Las Vegas (AFP) - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez bids to extend his dominance of the middleweight division here Saturday when he takes on Daniel Jacobs in an eagerly anticipated unification bout.
Mexican icon Alvarez is putting his World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council titles on the line when he faces Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena aiming to claim the American's International Boxing Federation belt.
Alvarez starts as a heavy favorite for a contest that has been notable for an absence of trash-talking and bad blood between its protagonists.
"I prefer to talk once I'm in the ring and my boxing will speak for itself," said Jacobs (35 wins, two losses, 29 knocouts).
"It has never been my intention in my lead-up to any fight to sort of create this animosity to sell the fight or to bash my opponent.
"Never have I ever wanted to do that. It has never been in my nature. I know that boxing is just a sport," added Jacobs, nicknamed "Miracle Man" after overcoming a rare form of bone cancer earlier in his career.
Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) has not fought since demolishing Britain's Rocky Fielding inside three rounds in December to claim the WBA super-middleweight title.
The 28-year-old is back at his preferred weight for Saturday's fight with Jacobs, who has notched three victories on points since a bruising 2017 defeat over 12 rounds against former champion Gennady Golovkin.
With the fight timed to coincide with Mexico's festive Cinco de Mayo weekend, Alvarez is expected to once again benefit from a large support in an arena he last graced when he defeated Golovkin by majority decision in September last year.
Alvarez also earned a controversial draw with Golovkin at the same venue a year earlier, a bout that Jacobs believed should have been awarded to the Kazakh champion.
- Spotlight on judges -
It has left Jacobs' handlers nervous about judging once again playing a pivotal role in Saturday's contest.
"There should be a spotlight on the judges," Jacobs manager Keith Connolly said.
"Why shouldn't there be a lot of scrutiny? I have confidence they'll do well. But they should be held to a high standard because if you're going to be involved in a mega fight, you have a fiduciary responsibility to do the right thing," Connolly added.
"For the fans, for the sport and most importantly for the fighters."
Alvarez, meanwhile, vowed to take the decision out of the judges hands.
"I'm ready, ready to beat him, ready to continue writing the story, as I've always done," the Mexican said.
"I'm a boxer who has been confronted with all boxing styles. Maybe he's bigger, but that does not bother me, I'm aiming for the knockout and I'm going to get it."
Saturday's fight is the second of a lucrative $365 million deal Alvarez signed with streaming company DAZN last October.
If successful on Saturday, Alvarez could next face American Demetrius Andrade, the WBO champion, or a money-spinning third fight with Golovkin to settle their rivalry.