By Sean Jones: Golden Boy Promotions head boss Oscar De La Hoya is predicting a knockout for his flagship fighter Saul Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) over WBA World super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) this Saturday night on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York. While De La Hoya maintains that it’s not going to be an easy match for the 28-year-old Canelo, who is coming off of easily the toughest fight of his career in his rematch with Gennady Golovkin last September, he still sees his Mexican start stopping the British fighter Fielding in the 9th or 10th round on Saturday night.
It’s important to De La Hoya that Canelo not slip on a banana skin and lose this fight, as there are a lot of big fights out there for him in 2019. De La Hoya doesn’t want Canelo to have invest time fighting Fielding in a rematch to avenge a loss.
“I’m not promoting this fight [Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding] as the most difficult, but it’s not going to be the easiest,” De La Hoya said to TMZ about this Saturday’s fight between WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding and Canelo. “Canelo moving up in weight, it’s going to be tough. But he should hopefully knock him out within 9, 10 rounds, we’re hoping,” De La Hoya said.
Fielding, 31, says he’s motivated by the oddsmakers picking him to lose to Canelo. He says he’s going to use that as a tool to help energize him and drive him to victory over the much smaller 5’8″ Alvarez. Fielding, 6’1″, will have a big height advantage, and likely a weight advantage a well. It won’t how heavy Canelo comes into the fight, he’s not going to be a natural 180+ lb fighter like Fielding. The guy with the bigger frame will be Fielding no matter how much bulk Canelo has added to his frame in a short period of time since his controversial 12 round majority decision win over GGG in their second fight three months ago on September 15 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Canelo can’t get close enough to land his shots on Fielding, he’s going to have to depend on winning rounds by landing a small handful of shots rather than being the one that lands more punches. That’s how Canelo won rounds against Golovkin. Canelo was never as busy as GGG in landing shots, but the judges gave more value to his 1 to 3 hard punches landed per round over the many head-snapping jabs that Golovkin was connecting with. In the second Canelo-GGG fight last September, Golovkin wasn’t landing a lot of power shots, but the ones he did connect with were doing damage to Canelo. The Mexican star was hurt in the 10th and 11th rounds by uppercuts and looping right hands from GGG.
“Most importantly, he’s going to be fighting at the mecca of boxing at The Garden [Madison Square], so it’s pretty cool,” De La Hoya said about Canelo. “It would derail everything,” De La Hoya said about a loss for Canelo to Fielding. “As I have my hands in my pockets, I’m crossing my fingers. It could be, Man,” De La Hoya said when asked if we could be seeing a Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas type scenario on Saturday with Canelo suffering big upset loss to Fielding. “I just saw that fight yesterday, and I was thinking about Canelo-Rocky. So, we’ll see. You never know in boxing,” De La Hoya said.
Fielding has the power to change a fight’s complexion in an instant. We saw that last July in his title fight against former WBA World super middleweight champion Tyron Zeuge (23-1-1, 13 KOs) on July 14 at Baden-Arena, Offenburg, Germany. Fielding was getting out-boxed and outworked in the first four rounds against the 26-year-old Zeuge, but he then turned it on with a blizzard of power shots in the 5th round and forced a stoppage. Once Fielding started unloading with his power shots, he forced Zeuge to cover up, and he then preceded to bludgeon him into submission. The way that Fielding was punching, wasn’t going to get tired of hitting Zeuge in the head with power shots in the 5th. Something had to give, and that was Zeuge. Since Canelo likes to fight off the ropes due to his poor stamina, we’ll likely see him to that on Saturday night on a frequent basis. Of course, you can’t know for sure if Canelo has suddenly fixed his conditioning issues that has plagued him his entire 13-year pro career.
Against Golovkin in their rematch last September, Canelo’s stamina looked completely different from all of his other fights during his career. Canelo seemingly never got tired for an instant. It was like watching a completely different fighter. It’s unclear what Canelo did to improve his conditioning for the GGG rematch. Whatever it was, he should have done that a long time ago. Canelo has always been a fighter that needed frequent rest breaks against the ropes after he’d throw three or four punches. Canelo’s face would turn red, he’d start breathing heavily, and he would need to retreat to the ropes. In the rematch with GGG, we didn’t see that from Canelo. He never got tired, and he didn’t need to rest against the ropes. Canelo passed all the drug tests after the fight, so no one can point fingers at him and suggest that he was getting extra help chemically to improve his stamina. It just looked like Canelo had worked on his cardio a lot more for the second fight with Golovkin than he ever had before. Being in great shape might not be enough for Canelo to defeat Fielding. The reach and height are going to a problem for Canelo on Saturday. He’ll need to find a way to get in close to land his shots otherwise he’ll be picked apart by the much bigger Fielding from the outside.
“People are talking a lot about the size difference, and I have to make that a factor on Saturday,” Fielding said. “It’s my weight division. I’ve been at Super Middleweight for a long time. I make the weight well and he’s stepping up. I perform better when I the underdog and everyone is against me. I thrive on that.”
Fielding being a natural super middleweight could help him in a big way on Saturday. Canelo is said to weigh between 175 and 180 lbs for his fights at middleweight. He doesn’t look like he’s bulked up too much for this fight. Even if Canelo does bulk up to 185 lbs, he’s not going to have the frame to carry that weight. If anything, being heavier will hurt Canelo’s cardio, and force him to take a lot of rest breaks against the ropes like he’s always done in his fights. Fielding rehydrates to 185 lbs at super middleweight. Due to his height and large frame, Fielding carries the 180+ weight effortlessly. He’s made to be that big. He’s not someone that bulked up with weights to get to 185. In fact, Fielding looks skinny at 185 due to his height. Fighters that height normally weigh close to 200 lbs. Fielding is slender at 180+, and that’s going to help him with his conditioning on Saturday night.
If Canelo decides he wants to come at Fielding in a similar way that he did in his last fight against GGG, you can bet the British fighter will be ready for that and will welcome it. Unlike the Canelo-GGG 2 fight, Canelo won’t surprise Fielding if he attacks him. Fielding has already see the second Canelo vs. Golovkin fight, so he’s not going to be shocked when he sees the Mexican fighter come forward looking to attack him. Golovkin was unable to adapt after Canelo surprise him by being aggressive in the rematch. GGG never fully understood the importance of not being seen by the judges giving ground against Canelo. Fielding isn’t going to give ground. So if Canelo wants to come forward and attack on Saturday night, he’s going to need to be prepared to deal with an unmovable force in his path. The only way Canelo will be able to move Fielding is to hurt him with his shots. Since there’s a huge difference in arm length between the two fighters, Canelo will have to find a way for him to get in close enough to land his shorter punches. Like most short fighters, Canelo will have to walk through a lot of heavy shots to get close enough to land his punches on Fielding.