On Saturday, December 15, 2018, unified Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) will make his return to the ring, as he’s scheduled to take on secondary Super Middleweight titleholder Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Canelo vs. Rocky marks the first fight of Canelo’s blockbuster 11-fight partnership with DAZN.
Although Fielding is far less known than the cinnamon-haired Alvarez and, in the eyes of many, a heavy underdog, the fight is quite intriguing due to the fact that he’s the larger fighter and that Alvarez will be moving up a weight class.
Currently a champion at Middleweight, the 28-year-old Alvarez has only fought above 160 pounds once–a catch weight scrap with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. which was contested at 164 pounds.
Canelo has admitted that this fight is likely a one-off. Just a few months removed from his closely fought and somewhat controversial decision victory over Gennady Golovkin, Canelo was simply looking for a new challenge and an opportunity to secure another title.
Stylistically, Alvarez is known primarily as a defensive boxer, often times showing a tremendous ability to counterpunch. However, as he showed in his last fight, the Mexican also has the ability to fight aggressively and put the pressure on his opponents.
Regardless of how he approaches a fight, he typically moves well and possesses legitimate fight-ending power, although it remains to be seen if that power will indeed follow him up to Super Middleweight.
For the 31-year-old Fielding, a native of Liverpool, England, this contest against Canelo undoubtedly represents the toughest test of his career. Although he’s beaten some respectable boxers, specifically finishing Tyron Zegue in his last fight to win the title, it’s clear that he’s never shared the ring with a boxer the caliber of Alvarez.
Despite that, he does indeed hold some advantages over Alvarez. As previously mentioned, he’s the larger fighter, as he’ll stand four inches taller and a have a four-and-a-half inch reach advantage. To find success, he’ll likely have to use his reach in addition to his jab to keep Canelo on the outside.
In terms of power, Fielding, who fights out of the orthodox position, does have 15 knockouts to his name, but he isn’t known as the hardest puncher. Instead, he prefers to jab and attack the body in order to wear down his opponents. If, however, he’s able to do that to Canelo remains to be seen.
Ultimately, I feel as if this fight will be about levels and in the end, Canelo will prove that he’s simply on a different level than Fielding. Not only has Fielding never fought in the United States, but he’s never fought a fighter quite like Alvarez.
I’m not sure we see a stoppage due to the size difference, but I expect Canelo to outbox Fielding on his way to a decisive victory.