Canelo ready for risky fight against Fielding
By Allan Fox: Saul Canelo Alvarez is moving up to the 168 lb division this Saturday night to take on Rocky Fielding for his WBA super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s Canelo’s first and possibly his last fight at 168. Although there are plenty of fighters in the weight class that are interested in fighting the 5’8″ Canelo, he wants to go back down to 160 where his lack of size is less of an issue for him. Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) wants a knockout of Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) so that he can sow the fans that he can beat guys bigger than himself.
It’s a big deal for Canelo that he’s fighting for a third division world title. He’d like for the victory to be a memorable one, and there’s no better way of doing that by scoring a knockout.
“That’s the risk. To be moving up in weight to fight someone who’s used to fighting stronger fighters, used to taking stronger punches,” Alvarez said to Omnisport. “I know the challenge but I like the challenge and I’m happy for it.”
Canelo beat previously unbeaten former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision last September. Canelo could have taken the remainder of the year off to savor his victory over GGG, but he decided to get back into the ring to challenge Fielding for his WBA secondary super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden. Canelo doesn’t like that the odds-makers are completely overlooking the bigger 6’1″ Fielding and making him a big underdog. Canelo sees the fight as a tough one, and a fight that could end badly if he’s not on his A-game on Saturday.
“Perhaps many don’t give the credit to Fielding that he deserves, but he is a world champion for a reason,” Canelo said. “I know the challenge that I have in front of me. I know I have a tough fight, but I like the challenge.”
Canelo is fighting a bigger guy in 6’1″ Fielding. The British fighter has next to no pressure on him coming into the fight since he’s such a big underdog with the bettors. Fielding has been written off by almost everyone but himself. He knows he’s going up against one of the best fighters in boxing in facing the 28-year-old Alvarez, but he doesn’t care. Fielding wants to test himself against the best. Canelo isn’t a super middleweight though, and he would be the first to admit it. There are certain guys at 168 that Canelo would likely not want to tangle with. Fielding has been deemed safe for Canelo, but you never know though. What seems like a safe pick for the Mexican star could turn out to be a nightmare for him.
Fielding is coming off of a career best win over Tyron Zeuge in stopping him in the 5th last July.
When a small fighter moves up in weight, it’s difficult to know for certain how the fight is going to end up. Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya started his career out at super featherweight, and won world titles at 130, 135, 140, 147, 154 and 160. However, De La Hoya ran into problems when he fought Bernard Hopkins at middleweight. De La Hoya found out that he lacked the true size to beat Hopkins. The 5’8″ Canelo’s situation is even worse than the 5’10 1/2″ De La Hoya, since he doesn’t have his height.
With all the punishing blows Canelo took in his two fights against Golovkin, he’s going to need to minimize the shots he takes against Fielding on Saturday.
“Winning by KO is always something that one wants and what one looks for,” Canelo said.
Unfortunately for Canelo, a knockout is the only way he’s going to get credit for beating Fielding. The reason for that is Fielding isn’t well thought of at 168. He’s a world champion, but he’s not seen as someone that deserves to be a belt holder. Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions have been doing a great job of building up Fielding, but the fact of the matter is the boxing world doesn’t rate him as a champion. The casual boxing fans don’t know who Fielding is in the U.S, so he’s no different from any obscure contender or journeyman level fighter that Canelo could have fought.
Canelo wants to be viewed as having accomplished something special by beating Fielding on Saturday night to become a three-division world champion, but he’s not going to get that credit. Fielding is seen as no different from past over-matched opponents that Canelo has fought like Alfredo Angulo, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Amir Khan, James Kirkland and Liam Smith. That’s why it’s always better for Canelo to fight someone that is considered to be a super talent in any given division. If Canelo wanted to win a world title at super middleweight, it would have been better for him to have chosen WBA ‘Super World’ super middleweight champion Callum Smith. Beating Smith would give Canelo a massive amount of appreciation from the boxing world.
“I know who he is, I’ve trained very hard, I know the challenge I have in front of me,” Canelo said in talking about the 6’1″ Fielding. “I know that I have a tough fight but I like challenges and I know we’re going to make history. I’m ready for that.”
It could be tough for Canelo if Fielding is able to use his size and fight on the outside. If Fielding gets in close, he might be countered into oblivion by Canelo, and that would be bad news for the British fighter. He’s got good boxing skills, but he’s not cut out to be fighting in close against a counter puncher like Canelo. It’s really difficult to hit Canelo with head shots, and Fielding is a head-hunter first and foremost. He’ll need to change that on Saturday night for him to be able to land his shots against the always elusive Canelo. Golovkin was able to land some big head shots late in his two fights with Canelo, but he couldn’t lay a glove on him early on.
Canelo comes into the fight with Fielding with just one loss on his record from his defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr. five years ago in 2013. Although many boxing fans feel that Canelo deserved losses in both GGG fights, an well as in his matches against Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, he’s been able to get through those fights without losing. It’s not easy to beat Canelo. He’s popular in the United States, and you can argue that counts for four or five rounds on the score cards right off the bat. If a popular fighter like GGG could’t get a decision over Canelo, then it might be a waste of effort for Fielding to beat him by that route. Fielding will have go to war with Canelo, throw tons of punches, and not let him get a second of rest if he wants to beat him. If the fight goes to the scorecards, then Fielding will likely wind up as the loser. He’s going to have to go after Canelo from start to the bitter finish, and make sure the judges don’t get a chance to score the fight. If Fielding doesn’t want to wind up like GGG, he needs to KO Canelo.