The Rocky story is only for the movies. Last night in New York, British warrior Rocky Fielding gave it his best but Canelo Alvarez was way too powerful, way too accurate and way too good. Scoring four knockdowns over three-rounds, the Mexican star picked up a secondary belt at 168 pounds, in doing so becoming, on paper, a three weight world champion.
It was an impressive performance from the world middleweight champion, even if the critics will say he had nothing to beat. Fielding was unable to use his considerable height and reach advantages, choosing (or being forced) to instead stand his ground and trade with Canelo, in the hope of landing something big. It never happened. Canelo capped off a year that began so badly for him, what with his two failed drugs tests and his name facing permanent dishonour.
Now, having edged Gennady Golovkin in a great fight in September and enjoying the added bonus of picking up a WBA trinket last night, Canelo sees out 2018 on top of the world. But what next for the flame-haired superstar? Oscar De La Hoya says last night’s win “opens the door to fights in two divisions, middleweight or super-middleweight,” and that Canelo can face the best at both weights.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to go after the top guys,” De La Hoya said on behalf of his star fighter when asked what’s next. “Canelo always does that. Fighting at 168 has opened the doors to another division, the pool has gotten bigger. He can fight in either division. I’m still a little weary of matching him with the top, top guys at 168 pounds, but he looked very good, very comfortable in there tonight. We might do it.”
If Canelo does “do it,” and fights the best of the best at 168, that would mean match-ups with the big-for-the-weight Callum Smith, and/or David Benavidez and/or Jose Uzcategui. Either of those fights would be interesting and would likely result in exciting action, but there is really only one man the fans wants to see Canelo fight in 2019: his initials are GGG.
But that third fight will have to wait. Canelo is set to fight again on May 4, over the huge Mexican celebration that is Cinco de Mayo. But don’t expect the man in the other corner to be Triple-G. Still, the deciding fight between the two best middleweights on the planet has to happen some time next year. And we can’t wait.