Canelo Alvarez stops Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: December 17, 2018
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - This past weekend the world’s most famous arena welcomed boxing’s current most renowned pugilist when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) stepped inside the ring against the United Kingdom’s Rocky Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs). The 28-year old Alvarez would be making his first foray into the super middleweight (168) division as he challenged for Fielding’s WBA title and making his New York debut at Madison Square Garden.
The event ended up becoming a sell out filling the arena with 20,112 boxing fans. While a quality opponent for Alvarez will still matter when it comes to his positioning as one of the best fighters in the world, at this point of his career his fights are cultural events that will bring in fans and celebrities no matter whom he fights. Much like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather before him, Alvarez will take over the boxing media whenever he fights. All eyes will be on him from this point forward.
From the ringing of the first bell, it was clear that Fielding’s physical advantages such as being 6’1 compared to Alvarez’s 5’8 and holding a five-inch reach advantage would not be a factor. Alvarez was able to get to work being the aggressor pushing Fielding backward immediately. The young Mexican is known for being one of the best combination punchers in the sport and arguably the premier body puncher in all of boxing. Alvarez’s full arsenal was put on display against Fielding.
In the first round, it looked like the fight was going to end quickly when Alvarez landed a body shot that would have kept most fighters on the canvas to take the referee’s full ten count. To Fielding’s credit, he was able to get back up and continue to throw punches. However, the U.K. fighter had no power behind his punches giving Alvarez no reason not to keep pushing forward.
The second round was not much better for Fielding who was once again dropped to his knees from an Alvarez blow to the body. In the third round, Alvarez scored two more knockdowns with a right hand up top and with another body shot. Referee Ricky Gonzalez put a halt to the bout at the 2:38 mark of the third round.
Alvarez is one of the few fighters in the sport of boxing who can pick and choose the opponent he wants to face next. Now that he holds the “Regular” version of the WBA super middleweight title, it opens a new slot of fighters for him to choose from. The current holder of the “Super” version of the WBA super middleweight title is Callum Smith who is also from the United Kingdom. Smith earlier this year won the super middleweight portion of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, and he holds the distinction of having given Fielding the first loss of his career via a first round stoppage.
The other titleholders at super middleweight include WBO champion, Gilberto Ramirez, who is promoted by Top Rank. An All-Mexican super middleweight showdown between Alvarez and Ramirez would do big at the box office in any market with a large Mexican contingent such as California or Texas. However, Alvarez still has some unfinished business in the middleweight division.
At middleweight there awaits the third bout with Gennady Golovkin. Potential title unification bouts against IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs or WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade. Alvarez still has a WBC mandatory with former junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, who potentially could be the most dangerous opponent for him.
2018 has brought plenty of significant changes to the sport of boxing. It will be interesting to see the direction Alvarez takes in 2019 with his pick of the litter in two weight classes.
(Featured Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing)