A sellout crowd of 20,112 packed into Madison Square Garden Saturday night. All there to see Canelo Alvarez. You see, if you work and play on the East Coast, odds are you have not seen Canelo fight live. Until now, he’s fought much of his career in Texas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. On Saturday night, he made is Madison Square Garden debut. Squaring off against Rocky Fielding for his WBA Super Middleweight title. Canelo did not disappoint.
It was all Canelo all night. The first round of a fight is often a respect round. Fighters feel one another out. In this case, the respect lasted literally about one minute. Shots to the head left Fielding bruised around his right eye, but it was a concerted body attack that did him in. Canelo knocked Rocky down in the first round with a left to the body. However, Fielding would survive the round. Round two showed more of an even exchange, at least initially, with both fighters trading blows. Yet, Canelo would drop Fielding again, a combination that included another left to the body. For good measure Canelo dropped Fielding yet again in the third round with a right to the head. That would be the end as referee Ricky Gonzalez had seen enough and called a halt to the action.
The resounding takeaway here – although Canelo is the smaller man, he clearly packs the bigger punch.
The more compelling story line, is what lies next for Canelo? A third bout with Gennady Golovkin? Daniel Jacobs who was ringside perhaps?
At the post fight press conference Canelo told us “I feel very good and very strong at 168 pounds. I didn’t have to dehydrate myself to make weight. We’ll have to see with what I do next. I have to talk to my team, enjoy the holiday and then I’ll talk to my team. But right now, without a doubt, what I want are the best fights. My goal is to make good fights for the people, for the public, and to make sure the name of Canelo Alvarez and of Mexico is held up high.”
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya also stated that they have booked the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for Cinco de Mayo and in early 2019 an opponent will be named. However, also said that in 2019 a goal would be for Canelo to fight at Azteca Stadium in his native Mexico.
Whatever happens next it does seem as if Canelo has endless opportunity.
Earlier in the evening at the lightweight division, Ryan Garcia, a Canelo protege got the crowd pumped by flooring his opponent Braulio Rodriguez in the first round, dominating him for three more rounds before stopping him in the fifth. At the conclusion of the fight all the judges had Garcia pitching a shut out leading on all cards. Garcia also captivated the crowd in the post-fight interview when he said, “I may not speak Spanish, but I got Mexican blood in me.” Also, after a disappointing fight post his career highlight win over Miguel Cotto, Sadam Ali made a triumphant return to the ring defeating Mauricio Herrera via a 10-round decision.