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Who Will Win the Canelo-Jacobs Fight? 15 TSS Writers Give Their Picks

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Canelo vs Jacobs

Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and middleweight title-holder Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs collide on Saturday, May 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. As is our custom whenever there is a mega-fight, we reached out to our community of writers to get their predictions. Our reach extended to our colleagues at our Spanish-language sister sites.

Predictably, there was a strong lean to Alvarez, the betting favorite, but Jacobs had his supporters and they made some provocative points.

Comic book cover artist ROB AYALA, whose specialty is combat sports, provided the graphic. Check out more of Rob Ayala’s illustrations at his web site fight posium.

The correspondents are listed alphabetically.

Gilda Aburto

A majority of people in the boxing business think Canelo will win, but Jacobs won’t be a piece of candy. Jacobs has a good defense, throws powerful combinations, he can fight in and out, and has proved he can go the distance. In order to win, Jacobs will have to pressure Canelo from the opening bell. Some say he doesn’t have a chance if the fight goes to the scorecards with the fight being held in Las Vegas, but JACOBS has everything that it takes to get a sound victory on Saturday.

J.J. Alvarez

Jacobs is taller, faster, stronger and has superior movement inside the ring. But his skills may be receding. In his last fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the man who defeated cancer lacked potency behind his strikes and the ability to maintain the volume of his punches. The Mexican is strong and resilient, possessing a left hook which is his most lethal weapon. This will be the biggest concern for Jacobs defensively from start to finish. And due to his superior stature, his torso will be easily targeted by his opponent’s most devastating weapon. CANELO by decision.

Matt Andrzejewski

The signs all point to a JACOBS  upset. He possesses the type of movement that can give all sorts of issues to Canelo. In addition, I think Jacobs will land his counter right with consistency when Canelo attempts to throw to the body. It’s a bad style matchup for Canelo. Jacobs by clear cut unanimous decision.

Rick Assad

Because of his height and reach advantage and his punching power, Jacobs, the Brooklyn, New York native, could cause Alvarez problems throughout. But CANELO will work the body and counterpunch effectively and should prevail in the late rounds, say the 10th or 11th.

Bernard Fernandez

If professional boxing were like Olympic boxing, Daniel Jacobs would be, barring the standard and reprehensible corruption often seen at those quadrennial world events, a good bet to come away with no better than a bronze medal. But unless Gennady Golovkin has aged faster than most people think, and Canelo Alvarez’s skill set is not as outsized as his popularity, Jacobs will continue to be slotted in as the No. 3 guy at 160 pounds. It’s competitive, but call it CANELO by unanimous decision.

Jeffrey Freeman

JACOBS SD 12:  By now, most knowledgeable observers can see how good Canelo is and what it will take to beat him. Danny Jacobs has the right stuff—superior size, an edge in punching power, and arguably better boxing skills. If Jacobs can finally put it all together and stay off the canvas for twelve rounds against the best counterpuncher in boxing, he will be rewarded with a split decision victory, all the title belts, and an even bigger bucks rematch with the biggest money fighter in the game. Sure, Canelo (and Oscar) will insist he won and jaded fans will give him no sympathy regardless, but it will be Alvarez laughing all the way to the bank as he and Jacobs lay the groundwork for a middleweight championship trilogy on DAZN.

Miguel Iturrate

I think Daniel Jacobs has a chance. He is a skilled boxer and if he has a good horse under him and can keep moving he could convince the judges he did more. It would be interesting to see a version of Jacobs like we did against Peter Quillin, where he came out ruthless and mean. We will see, it is Vegas, and it is Cinco de Mayo, which is “Canelo” day basically. But JACOBS is longer, taller and has a high boxing IQ. Canelo shouldn’t be too comfortable leaving it to the judges.

Lazaro Malvarez

We are in the presence of an enticing fight, but not necessarily a good one. Jacobs, with a large purse secured for retirement, may not be very aggressive, giving Canelo opportunities to gain confidence and land significant strikes which will be responded to by roaring support from the crowd. The red headed boxer from Guadalajara is currently at the peak of his career. He’s the king of the party and business must go on. Only a miracle could have the “Miracle Man” leaving victorious on May 4th. CANELO by decision.

