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Daniel Jacobs faces Canelo Alvarez to prove he's the world's best middleweight

Daniel Jacobs faces Canelo Alvarez to prove he's the world's best middleweight
Daniel Jacobs throws a punch at Sergiy Derevyanchenko during their IBF middleweight championship fight in New York on Oct. 27, 2018. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

If the object was to sell the upcoming fight, and the upcoming fight only, the words that escaped Daniel Jacobs’ mouth last month were counterproductive.

Asked for his thoughts on the draw and victory Canelo Alvarez was awarded in his two fights against Gennady Golovkin, Jacobs told reporters, “In my honest opinion, I truly think Golovkin won both fights.”

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Jacobs is taking on Alvarez on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The point Jacobs wanted to make wasn’t about the quality of that middleweight championship contest, which should be one of the most competitive fights at any weight category this year.

What Jacobs was doing was making the case he is the best middleweight in the world.

Jacobs believes he defeated Golovkin two years ago, even though Golovkin was awarded the decision. So if Golovkin deserved wins over Alvarez, the transitive property would mean …

“I’ve always said that I am the best,” Jacobs said.

He very well could be. Standing 6 feet tall, he has an advantage over most opponents in the 160-pound division. He moves well for a fighter his size, as Golovkin learned firsthand. He also can punch.

His variety of gifts, coupled with a celebrated amateur career, earned him the moniker, “The Golden Child.”

That chapter of his life came to a sudden end in 2010, when he fought for a world championship for the first time. With the World Boxing Organization’s version of the 160-pound title at stake, Jacobs was knocked out in the fifth round by a right hand. The Golden Child was no more. He hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since.

“If you know anything about the last time I fought in Vegas and how old I was, and the things that I was going through at that time, I'm a completely different fighter,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs was 23. Before he walked into the ring at the Mandalay Bay that night, he cried in his locker room. He was only four days removed from the death of a beloved grandmother who helped raise him.

Life delivered him another quick right hand the following year, when Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. A quarter-sized tumor wrapped around his spine.

He returned to action in late 2012 with a new nickname — “The Miracle Man” — and won the vacant World Boxing Assn. (Regular) middleweight belt. He established himself as a legitimate contender with a stunning first-round knockout of blue chip prospect Peter Quillin in December 2015. The victory placed him on a collision course with Golovkin, whom he fought in March 2017.

Jacobs’ height, length and elusiveness presented problems for the more popular Golovkin, who was awarded a disputed decision.

While Alvarez and Golovkin clashed twice in the last couple of years to determine who was the best middleweight in the world, Jacobs took on some nondescript opposition. Jacobs is back in the spotlight now. Saturday night, he will look to officially claim a title he believes is rightfully his.

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