Eddie Hearn’s rationale for choosing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as Daniel Jacobs’ next opponent is two-fold.
First and foremost, Jacobs’ promoter believes that the Mexican veteran’s name recognition remains valuable enough to attract attention to Jacobs’ debut in the super middleweight division. And Chavez’s size and durability make him just dangerous enough, yet not too dangerous as Jacobs gets a feel for being a full-fledged 168-pounder.
Brooklyn’s Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) and Chavez (51-3-1, 33 KOs, 1 NC) are set to meet December 20. DAZN will stream their fight from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
“What’s in it for [Jacobs] is it’s a huge-profile fight,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com following a press conference last Friday in Los Angeles. “So, if you’re moving up to 168 pounds for your first fight in this weight division, Julio Cesar Chavez is a great opponent. He’s game, he’s tough, he’s a huge name. You know there’s gonna be a lot of eyeballs on the event. You know there’s gonna be a big crowd in Phoenix. So, for him, this is the right opponent.”
Beyond Chavez, there are top super middleweights affiliated with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and DAZN for Jacobs to challenge in 2020. Hearn, Jacobs and Keith Connolly, Jacobs’ manager, first want to see how the 6-foot Jacobs performs at a higher weight.
The 32-year-old Jacobs will fight for the first time versus Chavez since Canelo Alvarez beat him by unanimous decision in their middleweight title unification match May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“You’re not gonna come out of the Canelo defeat, necessarily, and jump in with Callum [Smith] or Billy Joe [Saunders],” Hearn said, referring to the WBA and WBO super middleweight champs, respectively. “This is the bridging fight, right? The danger for Danny in this fight is Chavez is much bigger. Like Chavez is really a light heavyweight, in my opinion. I’m hoping he doesn’t come in as a light heavyweight for this fight. And Danny is a big middleweight. He’ll be a small super middleweight, to start off with. But I really feel like 168 is gonna suit Danny very well.
“You know, if you would’ve seen how he made weight for the Canelo fight, not good. All right? So, this is the opportunity now. If he goes out and looks good against Chavez Jr., he will fight Callum Smith, he will fight Billy Joe Saunders, he could fight Demetrius Andrade, he could fight a Gennadiy Golovkin rematch. You know, they’re all there for him on DAZN. So, this is the right fight for him, from a style matchup, from a profile matchup, everything.”
As BoxingScene.com reported on Wednesday, Chavez's involvement in the fight is on shaky ground.
The contest was initially scheduled to take place in Las Vegas. It was moved when the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Chavez for his failure to a test sample to a Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency collection agent on October 24.
The fight was eventually moved to Arizona, and Chavez is required to appear before the NSAC on November 20.
And also on Wednesday, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett sent a very strong warning to Hearn - with respect to the event moving forward in Arizona despite Chavez's suspension in Nevada.
Bennett's letter warned - "Grounds exist to bring disciplinary action against Matchroom before the NSAC. If Matchroom does not take the necessary action to come into compliance with Nevada law, our office will consider its options."
Should Chavez's involvement fall through, Gabe Rosado is already in position to replace him. Rosado is scheduled to fight on December 20th undercard.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.