Canelo Alvarez vs Rocky Fielding WBA Super Middleweight Title Fight Preview Plus Betting Tips

Alvarez tipped to win by unanimous decision
Canelo Alvarez punches Gennady Golovkin during their
WBC/WBA middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Canelo Alvarez punches Gennady Golovkin during their WBC/WBA middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will attempt to become a three-weight world champion when he challenges Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding for his WBA super middleweight title at the legendary Madison Square Garden on December 15. It will be Canelo’s first bout since signing a $365 million, five-year deal with DAZN, the most lucrative contract in sports history.  

Canelo Alvarez vs Rocky Fielding Tips & Best Bets: 

Canelo To Win By Unanimous Decision - 6.5
The Fight To Go The Distance - 4.0

Mexican ring sensation Saul Alvarez is officially the highest paid athlete in history. This week, Canelo (Spanish for Cinnamon, a reference to his red hair) signed an exclusive five year contract with live streaming platform DAZN for $365 million. This is officially the largest contract ever singed by any athlete, topping even the most lucrative Major League Baseball contracts, and bettering the previous record of $325 million paid to hitter Giancarlo Stanton to sign for the Miami Marlins from 2014 to 2027. 

Recently crowned middleweight champion Canelo’s first fight as part of this deal will see him attempt to become a three-weight world champion. Alvarez will take on big-punching Rocky Fielding of Liverpool for his WBA super middleweight regular world title. The fight takes place at Madison Square Garden on December 15. 

Canelo Alvarez  
Still only 28-years old, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 34 KOs) seems to have been around forever, and seeing as he turned pro aged 15, he kind of has. With his red hair and fair complexion, his promoter Oscar De La Hoya once famously said Canelo “looks like an Irishman, behaves like an American, but fights like a Mexican.” Already Canelo’s record reads like a “Who’s Who” of boxing, and he has fought Carlos Baldomir, Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan and Gennady Golovkin, losing only to Floyd Mayweather. 

Canelo won his first world title, the vacant WBC light middleweight crown when he outpointed Matthew Hatton over twelve rounds in 2011. Alvarez made six successful defenses of that belt, including an 11th round TKO of a game but outgunned Ryan Rhodes, and a decision win over Austin Trout in a unification fight that earned him the WBA title also.
Defeat vs Mayweather 

In September 2013, a 23-year old Canelo took on pound-for-pound no.1 Floyd Mayweather in a high profile bout that generated huge revenue and record PPV sales. Alvarez lost a one-sided decision to Mayweather, largely down to his inability to force the action. The young Mexican took only positives from his first (and so far only) defeat, and emerged a better fighter for the experience. 

The powerfully built 5’9’’ Canelo always looked like he would outgrow the light middleweight division, and in 2015, he challenged modern great Miguel Cotto for the WBC middleweight title, winning a close but unanimous decision over the Puerto Rican four-weight world champion. 

The clamor was now on for Canelo to take on the fearsome WBA champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, the Kazakh KO sensation, rated by many as one of the greatest middleweights of all time. Golovkin had made 17 title defenses since 2010, and KO’d his last 23 opponents dating back to 2008. However, Canelo proved he was his own man when despite accusations of cowardice and “ducking”, he chose to put off a meeting with GGG for almost two years, surrendering his WBC middleweight belt and even returning briefly to 154 lbs. 

Finally, in September 2017, Canelo challenged GGG. In a modern-day ring classic, these two evenly matched gladiators showed heart, stamina, power and granite chins as they battled to a draw. In the much anticipated rematch a year later, Canelo won a majority decision in an even more grueling encounter. 

As boxing’s no.1 “Cash Cow”, Alvarez sits at the top of the sport, the undisputed king of PPV. Unlike Floyd Mayweather, who needed the right “dance partner” to generate big numbers, Canelo finds himself in a similar position to past ring icons such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya, in that because he is so beloved by his vast army of fans, and his ring style is so exciting, he could fight anyone and it would be a huge event. This will be perfectly exemplified in December when his fight with the relatively unknown Rocky Fielding will attract massive interest. 

Rocky Fielding
31-year old Michael “Rocky” Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) will be seen by many as the “fall guy” in his December clash with Canelo Alvarez, but while an undoubted underdog, Rocky is very much a “live dog”, and certainly capable of pulling off what would be a colossal upset. At 6’1” and a natural 168 lbs, Rocky will enjoy a considerable size advantage vs Canelo, and he possesses genuine KO power, as witnessed by his title-winning knockout of the previously unbeaten Tyron Zeuge in July. 

While Fielding’s exciting style and punching power made him a huge star in Liverpool, he soon had competition from the fast rising Callum Smith, the youngest of the illustrious Smith brothers. In 2013 Fielding won the Commonwealth super middleweight title in his 17th fight with a first round KO of Luke Blackledge. In 2015 he faced the vastly experienced Brian Vera for the WBC International belt and won in two rounds, establishing himself as a top-ten contender. 

