By Keith Idec
Daniel Jacobs isn’t quite as adept at fighting from a southpaw stance as Terence Crawford.
The IBF middleweight champion is completely comfortable, though, switching from his natural, orthodox stance for long stretches in fights. The athletic, intelligent Jacobs’ ability to fight from different positions makes him more complex to figure out than typical opponents.
Canelo Alvarez called the 32-year-old Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) is a “very complete fighter” during a conference call Tuesday. Alvarez also acknowledged that he is well aware of the risk involved in their 12-round middleweight championship unification match May 4 in Las Vegas.
The Mexican superstar still is confident he’ll be able to counteract Jacobs’ ability to fight left-handed when they square off at T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez disputed, too, that southpaws have sometimes troubled him during his celebrated career.
“Nah, southpaws haven’t been complicated for me,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I’m a fighter that can adapt to all styles and I have shown it. Jacobs switches and that’s an ability he has. But it’s impossible that he can be a better southpaw than he’s gonna be an orthodox [fighter]. But that’s what we’re preparing for.”
The 28-year-old Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) knocked out the last southpaw he fought, James Kirkland, in the third round of their May 2015 bout at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The previous two left-handed opponents Alvarez faced, each more cerebral and skillful than the heavy-handed Kirkland, pushed the WBA/WBC middleweight champion much more than Kirkland.
Cuba’s Erislandy Lara beat Alvarez on one scorecard, 115-113, but lost according to the two other judges, 117-111 and 115-113, in July 2014 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez’s split-decision defeat of Lara is commonly considered one of the two most questionable wins of Alvarez’s career, along with his majority-decision victory over rival Gennady Golovkin last September 15 at T-Mobile Arena.
In April 2013, Austin Trout, a southpaw who then held the WBA world super welterweight title, lost a unanimous decision to Alvarez at Alamodome in San Antonio. Trout didn’t test Alvarez quite the way Lara did, but their fight was competitive on two of the three scorecards (115-112, 116-111, 118-109).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.