Canelo vs Jacobs: Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez came back stronger from humbling loss to Floyd Mayweather
Watch Canelo vs Jacobs from 12.30am in early hours of Sunday morning live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action
By Chris Walker
Last Updated: 02/05/19 6:36pm
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's humbling defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather fuelled his desire for title glory ahead of his unification clash with Daniel Jacobs.
As an industrious multi-tasker at one of boxing's most thriving promotional groups, Eric Gomez, President at Golden Boy Boxing, knows a talent when he sees one.
A constant companion of Saul Alvarez since the Mexican joined Oscar De La Hoya's company in 2010 after excelling in the tough environment of his unforgiving homeland, Gomez is positioned brilliantly to pass comment on the middleweight icon. After laying a crucial role in the development of Alvarez, as both a fighter and a brand, Gomez reflects on his first liaison with the ginger-haired sensation.
"I was very impressed," enthuses Gomez. "At that time, when he was 16-years-old, we worked with a couple of stablemates of his that were world champions. One of them being Oscar Larios, who was the long-time super-bantamweight champion for the WBC and the other one was Javier Jauregui who was the IBF lightweight champion, and both those fighters, at the time when they were champions, they used to spar with 'Canelo', and 'Canelo' was only 15, 16 years-old.
"But when I first met him, he was 16-years-old, and what impressed was that he was very mature for his age, and at that age he was able to hold his own in sparring when he fought both of them. He was sparring with both of them and he was doing very well."
Gomez's role in transferring Alvarez's potential to a bona fide sporting superstar has been a lengthy process meticulously planned to precision. A feature on Floyd Mayweather undercards ensured Alvarez would be granted exposure on boxing's grandest stage and when world titles began to accompany his bulging profile, it appeared inevitable that Alvarez was on the verge of carrying boxing's mainstream burden that was being hoisted effortlessly by both Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
In 2013, Alvarez was given the opportunity to displace Mayweather as the face of boxing, but he received a harsh lesson as he was left mesmerised by the Michigan master, but Gomez is insistent that Canelo's only career loss has moulded him into a superior champion.
"He learned from it. He felt embarrassed and he hates losing. Just like any great champion, or any great athlete, they hate to lose. It really fuelled the fire and it motivated him. It made him a better fighter.
"We tend to see that in young fighters that are undefeated and they get that first loss. The greats or the real champions, they come back even better and stronger, and the contenders, they don't. They stay at that stage and they just don't get better, but Canelo he just took it to another level after that fight."
With the Mayweather defeat very much in his rear-view mirror as he continued on boxing's unpredictable and daunting highway, Alvarez switched his focus to the middleweight division and quickly became the top fighter there as he narrowly outpointed Miguel Cotto in a classic Mexico-Puerto Rico battle.
Debate raged wildly throughout the sport regarding the outcome of a potential clash between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, and after a controversial draw in September 2017, Alvarez claimed a win over the Kazakh sensation one year later. With all eyes now on imminent foe, Daniel Jacobs, Gomez is excited about the challenge posed by the stylish New Yorker.
"He knows he's fighting a top guy. He knows it's a dangerous fight. He knows that this is a real challenge, that one mistake can end it all. It's not just about working hard, he's going to have to really think in that ring, because Jacobs will make him think.
"Jacobs is an all-round fighter, he probably is a lot better than Golovkin style-wise. He's going to have to fight differently and give a good performance to beat Jacobs, because he's not going to be able to pin him down. He's going to have to fight a lot better than he did with Golovkin.
"In this fight with Jacobs, he's going to have to go looking for him, and then he's going to have to know when to go back as well, because Jacobs, he'll attack you, and then he'll use angles, and he'll box around you. Canelo is going to have to be at 100 per cent for this fight."
Watch Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from 12.30am in the early hours of Sunday morning on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.