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No doubting the big winner from the weekend: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Defeating Danny Jacobs over 12 rounds has pushed the Mexican further into the weeds of the pound-for-pound top three. Many now have Canelo at the top spot, and there’s merit to that argument. Jacobs is an established world champion, arriving off the back of a solid run of form under the Matchroom USA banner, who gave common opponent Gennady Golovkin a good run for his money back in 2017.

Entering the ring sporting a heavily strapped left knee, Canelo’s mobility was never impaired. Jacobs’ desire to turn southpaw at regular intervals occasionally made him look uncomfortable. Canelo is too experienced for any intended confusion. Multiple titles at multiple weights, regularly defeating top fighters, has made it difficult to find anything the 28-year-old has not witnessed before. Jacobs needed more tricks up his sleeve against an opponent of Canelo’s calibre.

Jacobs’ cross arm defence was leaving him open to the left hook. Faring better when he moved, blocked, and slipped, Jacobs’ technique suffers when he’s on the inside. Unable to work as effectively up close, the taller man’s long levers are suited to the long game.

Analysing the action on a DAZN feed, veteran broadcaster Barry Tompkins always had Canelo a nose ahead on his ringside scorecard. Making the point that whenever Jacobs stood in front of Canelo, he presented a sitting target, it was plain to see that constant side-to-side movement was required for the IBF champ whose objective was to stop Canelo setting himself up so easily. Cuban slickster Erislandy Lara gave Alvarez so much trouble because Lara’s style ensures you never quite know where he is going to be for too long. On form, there are few harder to time and pin down than Lara. On Saturday night, a skimming ninth-round left hook aside, switching stances hardly garnered much fruit for Jacobs.

Next, Canelo is set to renew acquaintances with Gennady Golovkin for a third instalment of their ongoing feud. Golovkin tweeted his distaste at the T-Mobile spectacle – labelling it a sparring session. Where Jacobs goes next will be interesting. Reaching across political lines and organising a grudge match with PBC star Jermall Charlo would ignite further intrigue in his career. Perhaps he could move up in weight to super-middle?

Eddie Hearn’s WBO middleweight ruler Demetrius Andrade is also busy scrambling for relevance. Following in the footsteps of Jacobs by tackling soon-to-be-common-opponent Maciej Sulecki on June 29, in his native Rhode Island, southpaw Andrade needs to start adding some recognisable names to the slate. A Canelo-Andrade fight would be a unification fight, easy to make with both men signed to DAZN, and would finally give some indication as to how good Andrade actually is.

Props to John Ryder, who blew away Bilal Akkawy on the undercard. Ryder was taking a risk to his world title chances by initially accepting a fight with David Lemieux (who pulled out injured) and then agreeing to box Akkawy, an undefeated Aussie who had been sparring Canelo in the build-up. Brushing aside early losses in his career, Ryder has now matured into a high-quality, experienced campaigner who thoroughly deserves a crack at world honours. Callum Smith is the target, but the lanky Liverpool boxer tends to disappear off the radar for extended periods so look for Ryder to sneak in another fight before they meet.

On the same night, over in Stockton, California, heavy-handed Artur Beterbiev was in no mood for toying with Radivoje Kalajdzic. The Russian destroyer duly set about battering usually-dependable Floridian Kalajdzic in five one-sided rounds.

Beterbiev is tucked away on ESPN, so remains in line for a shot at the likes of Sergey Kovalev or Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Dmitry Bivol and Marcus Browne would both have a thing or two to say about who rules the roost in the light-heavyweight class. Indeed, the top players at 175 pounds need to fight each other before their respective form dips, or they get picked off by lesser foes.

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Steve Wellings
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Honorary graduate of the Prison Canteen. Covering boxing since 2005 ~ Wolves fan ~ wannabe boxing raconteur.

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