By Keith Idec
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Daniel Jacobs couldn’t help but smile Monday when he was informed what Canelo Alvarez claimed recently about boxing southpaws.
The Mexican superstar stated during a conference call last week that he hasn’t had difficulty when he has fought left-handed opponents. Jacobs, who’ll square off against Alvarez on May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is among those that disagree with the WBA/WBC middleweight champion’s comments about his history with southpaws.
“I thought Lara beat him by at least two rounds,” Jacobs told BoxingScene.com before an open workout Monday at Competitive Edge Athletics. “And I thought it was a close fight with Austin Trout, even though he beat Austin Trout.”
Cuba’s Lara lost a controversial split decision to Alvarez in July 2014. Lara edged Alvarez on one scorecard, 115-113, but he lost according to the two other judges, 117-111 and 115-113, in their 12-round, 154-pound fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez’s victory over Lara is typically considered one of the two most debatable wins of his celebrated career, along with his majority-decision defeat of Gennady Golovkin last September 15 at T-Mobile Arena.
The year before he battled Lara, 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 win as many rounds against Alvarez as Lara won, but their April 2013 fight was competitive on two of the three scorecards (115-112, 116-111, 118-109).
Alvarez later blew out another southpaw, heavy-handed James Kirkland, in the third round of their May 2015 bout at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“Obviously, it’s evident that he’s had some trouble with some southpaws, especially southpaws that know how to move,” Jacobs explained. “Canelo is a good athlete, but from the physical standpoint it’s inevitable for him to have trouble because he’s so [short]. He fights good on the inside, but if can’t get on the inside, then he has trouble with cutting the ring off.
“He has great upper-body movement, but he has bad lower-body movement, with his legs. And obviously, we’ve seen he’s been having some knee problems and some knee issues lately. So, I think time will tell to let you know exactly how Canelo will be able to handle that.”
The 28-year-old Alvarez stands 5-feet-9, about three inches shorter than Jacobs. The 32-year-old Jacobs understandably declined to indicate just how much he’ll fight from the southpaw stance he employed regularly against Golovkin in a very competitive, 12-round middleweight title fight Golovkin won by unanimous decision two years ago at Madison Square Garden.
“I’m not a true southpaw,” Jacobs said. “But I have some really, really good southpaw skills that I bring to the table, so I can give him some confusing looks. But I think, for the most part, I’ll just use my natural gifts and abilities, which is my reach, my range and my jab.”
Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) knows almost everyone expects him to attack Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) from a southpaw stance for long stretches in a 12-round middleweight title unification bout that’ll DAZN will stream live.
“Only time will tell if I even go southpaw,” Jacobs said. “I might not even need to go southpaw. I think me going orthodox, and me knowing how to use my height and my reach alone, to me, will be enough. But if I do need to make adjustments, then I’ll do so.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.