I’m hard pressed fathoming a bigger, more epic affair than boxing’s marquee fighter, Canelo Alvarez, squaring off against Rocky at Madison Square Garden. It’s Ali-Frazier I big, Mayweather-Pacquiao big and promises to please fans beyond the accompanying circus-like atmosphere. Unfortunately, Canelo won’t be battling the legendary motion picture prizefighter made famous by Sylvester Stallone, he’ll instead be facing the WBA super middleweight champion, Rocky Fielding, at Madison Square Garden. Obviously not as appealing, but there’s a degree of interest anytime Alvarez steps in the ring and such will be this case this Saturday night, December 15th, broadcast live on DAZN (7PM CST).
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KO’s) is taking a victory lap of sorts, fresh off another close, yet career best, career defining bout with Gennady Golovkin in September. Already a former unified titlist at 154 pounds and the lineal champion at 160, Alvarez lifted the WBA and WBC middleweight straps from Triple G. Not long after, HBO shocked the world announcing 2018 would be the end of their boxing broadcasting road, after 45 brilliant years, and with that went Canelo’s exclusive rights contract with the network. All the elite pugilistic promotional entities took turns wooing and seducing the Mexican icon, but in the end, he signed with DAZN, fronted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Oscar dela Hoya, ever by Canelo’s side, will convert Golden Boy Promotions into Golden Boy Media and Entertainment under the terms of the contract, a 5-year, 11 fight, $365 million agreement. It’s the most lucrative athletic contract in the history of sports, surpassing the 13-year, $325 mil negotiated between the New York Yankees and slugger, Giancarlo Stanton. In his challenge of Fielding, Alvarez is aiming to join Mexican legends Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and others as 3-weight world champions.
Michael “Rocky” Fielding (27-1, 15 KO’s) weighed 10 pounds at birth and was summarily nicknamed “The Rock” by his father. He’s living a story book, rags-to-riches existence rivaling the big screen versions, beginning with a title shot in July that came out of nowhere, on five-week notice. WBA super middleweight belt holder, Tyron Zeuge, needed an opponent, in stepped Fielding and five rounds later he was a world champion who’d finally made something of an otherwise meh career. And just as Rocky was under the impression he was living his best life, it got better; he got the call to defend against Canelo Alvarez, a smaller, shorter man, for more money than he’ll ever make in his life. No one cared when Rocky decisioned Karel Horejsek in March of this year, now he’s headlining a championship fight at Madison Square Garden, with the collective eyes of the boxing world upon him. It’s a journey fit for a movie.
Analogies and plays on words aside, there’s only one way to script Canelo vs. Rocky; Alvarez by KO. Though roughly half a foot shorter than the 6’1 Fielding, Canelo’s almost always the shorter man on fight night, it’s not foreign to him. His gap in skill, talent and big-fight experience cancels the height advantage anyways. Fielding is more awkward than polished; he holds his guard in an uncertain, doubtful manner, much like an inexperienced amateur. He’s also a sucker for a right hand and tends to cover up from shots too soon, completely blinding himself from the incoming. The ones you don’t see hurt the most, and this was painfully displayed to Fielding in his only loss, a 1st round defeat at the hands of Callum Smith. Rocky has heart and fights back hard when hurt, the problem is it’s not hard to hurt him. Canelo’s considerably quicker handed and will easily feint Rocky into counters. Rumors are floating of Canelo-Triple G III in May and this is Alvarez’s inaugural bout with DAZN. They’ve done their homework and handpicked the right guy. Running flights of stairs, punching ribs in a meat factory won’t matter, “Yo Adrian”, Canelo’s knocking Rocky out in 3-5 rounds max.