The big bouts, the most anticipated ones, the hyped ones, they haven’t been living up the billing of late.
You, like me, hope that the May 4 tango between Canelo Alvarez and 32-year-old Daniel Jacobs — with the winner to be declared the best middleweight, at least until the victor takes on Gennady Golovkin — over-delivers.
Seems like most of us have high hopes that the mashup in Las Vegas, between the 28-year-old Mexican (51-1-2) — who is the lead dog driver in the sport — and Jacobs (35-2) — who is of the mindset that if he can stare down cancer, a mere prizefight ain’t no big thing — will leave us pleased.
Jacobs is trained by New York fixture Andre Rozier. Rozier is beloved in this neck of the woods; his amiability and positivity have left a mark on people he’s touched in his decades in the sport, tutoring young guns who seek to elevate themselves to the top of the pugilism ranks. Jacobs is real, real close. Undeniably, a win over Canelo would push him over the top.
Now, he’s made himself a better-than-good living doing boxing. Advisor Keith Connolly previously expertly negotiated a fat deal with HBO, and he also led the way to branching out from the Al Haymon umbrella, getting Jacobs signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, where he has more room to breathe and expand at that weight class. But the win over Canelo would have Jacobs onto a whole new set of radar screens. Beating the Golden Boy boxer would make Jacobs a superstar fighter, known to more than the hardcore fight fan.
Rozier, during a hit on At the Fights, the Sirius show hosted by Randy Gordon with Gerry Cooney, with myself and Ryan Songalia assisting from 7-8 PM on Friday, told us that he is confident his kid gets it done in Las Vegas Saturday night.
“Is it gonna happen? Most definitely it’s gonna happen. We’ve put the time, attention and energy in to rise to the occasion,” the trainer stated. “We’re covering all the bases, that will create the ambience of us being victorious. We’re gonna keep reaching to the top, until the final bell is rung and Danny’s hand is raised in victory.”
OK, but c’mon now; this is the boxing business, and this business is more than often showing us all that it could use a good steam clean. Judges’ lame or maniacal or inexplicable decisions, sometimes as a result of subconscious corruption, too often pop up and leave watchers scratching their beards — or swearing off watching the sport entirely.
Rozier was asked if he factors in judges being predisposed toward one man or another. Basically, Canelo is a heavy-duty revenue driver, and those guys in Las Vegas, as in life, tend to get benefits of the doubt that have-nots or lesser lights do not enjoy. Is Rozier tweaking strategy knowing his guy won’t win close rounds on judges cards in Vegas?
“No, not really, because we’re preparing to win. There’s no way to prepare for any funny business that might take place with a judge’s pen. The only thing we can do is rise to the occasion, work as hard and as diligently as we can, control the atmosphere in the ring, at that point the victory should be ours. I’m just gonna look forward to an even and fair match, and I hope politics don’t play a role in this particular bout.”
Sounds sensible, and we very much hope he, and none of us, will regret his reasonable stance coming in.
I shared that I often tell Facebook FightNight Live watchers that an outsider should expect to come to the ring two points down. I mean, Rozier, doesn’t your guy maybe need a KO to ensure the win?
“The one good thing about what you just stated is the fact is that me myself as a trainer, I enjoy knockouts. I train my guys to stop their opponents. I don’t like decisions, decisions always give you issues.
“So of course we’ve worked to prepare for a stoppage, an assault that renders an opponent to the point where it should have been a stoppage and look forward to garnering a decision at that point, due to the fact that Danny shows the wherewithal to continually perpetuate abuse on an opponent!”
It’s worth noting that in Jacobs’ last four bouts — a loss to Gennady Golovkin, and then wins over Luis Arias, Maciej Suliecki, and Sergiy Derevyanchenko — the fights all went the 12-round distance.
Rozier said he is feeling good about the officials assigned. Tony Weeks will ref, and the judges will be Nevada’s Dave Moretti, Glenn Feldman from Connecticut, and New York/New Jersey guy Steve Weisfeld. All good, said Rozier, as long as Adalaide Byrd isn’t in the mix. The trainer said he would have spoken up and taken issue with Byrd being involved.
“I honestly feel she’s shown herself to be one of the most biased judges in the sport. I would’ve been picketing outside, the whole nine yards!”
Talk to me about the “hometown” advantage. Do you agree with Rozier, that you have to believe you get a fair shake, that you do train to get a stoppage but you have to not be bothered by the possibility of a judge or two leaning to the redhead?
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