Kelsey McCarson

Despite his tremendous accomplishments, Alvarez is still just 28 years old. The scariest thing about that is that he always seems to be improving as a prizefighter, at least since he lost to Floyd Mayweather by decision in 2013. I don’t expect that to change on Saturday, so I’m picking CANELO by decision. Jacobs is a very good middleweight. He has a tremendous back story and will use his excellent skills to give Alvarez a tough test. But Alvarez is one of the best counterpunchers in boxing, and once he starts letting his hands go, Jacobs will have little to rely on but his jab. Alvarez will land the cleaner, harder punches and the judges will have a pretty easy fight to score.

Matt McGrain

I’d like to see Jacobs hold the line a little bit more than he did against Golovkin.  Alvarez is a dangerous puncher. He’s nothing like as thudding as GGG but the Mexican is probably every bit as good at finding his man when he moves.  If Jacobs turns consistently to squabbling on the backfoot he’ll get out-picked by consistent hitting.  If he can hold the line I make this a 50.50 fight.  However, I expect CANELO to start moving Jacobs later in the fight with the cards in the balance. The American will drop a narrow but just decision.

Sean Nam

Daniel Jacobs may have all the physical attributes to beat Saul Alvarez. He is bigger and just as quick, if not quicker. He also knows how to switch stances intelligently and carries above-average punching power. But his last two fights, close decisions over Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Maciej Sulecki, revealed just where Jacobs is: a very good middleweight, but not great. Against, Alvarez, he will need to be busy every round. That the fight is taking place in Alvarez’s adopted hometown of Las Vegas pretty much ensures that Jacobs will need a knockout to win — but that is far more unlikely than the fight going to the cards. CANELO by split decision.

Ted Sares

Jacobs will come in looking much bigger than CANELO as he rehydrates like David Lemieux, but that won’t save him from Canelo’s pressure and especially Canelo’s body work. I look for a late stoppage in the redhead’s favor. Danny’s corner may have to save him from himself.

Phil Woolever

Jacobs seems prepared to perform much better than predicted by the majority of oddsmakers who currently list him at around a 3 or 4 to 1 underdog, but much of that depends on how Alvarez, who looks like he’s getting even better, shows up on fight night. As the saying goes regarding motivational money, CANELO has millions of reasons to be at his best for this contest and I think he’ll respond looking stronger than ever.

The Last Words

For our final thoughts we turn to TSS West Coast Bureau Chief David Avila and to Dino da Vinci, a man who needs no introduction.

AVILA: Unless someone scores a knockdown I see it as a very even fight. I am picking a draw.

da VINCI: Canelo begins his ascent to claim Floyd’s P-4-P King status.

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Re-visiting the Walker Law of 1920 which Transformed Boxing

Arne K. Lang

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One hundred years ago this week, on March 24, 1920, a boxing reform bill sponsored by Sen. James J. Walker passed the New York State Senate. The bill ultimately became law and its provisions came to be adopted by law-makers in other states, bringing some uniformity to the most anarchic of popular sports. And what better time to re-visit this transformative legislation than now, the centennial?

Prizfighting was an outlaw sport in the Empire State until 1896 when the legislature passed the Horton Law which allowed bouts up to 25 rounds with five-ounce gloves in buildings owned or leased by a chartered athletic club. New York was a beehive of world class boxing during the days of the Horton Law, but the hubbub was short-lived. A spate of fixed fights and ring fatalities sparked a cry for reform and the law was repealed in 1900.

The Lewis Law, which supplanted the Horton Law, reduced the maximum number of rounds from 25 to 10 and stipulated that no decision would be rendered. The Lewis Law also restricted patronage to members of the athletic club sponsoring the event.

The Frawley Law of 1911 re-opened the fights to the general public but otherwise left the provisions of the Lewis Law pretty much intact. The most important fight in New York during the Frawley Law days was Jess Willard’s defense of his world heavyweight title against Frank Moran at Madison Square Garden in 1916. The fight went the distance, the full 10 rounds, and Willard had the best of it although you wouldn’t know that from the official decision as there was none.

During the last years of the nineteen-teens, several boxing reform bills were presented to the New York legislature. In fact, the Walker Bill was one of four that was taken under consideration. When it finally came to pass, the no-decision rule had been struck down by a 1919 amendment to the Frawley Law that gave the referee the authority to designate the winner.

