Canelo Floors Fielding in 3rd Round
Image: SARAH STIER/GETTY IMAGES
Michael “Rocky” Fielding entered the ring standing at 6-foot-1. Despite a three-inch height advantage, he had his evening shortened by the devastating body blows from Canelo Alvarez, who captured another world title with his third round victory by technical knockout.
In his first bout since unifying the middleweight championship with a controversial decision over Gennady Golovkin earlier this year, Canelo delivered what all in the boxing community had expected, a one-sided debut at super middleweight, despite being smaller and stature than the then champion Fielding.
From the very start, it was clear his arsenal was overwhelming, dropping “Rocky” in both the first and second rounds. Not using his height or reach, leaning in to fight up close to Canelo proved to be a recipe for disaster. Though he only had one prior defeat, it came in the first round to the hard-hitting Callum Smith, leading many to believe the speed, power, and countering abilities of Alvarez would also prove to be too much.
The proud champion did survive into the third before a pair of knockdowns allowed for referee Ricky Gonzalez to put an end to the bout at 2:38. His fourth trip to the canvas made the decision an easy one for the veteran official.
Though he made quick work of an opponent he was expected to take down, it was still a historic night for possibly the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Last night marked Canelo’s debut at the “Mecca of Boxing” in a sold out Madison Square Garden. This was Canelo’s first bout at 168 pounds, as a super middleweight, capturing Fielding’s WBA super middle crown. The WBA super middle title marks the third different weight class he has held a belt in.
Most notably, this was his first fight as the flagship combatant for the upstart streaming service DAZN. DAZN is the combat sports oriented direct challenger to Pay-Per-View. They signed Canelo earlier in 2018 to an eleven fight mega deal totaling $365 million for his services.
Though it is largely a niche sport in today’s American sports landscape, this is a major appeal to today’s boxers. You do not get what you’re worth. You get what you negotiate. There exists no salary cap, and if their $10 a month fee proves viable, DAZN wants to be a major player in the future of the sport.
Canelo serves as their centerpiece to build from, with a major marketing blitz regarding their thirty-day free trial as the way to see his bout against Rocky last evening. A resounding TKO victory is a sure way to have repeat customers, as the in-demand fighter has ten bouts remaining on his current deal with the platform. Big name fighters create a customer base, but having them deliver the action fans want is what will give DAZN a foothold in the fight game.