As Daniel Jacobs faces middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on May 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the most cynical observers of the sport will note that Jacobs is already down a few rounds on the scorecards.
While that is certainly hyperbole, it's difficult to overlook some favorable judging that the Mexican superstar has received throughout his career, and specifically in Las Vegas.
In addition to his two bouts with Gennady Golovkin (from which he walked away with a draw in 2017 and a contentious majority decision in September), there was also his razor-thin split-decision victory against Erislandy Lara in 2014. And even though he was completely neutralized versus Floyd Mayweather in 2013, judge C.J. Ross infamously ruled that fight a draw, which hastened her exit from the sport.
So the question is, can the native of Brooklyn win a decision in "Sin City"?
"We don't know, my job is to go in there and do what I have to do," said Jacobs on Monday night in Los Angeles, as the event's three-city press tour wrapped up after prior stops in New York City and Mexico City. "Obviously, we want to put attention on the judges so everyone is accountable for it. Canelo is a big entity for the sport of boxing, he has that effect.
"But my job, as my trainer said, is to go in there and have the mentality like, 'You don't get paid for overtime.' So if I can make sure that I have a decisive win, win every round, or put it in my hands to create a knockout, that's the game plan."
Trainer Andre Rozier was asked if he would press Jacobs to win rounds in more convincing fashion in a close fight. His answer was interrupted by Jacobs, who asked, "Why is this even a thing?"
Based on past scorecards that have been highly questionable and eroded the credibility of the sport, it is.
"Absolutely, of course, I get it," admitted Jacobs, who comes into this fight as the defending IBF middleweight belt-holder. "It should be recognized now, but it shouldn't be a thing to begin with. This should be a fair sport where the best man wins -- not the best man who has the most influence on the sport.
"I just hate that it even exists. But knowing that, I'm going to go in the fight and take things into my control and win decisively so there's no controversy," said Jacobs.
During this press tour, Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), hasn't been afraid to say certain things that have angered Alvarez, who believes that Jacobs is already lining up alibis. But Jacobs believes he's just stating the obvious.
"I know Canelo alluded to me as making excuses, but it's not really making excuses, it's bringing attention to an issue (judging). If it's not an issue, tell me it's not an issue and I won't go forward. But we know through the history of boxing, the history of Canelo's career, it has been an issue. So for me bringing attention to it, it's not me complaining, because I truly in my heart feel like I can beat Canelo."
Jacobs also believes that Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) lost both of his bouts to Golovkin, which has rankled Canelo.
"I think he's given me credit for beating Golovkin, he's been on record saying that he thought I won the fight," explained Jacobs, referring to his 2017 battle with Golovkin, where he lost a close unanimous decision. "And for me not to give him the credit for beating Golovkin, I think that's probably where the problem is."
There's no doubting that the selection of the three judges will be bandied about by the two fight camps leading into this event. But when it's all said and done, this is a matchup between two elite middleweights.
"I'm feeling very confident, confidence is through the roof," said Jacobs, who since his loss to Golovkin has rebounded with victories over Luis Arias, Maciej Sulecki and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. "I know the magnitude (of this fight) is extremely high, but I feel this isn't my first rodeo."
Jacobs believes his 36 minutes with Golovkin prepared him for this opportunity.
"Tremendously," said the 32-year-old. "Anytime you can go 12 rounds with a guy with an amateur background, a champion, the heart and skill of Golovkin, it adds value to you. Whether that's experience or confidence, whatever the case may be, it was gained from the Golovkin fight."
Jacobs is not only athletic, but he can punch. There is more than one way that he can approach this fight. And according to his trainer, Jacobs has to be, well... Jacobs
"Danny has to be what Danny always has been, an amalgamation of many styles, many capabilities," explained Rozier. "If Danny is what Danny has always been, one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, then look out, it's going to be a stellar performance out there. He can do all of it and I know he will do all of it, and when it's necessary, we might do other things. But he's ready to be exciting, that's what he does."
Rozier would love to see the more aggressive Canelo that was on his front foot, coming forward against Golovkin in their rematch back in September.
"I honestly would," he said. "Because he'd walk into fire each and every time. But I don't think that's going to happen. Danny is super aggressive and when he brings a storm, look out, lighting bolts and everything -- his thunder hurts. So you know what the lightning is going to do. And I don't think he's going to do that, I think Canelo's going to try his best to work the perimeter and he might even have us trying to catch up with him.
"But nonetheless, we're going to be ready for everything and we're going to give you guys the most exciting fight you've ever seen."
In Jacobs' view, while Alvarez has certainly faced a litany of quality fighters, he's never faced as complete a package as himself.
"Canelo has fought guys that are bigger, he's fought guys that are faster, or had better boxing ability -- but all three of those things in one night, I don't think he's faced before. So I think he's got a lot of challenges come May 4th."
Jacobs believes that all he needs now are three impartial judges.