By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Daniel Jacobs isn’t about to let eight pounds cost him millions of dollars.
The IBF middleweight champion hopes to challenge Canelo Alvarez in a 160-pound championship unification match May 4 in Las Vegas. If Alvarez wants to remain at 168 pounds for his next fight, however, Jacobs gladly would move up to super middleweight for that high-profile opportunity.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Jacobs told BoxingScene.com. “I’ll move up to 68 for that opportunity. I think it’d be worse for him, though, if I move up to 68. I’m already a big middleweight. I would be probably be one of the biggest fighters he’s ever faced.”
The 6-feet Jacobs stands about four inches taller than Alvarez, who owns the WBA and WBC middleweight titles. An even worse size disadvantage didn’t affect Alvarez on Saturday night, when he dropped England’s Rocky Fielding four times on his way to a third-round knockout at Madison Square Garden.
If Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) prefers facing him the middleweight limit, Brooklyn’s Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) would welcome that chance as well. Jacobs approached Alvarez in the ring following his victory over Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs) and told him as much.
Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that Alvarez won’t box Jacobs or Gennady Golovkin when he returns to the ring May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya seemingly wanted Alvarez to face David Lemieux next.
Montreal’s Lemieux might’ve eliminated himself from contention by failing to weigh in Friday afternoon for his ill-fated fight against Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs). Once Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) was taken to a Manhattan hospital to treat severe dehydration, his bout with Johnson was removed from the Alvarez-Fielding undercard.
Jacobs hopes Lemieux’s situation helps move him toward the top of Alvarez’s list, despite what De La Hoya has said.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, I guess, for Lemieux,” Jacobs said. “I hope he’s OK. For me, being a champion and being one of those top players that the fans of Canelo and fight fans in general wanna see, it’s the only fight that makes sense. And we know that De La Hoya sometimes likes to [make fights] within his stable.
“But now that he doesn’t have a decent opponent, he’s not gonna just throw him in there with a regular scrub. If he does, he’s gonna get a lot of backlash. My point is, it puts me in a good position to let the fight get made and puts me in a good position to give the fans what they wanna see.”
The 31-year-old Jacobs recognizes, of course, that De La Hoya doesn’t want to match Alvarez against him next.
“I think it’s evident,” Jacobs said. “Oscar’s a fighter. He’s a promoter, but he’s a fighter first, so he understands exactly what fighters bring to the table. And I’m a lot of risk. There’s a lot of challenges he’ll face inside that ring, I think more so than if he fought Triple-G. So for me, it’s really just about cornering Golden Boy and just making sure there’s no other way to go but a fight with me, whenever they choose.”
De La Hoya briefly negotiated with Eddie Hearn, who then was Jacobs’ promoter, in June for Jacobs to replace Golovkin as Alvarez’s opponent September 15 at T-Mobile Arena because negotiations with Golovkin had stalled. Golovkin eventually secured the 55-45 split he sought and lost a majority decision to Alvarez that night.
Jacobs has since out-boxed Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-1, 10 KOs) to win the then-vacant IBF 160-pound crown that was stripped from Golovkin in June.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.