AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Jacobs vs Chavez Jr (Friday)

There is a lot of boxing action around the globe this weekend and Phoenix, Arizona will play host to the long-awaited super middleweight debut of former IBF & WBA middleweight champion, Daniel ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs. ‘Miracle Man’ has one of the most heart-warming back stories in the entire sport. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2011, he defied all odds by beating the disease and going on to win multiple world titles.

In the opposite corner, the unpredictable Julio Cesar Chavez Jr arrives in Phoenix looking to spring an upset that will revitalise his career. The son of former six-time world champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, he followed in the footsteps of his father by turning professional in 2003, with very little amateur pedigree. His natural talent led him to the top of the sport and he held the WBC middleweight title between 2011-2012.

Despite his obvious talent, a colourful past outside of the ring has often blighted the career of the enigmatic Mexican. Regular accusations of laziness from coaches, numerous spells of inactivity, failed drug tests and plenty of cancelled fights have somewhat tarnished his reputation in recent years.

Both men are now in their thirties and have both competed as professionals for well over a decade. It is no secret that they are both fast approaching the final stages of their respective careers and at this point, a loss for either would very likely signal the end of the road. To their credit, both fighters have fought the best the middleweight division has to offer which gives us something of a yard stick to predict this fight.

The opponent who features on both fighters’ record is Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (widely viewed as one of the best fighters on the planet) and he beat both men over the twelve-round distance. Jacobs undoubtedly pushed the Mexican superstar closer, losing by just two rounds on two judges scorecards. Chavez Jr, however, failed to win a single round on any of the judges’ scorecards and never really looked interested in winning the fight.

In truth, this matchup is convenient for many reasons. It provides Jacobs with a credible name for his record whilst providing Chavez Jr with one last shot at making it back to world title contention. Also, from the perspective of the broadcaster in the USA (subscription based DAZN) it provides an opportunity to gain more numbers/subscribers in the American/Mexican market, where Chavez Jr remains a fans favourite, largely due to his heritage and his father’s achievements.

‘Miracle Man’ enters the fight as a huge (1/20) favourite with Chavez Jr (12/1). This is a fight of massive importance and a big performance here, will put the winner on the radar of the current champions heading into the new year. The favouritism for Jacobs looks justified, due to the fact that Jacob’s has only lost twice in the last nine years, against ‘Canelo’ and Gennady Golovkin, two future hall of fame middleweights. Chavez Jr is talented, but he has never operated at the same sort of level as the fighters who have beat Jacobs in the past and he would have to make dramatic improvements to reach that sort of level in this fight.

In all probability, the final outcome here depends on what version of Chavez Jr turns up. At his best, he would give Daniel Jacobs a lot to think about but it feels like a long time since we witnessed the best version of Chavez Jr. This will be his first competitive fight since early 2017, he did have a ring return this year when he knocked out the grossly overmatched, Evert Bravo, in under two minutes but it remains to be seen if that is enough preparation for a fight with someone like Daniel Jacobs.

At this stage, Jacobs could well be too fresh and ultimately too good for Chavez Jr. The inactivity of the Mexican is going to catch up with him at some stage and despite Jacobs not registering a knockout win since 2016, he still has an impressive knockout percentage of around 83% and it would be no surprise to see him recapture that power now he is up in weight and not suffering such a brutal weight cut, during fight week.

At (8/13) for the stoppage, Jacob looks short enough and although this may be the way to play, it may be worth digging a little deeper and Jacobs to win in rounds 7-12 (9/4) could be the way to play this one.

Chavez Jr, to his credit, has shown durability throughout his career and only been stopped inside the distance once, up at light heavyweight. He may have the toughness and ability to make this competitive early on, but if the inactivity takes its toll towards the back end of the fight, he will tire and Jacobs has shown in the past that he knows how to close the show early, given the opportunity.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
Back Jacobs to win between rounds 7-12 2.5 pts @ 9/4 with

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