A key feature of the Walker Law was that everyone involved in a boxing match — from the lowliest spit-bucket carrier to the promoter — had to be licensed. This included managers, matchmakers, referees, judges, ring doctors; even the ring announcer. The licensees were accountable to the boxing commission, a panel appointed by the governor. The commission had the power to approve matches, assign the officials, and establish and collect fees.

The Walker Law approved matches up to 15 rounds and allowed official decisions. Two judges would determine the winner and if they disagreed, the referee would act as the tie-breaker.

Previous laws allowed prizefighting under the guise of sparring exhibitions. The Walker Law made no distinction and this took the police out of the equation. Historically, it was the Sheriff’s responsibility to determine if a bout should be stopped because it had become too one-sided; too brutal. And if, pray tell, one of the contestants died as a result of blows received, his opponent and his opponent’s chief second and perhaps others would be arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Under the Walker Law, the decision of whether to stop a match rested with the referee or the ring physician or the highest-ranking boxing official at ringside. A boxer could now fight full bore without worrying that he could be charged with a crime.

After passing the Senate, the Walker Law passed the Assembly by a margin of 91-46. It was signed into law by Gov. Al Smith on May 24, 1920 and took effect on Sept.1. This ignited a great flurry of boxing in the Empire State. By March of 1924, the state had licensed 6,123 boxers.

The Walker Law became the template that lawmakers in other jurisdictions followed when they introduced their own boxing bills. Cynics would have it that the most attractive feature of the Walker Law to those that embraced it was the tax imposed on gate receipts. In New York under the guidelines of the Walker Law, it was 5 percent.

This wasn’t too far off the mark. The drive to legalize boxing picked up steam in the Depression when state coffers were depleted and new sources of revenue were needed to cushion the fallout. By 1934, boxing was legal in every state in the union, but not in every county. Nowhere was the Walker Law adopted word for word – every politician had to put his own little spin on it, tweaking this and that – but the map of boxing, from an organizational standpoint, became less disjointed.

For the record, the first boxing show under the imprimatur of the Walker Law was held on Sept. 17, 1920 at Madison Square Garden. Joe Welling fought Johnny Dundee in the featured bout. It was the eighth meeting between the veteran lightweights. Welling won a unanimous decision, which is to say that both judges gave the bout to him (their scores were not made known). Ten weeks later, after two intervening bouts, Welling returned to Madison Square Garden to face lightweight champion Benny Leonard. This would go into the books as the first title fight under the Walker Law. Welling was stopped in the 14th round.

James J. “Jimmy” Walker spent 15 years in Albany, the first four as an Assemblyman, but would be best remembered as New York City’s flamboyant Jazz Age mayor. He served two terms, defeating his opponents in landslides, but was forced to resign before his second term expired, leaving office in disgrace. In January of 1941, at the third annual dinner of the Boxing Writers Association, Walker was honored for his “long and meritorious service” to the sport and in 1992 he would be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Walker (pictured) was a fascinating man, the big city version, in many respects, of Louisiana’s colorful Huey “Kingfish” Long. In a future article, we’ll peel back the layers and take a closer look at the man who did so much to popularize boxing.

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Think you know boxing? Then Man Up and Take Our New Trivia Test

Arne K. Lang

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Beneath his salty exterior, Roger Mayweather had the soul of a scholar when the subject turned to the history of boxing. We suspect that Mayweather, who left us on March 17, would have fared pretty well on this 15-question multiple-choice trivia quiz and we dedicate it to him.

All good trivia tests should have a connecting thread. Here the common theme is “places,” more exactly U.S. cities and towns.

This isn’t an easy quiz. We have too much respect for our readers to dumb it down. Get more than half right and give yourself a passing grade. Twelve or more correct answers and proceed to the head of the class.

Here’s the catch: To find the correct answers, you need to go to our FORUM (Click Here). There this trivia test will repeat with the correct answers caboosed to the final question.

  1. In 1970, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring after a 43-month absence to fight Jerry Quarry in this city:

(a) Miami

(b) Atlanta

(c) Houston

(d) Landover, Maryland

 

  1. Rocky Kansas and Frank Erne, recent inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Old-Timer category, were products of this city:

(a) Buffalo

(b) Hartford

(c) Scranton

(d) Portland, Maine

 

  1. The July 1, 1931 match between heavyweight title-holder Max Schmeling and Young Stribling was the icebreaker event in the largest stadium ever built to house a baseball team. What city?

