Likeable Liverpudlian Rocky Fielding gets his just rewards for capturing a World Title in his opponents back yard just five months ago, when he gets a dream fight in a dream venue this Saturday night. The iconic Madison Square Garden in New York is the scene, and pound for pound star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the man in the opposite corner, as Fielding defends his newly won WBA “Regular” Super Middleweight Title in the big apple. Sky Sports is the place to catch the fight in the UK, while DAZN are the USA broadcaster.
Rocky Fielding (27-1, KO15) v Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, KO34) – 12 Rounds, WBA “Regular” Super Middleweight Title
Make no mistake, this Saturday night, Rocky Fielding takes on an assignment of epic proportions when he faces consensus pound for pound number one, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, in the first defence of the Title he impressively won on away soil in Germany in July. His opponent needs no introduction. “Canelo” is incredibly entering his 54th fight at aged only 28, and his place in Mexican Boxing history, let alone World Boxing, is already assured. He is a two weight World Champion, at Super Welterweight and Middleweight, and he goes for a World Title in a third different weight class at Madison Square Garden.
Alvarez has been a professional since October 2005, making his debut at the age of just 15, stopping Abraham Gonzalez in the last of a four rounder. After four straight wins, he suffered a setback, with a split draw with Jorge Juarez over four in June 2006 blotting his record. After building a solid 33-0-1 record, his breakthrough came in September 2010, when he knocked out former Welterweight World Champion, Carlos Baldomir in six rounds. After a straightforward points win over Lovemore N’Dou, Alvarez captured a World Title in California, picking up the WBC Super Welterweight Title by winning every round against the brave Matthew Hatton. He defended the Title with a last round stoppage against Ryan Rhodes in his native Mexico, and embarked on four more defences before adding the WBA Title, outscoring Austin Trout in April 2013.
This win paved the way for a contest against Floyd Mayweather. Alvarez was second best in much of the fight, and lost his unbeaten record on the cards, despite one of the judges’ best efforts. CJ Ross infamously scored the bout a draw, but was fortunately over ruled.
He rebuilt with impressive wins over Alfredo Angulo (TKO10), Erislandy Lara (Split Decision) and James Kirkland (KO3) to put himself back on the map. He easily dealt with a fading Miguel Cotto in November 2015 to pick up the WBC Middleweight Title, despite the fight being made at a catchweight, and Cotto weighing one pound under Super Welter. Alvarez was simply too big for his opponent. This trend continued in his first defence, as a competitive, but ultimately Welterweight, Amir Khan was eventually flattened in six rounds in another catchweight contest for the Middleweight crown.
“Canelo” then dropped back down to 154 to relieve Liam Smith of his WBO Super Welterweight Title in a ninth round victory. Julio Cesar Chavez Junior was routed in twelve easy rounds in May 2017, to set up a Middleweight blockbuster with Gennady Golovkin. The September match was a controversial one, with the general feeling that Alvarez had won the early rounds, with Golovkin taking over to seemingly win the fight. The bout was ruled a draw however, with a rematch a certainty. This was mooted for May, but “Canelo” subsequently failed a drug test for traces of the banned substance, Clenbuterol. The rematch went ahead regardless, in September, with another disputed outcome. Alvarez lifted the WBC, WBA (Super) and IBF Middleweight crowns with a majority decision victory in Las Vegas. There were cases for either man winning.
Rather than there being an immediate trilogy, Alvarez signed up with DAZN in a reported $365 million, five year deal, and his first fight under the banner is the contest with Fielding.
Although the Champion, Rocky Fielding comes into the fight with “Canelo” in New York as very much the “B” side. Second in the promotional material, and second fiddle in the event.
He does however, come into the bout in the form of his life. A Prizefighter Champion in 2011 with three stoppage victories, he has also been English, British and Commonwealth Champion at Super Middleweight. It would be November 2015 in a Merseyside Derby that his career suffered a crashing low, in his only paid defeat thus far.
Unbeaten in 21, Fielding took on fellow unbeaten Scouser, Callum Smith for the vacant British Title. Fielding was quite simply ambushed by “Mundo”, down three times in the first round before being stopped. Smith has of course gone on to massive things, and is the “Super” Champion to Fielding’s current belt. It was a devastating defeat for Fielding in his home town that night, but the rebuilding work has been impressive.
Rocky recovered from a second round knockdown to squeeze out the tough Frenchman, Christopher Rebrasse via split decision. He also won via the same method to lift the British Title in April 2017 against John Ryder. He defended with a quick-fire first round stoppage victory over David Brophy to add the Commonwealth Title for a second time. Following a tick over eight rounder, Fielding got the call to travel to Germany to take on the unbeaten WBA Champion, Tyron Zeuge.
Fielding was superb on that July night in Offenburg, knocking Zeuge down in the fifth, before forcing Zeuge’s trainer, Juergen Braehmer to throw the towel in for his exhausted charge. Fielding could scarcely believe after the jubilant night in Germany, that his first defence would be against a premier pound for pound fighter. The task doesn’t come much bigger, but is a lucrative and deserved financial reward for the Warrington based Liverpudlian.
A win for Fielding would literally be a real life Rocky story. His task is a massive one. “Canelo” is huge for most weights he fights at, and will balloon way after the weigh in. It remains to be seen if Fielding’s one round defeat to Callum Smith was a one off, and one of those nights where a fighter is caught cold. He has rebounded impressively, and will need to keep Alvarez on the end of his jab and use his reach to his advantage where he can. This will be easier said than done however, and I expect a brave Rocky to be halted around the seventh round, with the sheer volume and weight of the Mexican’s punches eventually grinding him down to a stoppage defeat. I don’t envisage that Fielding can hurt his opponent, and that will give Alvarez all the confidence he needs to tee off with power punches. There will be no disgrace in defeat for Fielding, and his stock should rise as a result.