Canelo’s face still damaged from GGG fight
By Mike Smith: Saul Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) is going into his fight with Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) this Saturday night with two facial cuts that are still not fully healed from his rematch with Gennady Golovkin three months ago on September 15. In looking at Canelo’s face, you can spot an unhealed nick under his right eye that can be an issue for him against Fielding. Further, if you look closely at Canelo’s left eye, a long scar can be seen above his left eyebrow. That’s the one that is most at risk of opening up quickly on Saturday night in the Fielding fight.
Canelo suffered a long deep cut over his eye in his rematch with GGG. Unfortunately, that kind of cut needs time to heal, and obviously Canelo has not had the time for it to close up sufficiently to where it won’t open right away under the pounding from Fielding’s powerful fists.
Although Alvarez says his cuts are not a problem for him, they could very well be if title fight against WBA super middleweight champion Fielding goes into the second half of the fight on Saturday night on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Fielding has already seen Canelo’s unhealed cuts up close, and he feels those are still very raw three months out from his hard fight against Golovkin last September. Canelo could be making a mistake in fighting so soon after his war with Golovkin. The cuts that Fielding first noticed on Canelo’s face when they begin promoting their fight a month ago are still there a day before the fight. They haven’t healed yet, and there’s a very good chance both of them will open up once the head-handed Fielding starts connecting to the face of Canelo on Saturday night.
The second fight between those two middleweights was not the technical battle that the first one was. Canelo made it a point to go right into the teeth of Golovkin’s offense for 12 rounds, wanting to prove a point after being called “a runner” by a lot of boxing fans for the way he avoided exchanging with GGG in their previous fight last year in September 2017.
“The first thing I saw were cuts from the Triple G fight which were still fresh,” Fielding said to skysports.com.
Alvarez was cut late in his fight with GGG last September. He didn’t have to deal with two bleeding cuts for an entire 12 round fight. Things could be different this time. If both cuts open up on Canelo’s face in the first three rounds, he’s going to be at risk of being stopped by Fielding. If the cuts get out of control with them both being deep, the ringside doctor might have no other option but to halt the fight. That’s the risk that Canelo seems to be willing to take. Canelo’s decision to jump back into the ring and fight just three months after his grueling rematch with GGG could be one that he regrets if he loses on cuts.
Even if the fight isn’t halted because of cuts, the bleeding could leak into Canelo’s eyes and handicap him on the night. Canelo being at a disadvantage due to cuts against a weak puncher like Amir Khan or a slow guy like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is one thing, but against a big puncher like Fielding, it could be bad for the Mexican star. The last thing Canelo needs is to be getting hit by Fielding with only partial vision in each eye on Saturday night. Once Fielding smells blood in the water, he’s going to jump all over Canelo and fight harder than he always is to try and end it. This is Fielding’s Super Bowl. He’s already motivated beyond belief to take advantage of this opportunity and win. If Canelo starts bleeding from his unhealed cuts, Fielding will look to finish him off in the same way he did former World Boxing Association ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Tyron Zeuge last July.
Canelo doesn’t see his cuts as a weakness for him, saying to skysports.com, “No, these are things that happen. We are ready for Saturday.”
Canelo’s trainers Eddy & Chepo Reynoso are going to want him to try and box Fielding as much as possible and not brawl with him the way he was with Golovkin in their rematch. It’ll be a mistake for Canelo to brawl with Fielding from the earliest moments of the contest. If Canelo slugs with the hard punching Fielding early in the fight, it’s going to increase the likelihood of the cuts opening right away rather than later on in the fight. The cuts will open. That’s almost a certainty. The only question is how soon will the scar tissue over Canelo’s eyes tear, starting the blood flow. There’s a chance that Canelo could knockout Fielding early in the fight the way that Callum Smith did in stopping him in the 1st round in 2015, but that’s unlikely.
Canelo isn’t a super middleweight, and he’s not a fighter that throws sustained combinations. Canelo gets tired after throwing three or four punches in a row, and he tends back off and take rest breaks. Counter punchers like Canelo don’t throw sustained flurries, because they’re always worried about getting hit. If Canelo can’t throw a flurry of shots to try and get Fielding out of there, then the fight will almost surely go the 12 rounds. The only fighter that has a true chance of getting a knockout in this fight is Fielding, and that’s due to Canelo’s unhealed cuts around both eyes.
After this fight, Canelo’s plans are to move back down to middleweight to defend his WBA/WBC 160 lb titles. That might not be an option for Alvarez if he loses to Fielding. Walking away from the Fielding fight as the loser is not an option for Canelo. He will need to fight Fielding again so that he can avenge the loss, and show his boxing fans that his loss was because of his cuts or fatigue from his previous fight against GGG three months ago.
“The idea, after this fight, is to go back to 160lbs,” said Canelo to Sky Sports.
If everything goes well for Canelo against Fielding, then of course he’ll move back down in weight to 160. Canelo’s career would likely be shortened if he stayed at super middleweight to fight the lions like Callum Smith, Jose Uzcategui, David Benavidez, George Groves, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez and Jesse Hart. Those are the most popular fighters at super middleweight, and there would be no way that Canelo could stay at 168 without fighting some or most of them. He would look silly holding the WBA secondary super middleweight title, and only defending it against weaker fighters and not against the best.
With all the damage to Canelo’s face from his last fight against Golovkin, it’s no wonder that Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya is ruling out a third fight between the two middleweight stars taking place in 2019. Canelo’s face could get ground up to hamburger if he keeps getting hit by Golovkin. It doesn’t matter that Canelo was never dropped by GGG, it was a grueling fight for him. Golden Boy wants to prolong his career at the top.