Canelo Alvarez has agreed to fight fellow middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs on May 4.
Mexico’s Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 knockouts) broke the news of the unification bout on his Twitter account Thursday. The streaming service DAZN will broadcast the fight.
World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. champion Alvarez will have the opportunity to add the International Boxing Federation belt that Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., won in October with a defeat of Sergiy Derevyanchenko by split decision.
“I will unify my middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs on one of the two most important dates that belong to me," Alvarez said. "I have no doubt that I will be victorious and that I’ll be one step away from becoming the undisputed middleweight world champion.”
Alvarez’s promoters will soon huddle with Las Vegas arena consultant Richard Sturm to negotiate the fight’s placement at T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya said Thursday that, although the deal was not signed yet, he expected the fight to take place at the Las Vegas venue.
Alvarez, 28, added the WBA secondary super-middleweight belt to his collection on Dec. 15 by scoring a third-round technical knockout of England’s Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden.
That victory made him the ninth Mexican to hold world titles in three divisions.
During that fight week, De La Hoya said he did not expect Alvarez’s May foe to be Jacobs — a move seen as bargaining leverage while Jacobs told reporters he was “the perfect candidate” to next fight Alvarez.
Talks between the sides intensified Wednesday night, leading to Jacobs signing off on two smaller details Thursday that finalized the agreement.
“Canelo Alvarez wants the best fights and the biggest challenges,” De La Hoya said. “That’s what he did as the 154-pound champion, and that’s what he’s doing now as the king of the middleweight division. We are also proud to demonstrate to boxing fans that this new partnership with DAZN means that fans will get pay-per-view-level fights without the cost of pay-per-view. Golden Boy Promotions is continuing its promise to make the sport as accessible as possible by putting this champion-vs.-champion fight on the platform.”
De La Hoya said “fighting the best at their peak moment” was the legacy that Canelo would leave behind.
He noted that when he first discounted Jacobs as an opponent, it was intentional and meant to underline “we have the star in boxing who has boxing on his shoulders and everyone must know that. We’re dealing with Jacobs, a professional who understands the value of Canelo and the value of what it means to his own legacy. This is a very motivated fight for both guys — a middleweight fight that brings you back to Hagler, Leonard, the greats.”
The promoter denied that the timing of the announcement — during a fight week of Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner promoted by De La Hoya’s bitter rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr. — was intended to draw attention away from the Saturday night Showtime pay-per-view bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“This just happened,” De La Hoya said. “It took a while, but this is what Canelo wanted – to fight Jacobs. We got it done. There’s no bad intentions in announcing it this week. Pacquiao-Broner’s going to be a great fight I’m looking forward to. But we had to make our announcement.
“There was no hesitance from Canelo whatsoever to take this fight. That’s what we have to appreciate about Canelo. He’s willing to take on anybody. Fighters today just don’t do that. They don’t take on the top guys in their prime. Canelo’s the only one today willing to do so.”
It is believed the deal includes an agreement between Jacobs and DAZN executives on exclusive streaming rights to Jacobs' fights. DAZN first ventured into boxing last year by striking a deal with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of England.
Jacobs, 31, has an advantage in height of 3 ½ inches and in reach of 2 ½ inches over Alvarez. Jacobs reigned as the WBA secondary middleweight champion until March 2017, when he was just edged out by then-unbeaten champion Gennady Golovkin on unanimous-decision scores of 114-113, 115-112, 115-112 at Madison Square Garden.
“This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. The opportunity to achieve greatness inside the ring,” Jacobs said. “I have always believed I can beat Canelo, and ... I will get my chance to play it out. It's been nearly four years since Canelo has faced an American challenger. It’s going to be a huge event where I believe I will cement myself as the best middleweight in the division.”
Golovkin, who fought Alvarez to a September 2017 draw, then suffered a majority decision loss to Alvarez in September, is currently mulling offers from DAZN, ESPN and Premier Boxing Champions, with DAZN seen as the front-runner because of its ability to stage an Alvarez trilogy. DAZN's offer has been described as the "biggest" of the three by an industry insider.