Though he missed out on fighting on Cinco de Mayo in 2018 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, Mexican boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2) has carved out quite a portfolio on the holiday week.
In 2017, Alvarez methodically disassembled Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., though it paled in comparison to delivering a thundering knockout of Amir Khan in 2016. In 2015, he needed just three rounds to convincingly defeat James Kirkland.
Alvarez, who has not shied away from fighting elite competition, is back in the ring on Cinco de Mayo weekend this year when he faces arguably his toughest opponent on the holiday.
Daniel Jacobs (35-2) poses a legitimate threat to Alvarez on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in their 12-round bout for the WBC, WBA, Lineal, Ring Magazine and IBF middleweight titles. The Brooklyn native has more than a 3-inch advantage on Alvarez and boasts an impressive resume in the division.
Both boxers may have some extra motivation after meeting up on Friday. After a mostly subdued lead-up to the fight, Alvarez and Jacobs had a brief skirmish at the weigh-in, though neither boxer was hurt.
The dust-up may have put to rest any notion that the two fighters would go easy on one another.
“Listen, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I feel like I’m the best middleweight in the world,” Jacobs said after the weigh-in.
Alvarez enters the fight looking to defend his many belts and hoping to capture Jacobs’ IBF title, which might be a tougher task than he thinks despite his pre-fight confidence.
“I see fear and that was fear right there what he did [in the scuffle]. For me and my people — my team and for my fans — it’s very important [to win]. This is the challenge we have but I’m ready for it. And we’re going to win. I hope he tries [to take my title belts] but he won’t be able to,” Alvarez said through his interpreter.
Alvarez, 28, and Jacobs, 32, both have Gennady Golovkin as a common opponent, though neither fared particularly well against him. While Alvarez earned a win and a draw against Golovkin in two tight fights, most experts believe Golovkin won both. Jacobs lost in a close unanimous decision to Golovkin in March 2017.
Both Alvarez and Jacobs have performed well since fighting Golovkin. After Alvarez defeated the Kazakh in September, the Guadalajara native made quick work of Rocky Fielding, dealing the Brit only his second career defeat in 29 fights with a third-round technical knockout. Jacobs earned unanimous-decision wins over Luis Arias and Maciej Sulecki but settled for a split-decision victory over Serhiy Derevianchenko.
Alvarez weighed in at 159.5 pounds, while Jacobs weighed in 160 pounds.
Alvarez is the favorite at -330 odds. Jacobs is an underdog at +260 odds, according to betting site Vegas Insider.
Prediction: Alvarez by unanimous decision