(a) Detroit

(b) Cleveland

(c) St. Louis

(d) Milwaukee

 

  1. Jake LaMotta was from the Bronx, but he acquired his most avid following in this city where he lifted the world middleweight title from Marcel Cerdan.

(a) Detroit

(b) Chicago

(c) Cleveland

(d) Syracuse

 

5.  Jess Willard was called the Pottawatomie Giant because he hailed from Pottawatomie County. What state?

(a) Oklahoma

(b) Kansas

(c) Montana

(d) West Virginia

 

  1. There is a statue of former welterweight champion Young Corbett III, born Raffaele Giordano, in this California city.

(a) Oakland

(b) Bakersfield

(c) Anaheim

(d) Fresno

 

  1. Elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011, this iron-chinned bantamweight was stopped only once in 163 documented fights. Fill in the blank:

______ Pal Moore.

(a) Laredo

(b) Memphis

(c) Peoria

(d) Pasadena

 

  1. More of the same. Fill in the blank.

(a) George Lavigne, the ______ Kid            Boston

(b) Jack Johnson, the ______ Giant            Joplin

(c) Jeff Clark, the _______     Ghost           Saginaw

(d) Jack Sharkey, the _______ Gob            Galveston

 

9. In the 1930s, there was a second Madison Square Garden in this southwestern city. Future light heavyweight champion John Henry Lewis had several of his early fights here:

(a) Albuquerque

(b) El Paso

(c) Pueblo

(d) Phoenix

 

  1. Match the fighter with his nickname.

(a) Max Baer                  (1) Astoria Assassin

(b) Paul Berlenbach      (2) Fargo Express

(c) Billy Petrolle            (3) Livermore Larruper

(d) Bud Taylor              (4) Terre Haute Terror

 

  1. Match these boxers with the city with which they are associated.

(a) Fritzie Zivic and Charley Burley         (1) San Francisco

(b) Johnny Coulon and Ernie Terrell       (2) New Orleans

(c) Abe Attell and Fred Apostoli               (3) Chicago

(d) Pete Herman and Willie Pastrano      (4) Pittsburgh

12. The first great prizefight in Nevada, pitting James J. Corbett against Bob Fitzsimmons, was held here:

a. Goldfield

b. Carson City

c. Reno

d. Las Vegas

 

13. On March 28, 1991, Sugar Ray Leonard headlined a boxing show at the new Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. Who was his opponent?

(a) Larry Bonds

(b) Wilfred Benitez

(c) Donny Lalonde

(d) Floyd Mayweather Sr.

 

  1. Match these Hall of Fame boxing writers with the city in which they spent the bulk of their newspaper careers:

 

(a) Jack Fiske                   (1) New York

(b) Michael Katz              (2) Philadelphia

(c) Jerry Izenberg            (3) San Francisco

(d) Bernard Fernandez    (4) Newark

 

  1. Match these Hall of Fame boxing promoters with the city that served as their headquarters:

(a) Herman Taylor         (1) Boston

(b) Rip Valenti               (2) Philadelphia

(c) Sam Ichinose           (3) Los Angeles

(d) George Parnassus    (4) Honolulu

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A Chain of Fistic Violence in Southern California in the ‘70s

Ted Sares

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 The decade of the 1970’s was a great one for boxing and the Southern California scene was especially a hotbed. Throw a dart and you’d come up with a fan-friendly sizzler at the Inglewood Forum, the Olympic Auditorium, the Convention Center in Anaheim or even the Valley Music Theater in Woodland Hills. Throw that same dart at the following fighters and you would land on fighters who made the West Coast scene a special one.

Men like Danny “Little Red “ Lopez, the star-crossed Bobby “Schoolboy” Chacon, Jose Napoles, the legendary Ruben Olivares, the underrated Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez, Armando Muniz, Rafael Herrera (who beat the great Olivares twice), Carlos Palomino (who made one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history), Carlos Zarate, Art Hafey, Shig Fukuyama (who had that one big moment against “Little Red” in 1974), Octavio Gomez, Rudy Robles, Frankie Baltazar (who practically lived in the Olympic where he had 31 of his 43 career bouts), and Alberto Sandoval who had 37 of his 38 career fights in the Olympic Auditorium!

