By Sean Jones: Former IBF/WBA middleweight champion Danny Jacobs and John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder are set to face off on DAZN on February 12th in a 12-round fight in the 168-lb weight class in London, England.
In a perfect world, the Jacobs vs. Ryder fight winner would face highly talented Cuban WBA secondary super middleweight champion David Morrell Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs) for his title. Still, he’s probably not the guy either of those two is targeting.
The money champion at 168 is Canelo Alvarez, who may not be the best in the weight class, but he is the most possible.
This writer views David Benavidez as #1, Davis Morrell Jr. as #2, and Canelo at #3 in the 168-lb division. Morrell isn’t popular like Canelo, so he’s not the one Jacobs and Ryder hope to fight.
Jacobs-Ryder winner enters in the Canelo lottery
Matchroom putting together a Jacobs vs. Ryder fight will help increase subscribers to the app in the UK but probably work in the opposite direction for U.S boxing fans.
Unfortunately, the 33-year-old Ryder isn’t high on the list for American fans who want to watch on DAZN at super middleweight. For that matter, Jacobs isn’t too high on the list either, as he looks played out and unmotivated in two performances since 2019.
The winner of the Jacobs-Ryder clash will be in a position to challenge undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez if he returns to the division.
Of those two, Canelo would probably jump at the chance to fight the light-hitting Ryder because it would be an easy money fight similar to the four feeble champions the Mexican star beat to become the undisputed belt-holder at 168 with his wins over these fighters:
- Rocky Fielding
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Caleb Plant
- Callum Smith
Canelo vs. Ryder would be a terrible fight, but the match would be similar to the ones we’ve seen from the Mexican star since 2018, with him focusing on capturing belts against the little-known 168-lb champions from England.
Jacobs has looked poor lately
Jacobs, 34, has won his last two fights since moving up to 168 uninspired performances against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Gabriel Rosado in headliners on DAZN. Despite the fans’ lack of enthusiasm for Jacob’s last two fights, DAZN is bringing him back for another headliner fight against Britain’s Ryder. To be sure, it’s a highly questionable move on DAZN’s part because neither of these guys is likely to attract new subscribers to the platform.
If one of these guys were popular, that would be enough to attract new subscribers, but with both of them lacking popularity, this fight is pure poison and would be better off buried deep on an undercard out of sight from fans.
Recently, there had been discussions of the soon-to-be 35-year-old Jacobs moving up to 175 and being given a world title shot against WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. It’s unclear what happened with that fight.
From Jacobs’ perspective, it’s better that he didn’t take the fight with the hard-hitting Smith Jr. because it likely would have ended badly for him, particularly with his unimaginative performances in the last two years. Smith Jr. isn’t the type of fighter you want to face if you’re not fighting on all cylinders.
Also, Jacobs likely hopes to be given a rematch with Canelo, which would be another massive payday for him. If Jacobs were to face Joe Smith Jr, he could forget about getting a second fight against Canelo if he gets knocked out by the 175-lb champion.
Ryder NOT a household name in the U.S
It could be a mistake on DAZN’s part, as Ryder isn’t a household name in the States. Jacobs has taken a lot of criticism from boxing fans for his lifeless performances against the badly faded 35-year-old Chavez Jr and Rosado.
After the way Jacobs fought in those two fights, the only logical fights that would make sense to bring him back for a headliner on DAZN would be against a good contender or champion like one of these guys:
- David Morrell Jr.
- Demetrius Andrade
- David Benavidez
I can’t see Jacobs beating any of those guys, but those are the only fighters that DAZN should be giving the green light to bring him back for a headliner due to how bad he’s looked since his big payday fight against Canelo.
Canelo already defeated Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) by a narrow 12 round unanimous decision in May 2019, so it’s very doubtful that he’ll entertain the idea of giving him a rematch that the boxing would have ZERO interest in seeing.
Of course, Canelo might take a rematch with Jacobs anyway because he doesn’t seem to focus too on fighting the guys that the U.S fans want to see him compete against anymore.
‘The Gorilla’ Ryder (30-5, 17 KOs) has a two-fight winning streak since losing a questionable points decision to former WBA light heavyweight champion Callum Smith in November 2019 in a fight boxing fans felt that Ryder should have won.
With the Jacobs-Ryder fight in London, the British fighter Ryder will have a lot of fan support for this one.