Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs took the opportunity to size each other up as they squared off in Mexico ahead of their middleweight unification showdown in Las Vegas on May 4.
The IBF, WBC and WBA titles will all be on the line when they meet at the T-Mobile Arena in a battle for middleweight supremacy in little over two months’ time but for Jacobs much more will be at stake.
The American, who overcame bone cancer in 2012, admitted this fight will ‘determine his legacy’ while pound-for-pound star Canelo insisted he will be victorious once again.
The Mexican has come back down to the 160lb division after stepping up to super-middleweight to claim the WBA title in his three-round demolition of Rocky Fielding in his last outing.
Canelo anticipates a much stiffer challenge this time around but pledged to do whatever it takes to come out with his hand raised.
He said at Wednesday’s press conference: ‘I’ve always liked challenges, and this is not an exception. We know what Daniel Jacobs brings: his ability, his qualities, his talent. He knows how to move well in the ring.
We’ll do what we always do to prepare ourselves to the fullest and to give the fans a great fight. This is not going to be an exception and we’re going to come out with our hands raised.
‘We know his style is going to be very difficult, very complicated, but at this level, that’s what you have to face. We’re prepared, we’re going to train, and we’re going to work for whatever he’s going to bring.
‘Anything can happen. We’ll go in there looking for the knockout but prepare for the 12 rounds, expecting the unexpected. We’re ready for it.’
Victory against Jacobs could set Canelo up for a trilogy bout with the other prominent name in the middleweight division, Gennady Golovkin, who is close to agreeing a ‘multi-fight deal’ with DAZN – making a potential third fight easier to make.
Canelo signed a deal with DAZN, believed to be worth $350million across 10 fights, back in October. He beat the Kazakh knockout merchant in their epic rematch a month earlier but Jacobs, who narrowly lost on points to Golovkin back in 2017, does not believe that means he will beat him.
‘Much respect to Golden Boy and Canelo for accepting this fight. You’re a true champion and stepping in with another champion says a lot. I tip my hat off to you,’ Jacobs, who currently holds the IBF belt, said.
‘But just because Canelo beat GGG doesn’t actually mean he beats me, because styles make fights. In my opinion, based on my style, and what I bring to the table, yes, I do believe I can stop Canelo.
‘But my goal is to make sure I secure the victory with no drama, with no controversy, with no issues, who the decisive winner is. That’s my goal.’
Jacobs, who is taking motivation from the fact a win could catapult him into middleweight stardom, added: ‘Obviously my legacy is on the line. His legacy is already well-established so, for me, it’s about capturing all the titles and solidifying my legacy for my own right.
‘I never ever had it easy. I always had the long road, had to jump over hurdle after hurdle after hurdle, and when I step into the ring May 4, that will be the last hurdle I ever have to step over because I will be declared the unified middleweight champion of the world. We have worked so hard for this moment.’