Many of the above were world champions; six are in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The following fights are representative of this super exciting and very violent time:

Chacon vs. Olivares (June 1973)

This one was at the Forum in Ingleside, California and the Associated Press report said it best:

“Former world bantamweight champion Ruben Olivares of Mexico ruined the perfect record of local featherweight hero Bobby Chacon, scoring a 9th round knockout. Chacon, 126, appeared strong in the first two rounds, but Olivares dramatically changed the complexion of the fight in the 3rd and didn’t lose another round. Olivares, 125 3/4, knocked Chacon down with a straight right in the first ten seconds of the 9th and then pounded the San Fernando fighter unmercifully for the remainder of the round. During the intermission, Chacon’s manager, Joe Ponce, asked referee Dick Young to stop the fight, which had been scheduled for 12 rounds and for the NABF featherweight title.”

The pin-point exchanges in the ninth were non-stop and raised the bar for ring malice; it was legal assault and battery.

The two met twice more.

In June, 1975, Olivares met Chacón who was then the WBC’s world featherweight champion. Olivares won the fight by savage stoppage in round two and became a world champion for the fourth time.

The trilogy ended in August 1977 when Chacon won a UD at the Forum.

However, the equally adored Olivares dominated the bantamweights and retired with a record of 89-13-3 with an astonishing 79 wins coming by knockout.

Lopez vs. Chacon (May 1974)

Danny “Little Red” Lopez was 23-0 when he faced off with Bobby Chacon (then 23-1) at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles in front of 16,000 screaming fans. Both fighters personified excitement; in fact, Little Red was a “Gatti before Gatti” as he often would come back in dramatic fashion to snatch victory from certain defeat.

As for drama both inside and outside the ring, no one ever topped Chacon. His career against the toughest opposition imaginable included historic fights against Cornelius Boza- Edwards and four thrillers against Bazooka Limon against whom he was 2-1-1. His name was synonymous with “Fight of the Year” but so was Danny’s. He was all heart and all action; you had to staple him down to the canvas if you wanted to keep him down. His only loss prior to the Lopez fight was against the aforementioned Ruben Olivares (71-3-1 at the time).

LA Times sportswriter Steve Springer recalled that fight in a story that ran in the Times on April 28, 1995:

“In the early rounds of that memorable night in 1974, both fighters absorbed and delivered a terrifying amount of punishment. If not for the breaks between rounds, there would have been no time to breathe. But by the end of the fourth round, having seen and survived the best Lopez had to offer, Chacon took command…Chacon maneuvered Lopez into the ropes. Lopez dropped his hands and Chacon moved in for the kill. But referee John Thomas stepped in and ended it.”

It was not quite malevolence but it was something pretty close. The fans got what they paid for and more. Sadly, Bobby would pay a terrible price, but he kept his sense of humor almost until the end. When questioned about his failing memory, he would smile that smile that would stop you in your tracks and say, “I forgot I forgot.”

Bobby Chacon, like Ruben Olivares, was adored by his fans in a special kind of way.

Lopez vs. O’Grady (February 1976)

There was never a time where I thought I was going to be anything other than a boxer…” – Sean O’Grady

Now it was Danny Lopez’s turn to prevail against the young but talented and undefeated Sean O’Grady who had run up 29 straight wins until he met “Little Red” at the Inglewood Forum. In 1975 alone, the upstart, who turned pro at age 15, fought 26 times with 22 stoppages (but mostly against weak Oklahoma-style opposition which ill-prepared him for the likes of “Little Red” who was honed on Southern California-type opposition).

O’Grady instinctively chose to brawl with the gritty and hard-hitting Lopez rather than use fundamentals and technique and while it was a good fight for as long as it lasted, the youngster absorbed serious punishment prompting his “corner” which was composed of father, manager, mentor and trainer Pat O’Grady to toss in the towel after four rounds, saving Sean for another day.

It would prove to be an extremely wise decision as the youngster would later have great success. O’Grady won the WBA lightweight title in 1981 and finished his career at 81-5 with 70 wins coming by way of stoppage, an eye-popping KO percentage of 81.4 %.

While the 70s were considered the golden age for heavyweights, serious fans and historians know that the smaller men should receive the same level of respect. They also know that Mexico’s bantamweights of the 50s were nothing less than sensational, building the platform for the chain of sizzlers that delighted Southern California fight fans in the 70s.

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

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