By Mike Smith: Saul Canelo Alvarez weighed in at 167.4 pounds on Friday at his weigh-in for his title fight against WBA secondary super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) for their first fight on DAZN this Saturday night at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York. Fielding, 31, weighed in at slightly more than Canelo at 167.6 lbs. During the face off, Fielding towered over Canelo, and it looked like two guys that belonged two divisions apart, not one.
Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) is the smaller fighter, but the odds-makers have still installed him as a big favorite to beat Fielding to take his WBA super middleweight title on Saturday night on DAZN. The start time is at 8:00 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden in New York. If Canelo is successful in beating Fielding, it’s hard not to picture him returning to the super middleweight division in the future to challenge one of the other world champions. Canelo, of course, has no intention of keeping the WBA ‘regular’ 168 lb title that he gets off Fielding on Saturday. Canelo’s only interest in winning the WBA super middleweight title is for his legacy. Canelo doesn’t want to try and hold onto it and have to deal with the hardship that would come from having to defend the belt against the likes of Fedor Chudinov, George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. That’s not to say that Canelo couldn’t potentially beat all three of those guys, but the chances of him losing would increase proportionally against those fighters. What Canelo is doing in facing Fielding is the equivalent of fishing in a catch and release manner. Canelo doesn’t want to keep the WBA 168 lb title, as it would be like a hot potato for him. It would be a lot of work for Canelo to keep the belt.
This is Fielding’s first defense of his WBA title he won last July in beating Tyron Zeuge by a 5th round knockout.
The closeness of the weights of the two fighters don’t mean a whole lot. Fielding will likely rehydrate into the 180s by tomorrow evening, and Canelo will almost surely be in the 170s. Fielding will have a weight advantage for what it’s worth. His lack of speed and boxing skills will render his size advantage as a useless statistic.
Canelo is too short even for the middleweight division. Fortunately for Camelo, he hasn’t been tested against any of the taller fighters at middleweight like the 6’0′ Jermall Charlo, 6’1″ Demetrius Andrade and 5’11” Daniel Jacobs. Canelo recently beat the 5’10 1/2″ Gennady Golovkin, and even he looked a lot taller. By the way, Canelo’s two fights against GGG were both controversial with majority of boxing fans seeing him for the most part as the loser.
Fielding, 6’1″, will be enjoying a 5 inch height and reach advantage over the 5’8″ Canelo. Normally that would be more than enough for Fielding to win the fight, considering that are virtually no fighters that are 5’8″ in the upper levels of the super middleweight division in this day and age. However, Fielding is what many boxing fans refer to as a paper champion, and not the real thing. In other words, Fielding is a flawed fighter, and more of a contender level guy than a world champion.
Canelo chooses to move up to 168 instead of defending 160 lb titles. Why?
The reason why Canelo chose to move up in weight for the fight against Fielding is for selfish reasons. Canelo wants to win a third division world title to help his legacy in boxing. Although Canelo is still young at only 28-years-old, he’s already thinking about his legacy for after he retires from boxing. Some fans think it’s ridiculous for Canelo to be focusing on his legacy now by winning titles against secondary champions like the 31-year-old Fielding. The fans want to see Canelo fight the better fighters in the sport, not the weakest champions in what some believe is just another cherry pick for the Mexican star. Had Canelo stayed at middleweight for his December fight, he would have been pressured to defend his World Boxing Council 160 lb title against interim WBC champion Jermall Charlo, who is his mandatory. Canelo holds the WBA and WBC 160 lb titles after beating Gennady Golovkin by a controversial 12 round majority decision on September 15. It was a hard fight that could have gone either way. Canelo insists that he deserved the victory, and he wants GGG to accept his defeat.
Canelo’s cuts from second GGG fight could be a problem
Canelo has been making light of the long jagged cut that he sustained over his left eye in his rematch with Gennady Golovkin last September. Canelo, 28, insists that the cut won’t fact into the results of his title challenge against Fielding. The smart thing for Canelo have done with that kind of a cut would have been for him to rest until May 2019 before he fought again, but he wanted to get back in the ring to ensure that he fought twice in 2018. Canelo couldn’t fight last May on the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend like he wanted do because he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for six months because of his positive tests for clenbuterol.
Canelo says his two cuts are healed, and that he’s ready to go. Fielding begs to differ. He sees Canelo’s 2 cuts as being still in the healing stage, and he’s surprised that he’s fighting this early following his hard rematch with GGG last September. Besides Canelo wanting to make sure he gets at least two fights in 2018, another reason for him coming back for his December 15 fight against Fielding could be that he wants to put on a show for DAZN, who recently signed him to a lucrative 5-year, 11-fight, $365 million contract. With that kind of money that DAZN is paying Canelo, it’s no surprise that he wants to get inside the ring to fight so soon for them. In other words, Canelo wants to start earning the money that he’s been given by DAZN.
Canelo had been signed with HBO for several years, but they dropped out of the boxing business, which forced the Mexican star to look for another broadcast partner to team with. DAZN now has arguably the biggest star in boxing in the U.S. DAZN wants to add Golovkin as the second cog in their machine for boxing, but it’s not going to be easy given the monstrous contract the streaming service gave to Canelo. To get Golovkin to sign with DAZN, they’ll need to give him similar money as Canelo, and it’s unclear whether they’re willing to tie up all that money for just two fighters. Golovkin is an older fighter as well, and he might not have more than a small handful of fights left in his career before he hangs up his gloves But he’s not going to be happy at getting far less than Canelo if DAZN fails to offer him similar money.
