the distance. Canelo exits T-Mobile Arena 52-1-2 Saturday night.
Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring (USBA featherweight champion): My heart wants to go with Jacobs, but you can’t deny the skill set of Canelo. I believe Jacobs has a decent shot of upsetting Canelo based off the size and strength, but like we witnessed in Canelo’s last outing, the size didn’t really mean much for him. Yes, Jacobs is a whole different animal, but you can’t bank off of size to get the job done. He’s going to have to bring the complete package to get the victory. Canelo, on the other hand, has tremendous defense and speed on his end, with intelligent ring IQ. Overall I’m going to say this one will be close to call, but see Canelo leaving with a close UD.
Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): I’m not convinced that Jacobs can do anywhere near enough to beat the prime Canelo that we’re seeing here. Look for Canelo to work under Jacobs’ ineffective jab with body work. Canelo stops him late. I’m backing Canelo by KO/TKO +275.
John "Iceman" Scully (boxing trainer): I feel like it’s going to be a very close and competitive fight and Danny will give him one of or the toughest fight of his career. And the decision will be unpopular in many people’s eyes in favor of Canelo.
Rich Marotta (Hall of Fame sportscaster): I think this may be a bit of a trap fight for Canelo. GGG behind him and maybe in front of him again in the future. Common sense dictates he wins, but Jacobs is no joke. I look for a very close fight, Jacobs’ skill offsetting the relentless pressure of Alvarez. I think it will be much like the GGG-Jacobs fight. Somewhere along the line, Canelo lands a big one, scores a knockdown and squeezes out a tight decision.
Cynthia Conte (Ring TV boxing correspondent): Middleweight supremacy at its finest. Canelo is one of the top pound-for-pound greats. He’s the aggressor, explosive, skilled, and one of the best counter punchers in the game that throws vicious body punches. Jacobs can fight and can box. He is the bigger man, and stylistically, is a difficult opponent. If Jacobs can just work behind the jab, stick and move with his impeccable footwork, utilize his speed, power, throw some nasty counters and combinations to keep Canelo guessing, he can very well pull off the upset. And you know I love a good underdog win! The first couple of rounds are very crucial to set the pace of the fight. I believe this will go all 12 rounds. Canelo by a very close decision.
Evan Young (boxing sharp): Jacobs is tall, fast and has heavy hands. He can be a bit reckless and forgets defense on occasion. He is a good finisher when he has a man hurt. And he has overcome a bad KO loss (2010) and cancer (2011) that now seem like a lifetime ago. Canelo is still young at 28, yet has become quite a seasoned fighter with 54 pro bouts. He is short but very sturdy, with terrific hand speed and excellent punch accuracy. His defense is tough to penetrate, but when pierced he has displayed an excellent chin. Both are very confident of winning, but I see Canelo as the better guy. I view him as the stronger man, with a better defense and overall skill set. I’m going with Canelo to ease into the fighting, building up a head of steam by the mid rounds and ultimately force Jacobs out late in the fight, perhaps somewhere around the 10th round.
Percy Crawford (boxing sharp): Canelo seems to get the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards during big fights. I think that pattern remains intact. Jacobs will keep it close enough to feel he won, but the judges will lean towards my pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world. Canelo by somewhat controversial unanimous decision.
Evan Rutkowski (Former HBO sports marketing exec): I expect a really good fight to watch, but Canelo should win a UD with wider scorecards than most people think. His hand speed, pure boxing ability and inside game should match up well with Jacobs. It should also be noted that the judges selected tend to favor Canelo’s style, which means he’ll likely take most of the close rounds. We’ll get a lot of competitive rounds, but I see the fight going the distance and Canelo winning eight rounds or more.
Ryan O’Hara (boxing sharp): Canelo Alvarez is at his peak and Daniel Jacobs a significant challenge. His height is imposing and he has superior boxing skills to boot. But if there’s any boxer out there who can turn it up when he has to, it’s Canelo. Expect Canelo to exclusively target the body in the second half of the fight and walk down Jacobs with hard combinations. Canelo wins by decision 117-111.
Jim Karas (boxing sharp): Canelo, Cinco de Mayo, Vegas, and a history of favorable cards. The deck seems stacked against Jacobs here. Expecting a competitive fight, a distance fight, and Canelo to get the benefit of any doubt, again. I will be backing Canelo by decision at (-110).
Matt Andrzejewski (boxing sharp): Jacobs is a boxer puncher with excellent lateral movement, and we have seen such fighters give issues to Canelo. One of Canelo’s greatest strengths is his body punching. But with focusing so much on his opponent’s body, Canelo does expose himself to counters and Jacobs has an excellent counter right. The signs all point to a bad stylistic matchup for Canelo. Jacobs by clear-cut unanimous decision.
Face to face
ESPN Stats and Information
The 28-year-old fighting out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is ranked third on ESPN’s pound for pound fighters in the world. His career-defining win came last September when he beat boxing icon and rival Gennady Golovkin by scorecards of 115-113, 114-114 and 115-113. The decision was not popular with many of the boxing media or fans but it’s worth noting these same judges (Dave Moretti, Glenn Feldman and Steve Weisfeld) are assigned to this fight.
Coming off a short trip to the 168-pound division last December where he annihilated Rocky Fielding by third-round TKO, Canelo moves back down to the 160-pound middleweight division and puts his WBA and WBC titles on the line. Canelo has amassed 54 fights and as mentioned he is only 28 years old. You would be hard pressed to find something Canelo doesn’t do well in the ring and he brings a solid beard as evident to standing up to Golovkin for 24 rounds.
The 32-year-old fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, goes by the moniker of "Miracle Man" and he certainly is as Jacobs’ career was almost cut short in 2011 due to osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He went on to make a full recovery after spending 19 months out of the sport. He will enter the ring with two losses, one in 2010 to Dimtry Pirog by shocking KO in Round 5, then by a close decision to Golovkin in March 2017 by scores of 114-113 and 115-112 twice. He has rebounded with three straight wins over Luis Arias, Maciej Sulecki and last October over Sergiy Derevyanchenko via split decision in a fight he was the -190 favorite.
Jacobs is a very talented fighter with great hand speed and power as evident by his 78 percent KO average. Less the shocking KO to Pirog and a flash knockdown by Golovkin in Round 4 of their fight, he’s shown to have a great chin. Jacobs is up against versus Canelo as he’s not only fighting a top-notch pugilist, he also will be dealing with Canelo being the benefactor of judges scoring.
Betting the fight
The panel is backing Canelo by a 12-1 margin. I can’t disagree and even though it will be a close fight, going against Canelo in Las Vegas is not a wise move. He tends to get the benefit of every close round from the judges.
Canelo -450 or better and by decision -140 or better.