They were respectful all week, trading criticism for compliments and smack talk for salutations leading up to their middleweight unification title bout Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
But when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs shared the stage Friday at the arena — where both made the 160-pound weight limit — the bad blood finally started to boil.
If for only about 20 seconds.
The two champion boxers were restrained by their camps during a stare-down following weigh-ins after Alvarez nudged Jacobs’ forehead and Jacobs lunged back. The scores of fans in attendance roared, and the altercation served as the only significant display of emotion from either fighter throughout the course of the promotion.
Even then, nothing too serious.
The WBC, WBA and IBF world titles will be on the line at T-Mobile, though. And so will pride and pound-for-pound supremacy between the top two fighters in the middleweight division.
“Emotions flying high. I ain’t never backed down from a challenge in my life,” Jacobs, a native of Brooklyn, New York, said from the stage. “I never have, and I never will.”
Alvarez countered a minute or two later.
“He’s afraid. That is pure fear,” the Mexican boxer said through an interpreter, adding a vulgar insult in Spanish. “That was fear right there that he did.”
Jacobs arrived first to a barrage of boos and weighed in at 160 pounds. Alvarez arrived to cheers shortly after and weighed in at 159.5.
The fighters will check their weight again at 8 a.m. Saturday, per the terms of a contractual rehydration clause requested by Alvarez’s camp and agreed upon by Jacobs. They cannot exceed more than 170 pounds and will face significant fines if they do.
Fair game after that.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I feel like I’m the best middleweight in the world,” Jacobs said, again announcing his intention to claim the unified middleweight title. “That (expletive) … he’s going to get it tomorrow.”
Alvarez offered one final retort.
“He won’t be capable,” he said.
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Tale of the tape
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Record: 51-1-2 (35 KOs)
Reach: 71 inches
Record: 35-2 (29 KOs)
Reach: 74 inches