Canelo wants Golovkin to accept his defeat to him, and admit it. The problem with that is Canelo was viewed as the loser in his first fight with Golovkin in September 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canelo never admitted that he should have given the defeat in a fight that the judges scored as a controversial draw. If Canelo wants Golovkin to do as he says but not as he does, then he comes across as a giant hypocrite in the process. Canelo should have taken the high road after his first fight with Golovkin and agreed with the boxing public that he lost the fight. To expect Golovkin to admit that he lost the second fight is lunacy on Alvarez’s part, given the stance he took towards his first fight with him. If Canelo admitted now that he clearly lost the first fight with Golovkin, it might help him to get the Kazakhstan fighter to agree that he should have lost the second one. Since that’s not going to happen, GGG is never going to agree that he rightfully lost the second fight.
“He will keep talking and the answers were clear after the fight,” Canelo said to cbssports.com about Golovkin. “His trainer even recognized it but always they will keep talking and they will never accept the loss, especially because it was his first loss. Look, I know it’s tough. I understand. But he also needs to understand how the fight went. He needs to see it himself and see how he lost. And the trainer[Abel Sanchez] said it too and he needs to accept it as a man and accept the loss, Canelo said.
Canelo tested positive for clenbuterol twice while training for the rematch with GGG last February. Canelo blaming his positive tests on having eaten tainted beef seemed dubious in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, who saw that excuse by the Mexican star as highly suspect. Canelo’s change with his physical appearance with his physique suddenly looking highly muscular for his two fights against Golovkin and now for his fight against Fielding is also something that boxing fans wonder about. When a fighter tests positive for performance enhancing drugs, like Canelo did with clenbuterol, fans are naturally going to suspect that he’s using drugs/substances for the remainder of their careers. Canelo’s now highly muscular physique is just another thing that makes fans suspicious about him. Canelo’s subsequent six month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for clenbuterol after his 2 positive tests last February was seen as a slap on the hands by the boxing public. The fans felt that Canelo should have been given 12 month suspension for the positive tests.
Golovkin has made it clear that he sees Canelo as a drug cheat, and he’s not happy about his positive tests or the scoring for his two fights against him, both of which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golovkin had to wait three years for his first contest against Canelo, and then he had to wait another year for his second fight. This waiting game that Golovkin has had to endure to get the fights against Canelo is believed to be designed to age him to make him vulnerable to losing to the Mexican star, who is nine years younger than him. Golovkin now wants a third fight against Canelo, but he’s now being told that there will not be any third fight in 2019. Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions says there are no scheduled fights between Canelo and GGG in 2019. They’ll decide when they feel the time is right before they’ll let Canelo fight GGG. If Golden Boy chooses to wait until 2020 before letting Canelo fight Golovkin, then it would be 1 1/2 to 2 years between the second and third fight. That timeline plays into Canelo’s hands, since Golovkin will be 37-years-old in April. Canelo will still be only 28.
“All of these fighters want to fight me,” Canelo said to ESPN.com. “We’re here to make the best fights for the people. I’m here to fight anyone and everyone. I always characterize myself as someone who fights with the best fighters, to make the best fights for the people. If that’s a fight in the future and we must make it, then we’ll do it.”
Canelo did fight Golovkin when a lot of boxing fans thought he wouldn’t, but there are a lot of guys that he still hasn’t fought that are talented fighters. Canelo has faced plenty of weaker opposition that haven’t been viewed as being the best. Just looking at Canelo’s resume in the last four years, he’s fought a high number of guys that weren’t among the very best. Those fighters are as follows:
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The fighters that Canelo should have fought by now are these guys:
Canelo will be trying to take Fielding’s WBA title, but he’s not the main title holder with the WBA. Callum Smith is the WBA champion or at least he’s got the belt that counts with the boxing public. Canelo is going after the lesser of the two titles against the lesser champion. Fielding was knocked out in the 1st round by Callum Smith when he fought him in 2015. Although that fight was three years ago in 2015, it’s believed by many boxing fans that Smith would do the same thing to Fielding today if they were to fight a needless rematch.
Will Canelo fight Golovkin a third time?
Canelo is going to be fighting on May 4 next year. That much is clear. Golden Boy has booked the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for that date, which is the exact same venue where Alvarez has twice fought GGG in controversial contests with scoring that the boxing didn’t agree with. While the fans around the world want to see Canelo fight Golovkin a third time on the May 4 date, it’s up in the air whether that fight will take place. Golovkin could sign with one of the other broadcast platforms that has been trying to sign him. He’s met with Premier Boxing Champions and ESPN, as well as DAZN.
“I don’t know. I have no idea what [Golovkin is] doing or what he will do in his career, but I’m 100 percent focused on Rocky Fielding,” Canelo said to espn.com.
Canelo’s ambivalence towards a third fight with GGG could be by design. If Canelo shows too much eagerness towards a trilogy fight with Golovkin, it could make negotiating tougher. Golovkin was able to get a 55-45 split with Canelo for the rematch. GGG will likely want a similar deal for the third fight. Canelo getting the victory over Golovkin last time out could embolden him and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions to revert back to the 70-30 split that they got for the first fight with the Kazakhstan fighter. They might even go further than that by offering Golovkin a take it or leave it 75-25 split. That obviously wouldn’t work in helping them get the fight, but they might feel they absolute power now after Canelo’s win over GGG last September. It’s more likely than not that if a third fight between Canelo and GGG is to take place in 2019, it won’t happen until September 2019. By that time, Canelo will be facing tremendous pressure to finally defend his WBC title against Jermall Charlo. Canelo will need Golovkin more than anything at that time to put off the Charlo fight a little longer. Canelo has arguably been dodging Jermall for several years now since the two of them were both fighting at junior middleweight. If Canelo doesn’t fight David Lemieux on May 4, then it will likely be Daniel Jacobs on that date followed by Golovkin in September 2019, if he signs with DAZN. If Golovkin doesn’t sign with them, then it remains to be seen whether Canelo ever fights him again.