Grudge Match vs Callum Smith

By now Fielding’s cross-town rivalry with Callum Smith had hit fever pitch, with the two former friends openly trashing each other, bad-blood building between the rival camps, and the clamor on Merseyside to see them fight reaching a crescendo. The two finally met in a packed Echo Arena in November 2015. Rocky went all out for a quick KO from the opening bell, but found himself floored early by the lethal punching, 6’3” Smith. Fielding beat the count, and once again went toe-to-toe with Smith. While he appeared to briefly rock his opponent, his tactics would ultimately prove suicidal, as two more knockdowns ended the fight in the first round. 

It was a crushing setback for Fielding, and he briefly contemplated retirement. Rightfully he chose to fight on, although he almost came a cropper his comeback bout, climbing off the canvas in the second round to win a split decision over the very tough Frenchman Christopher Rebrasse for the WBC International title. Rebrasse had previously taken both George

Groves and Callum Smith the distance

Rocky kept winning, outpointing John Ryder for the British title in 2017, the KO’ing the once-beaten and highly ranked David Brophy in a round. Then, somewhat out of the blue, Fielding was handed a July 2018 WBA world title shot against Germany’s Tyron Zeuge. It was Zeuge’s fourth defense, and it took place at the Baden-Arena in Offenburg. 

If Fielding was expected to lose, he clearly didn’t get the memo, and instead put on the performance of his life. Taking the fight to the flashy, confident, baby-faced Zeuge, Rocky grabbed the center of the ring and proceeded to dominate the contest, with both men engaging in some viscous exchanges in what was an exciting fight. Late in the fourth Fielding rocked his rival badly, and in the fifth a crunching left uppercut all but finished Zeuge. A follow up barrage floored him heavily, and while Zeuge gamely beat the count, his trainer two-time world light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer threw in the towel. 

An ecstatic Fielding celebrated accordingly, although both camps showed each other a great deal of respect, with Germany’s historic “Bad Boy” Juergen Braehmer among the first to congratulate the new champ. Clearly Rocky is well-liked throughout boxing, and is a genuine “nice guy.” The old saying goes “Nice Guys Finish Last”, but come December 15, Rocky Fielding will be out to prove that’s not always the case.

Outcome 

Make no mistake, Canelo is taking a big risk in jumping up to super middleweight, especially against someone who is so big at the weight. Fielding showed against Zeuge that he can handle a smaller, mobile, fleet-footed opponent with fast hands, throwing hard combinations. While Zeuge was soon looking ragged and desperate, Rocky always looked dangerous against the German, and his punches were sharp and thudding. 

Of course, Tyron Zeuge is no Saul Alvarez. The Mexican is defensively sound, but as his 24 rounds of combat against GGG revealed, even when he gets tagged flush on the jaw by one of the hardest hitters on the planet, he barely blinks. Canelo has blisteringly fast hands, and hits very hard, both to the head and body. 

Will his power carry up to 168 lbs? In 2016 Alvarez fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in an all-Mexican grudge match at 164 lbs. Canelo won every round, but couldn’t floor the iron-chinned Chavez Jr. 

Unfortunately, based off his loss to Callum Smith – who recently won the “Super” version of the WBA super middleweight title with a seventh round KO of George Groves, plus a few shaky moments earlier in his career – Rocky Fielding’s chin would appear to be more aluminum than iron. That said, he took plenty of full blown shots from Zeuge flush and never looked remotely hurt, and Callum Smith is capable of destroying anybody in the super middleweight division.  

Pacquiao Margarito Similarity 

In 2010, Manny Pacquiao went up to light middleweight and challenged Antonio Margarito for the WBC 154 lb. belt. Pacquiao won convincingly, and handed Margarito a vicious beating, including smashing his cheekbone and breaking his eye socket. However, time and again Pacquiao was forced to trade with the much larger, relentless, heavy hitting Margarito. Even though Manny won a world title at a sixth weight class – a record that has never been equaled – he was never the same fighter after than night. The heavy punches Margarito landed that night took around 10% out of Pacquiao - permanently.

Will Rocky Fielding be Canelo’s Margarito? Very possibly. Alvarez won’t be able to get Fielding out of there early, and Rocky has never displayed a lack of stamina, so his power makes him a legitimate threat for all twelve rounds. Canelo has been guilty of taking “breathers” during fights were he barely throws punches for a whole round. Such a tactic against a big, strong, explosive fighter like Rocky Fielding could prove disastrous.  

Much will depend on Rocky Fielding’s mindset on fight night, and if trainer Jamie Moore can deliver his man 100% focused and supremely confident, he will give Canelo a hell of a fight. However, in the end the Mexican’s class will tell. Not for nothing is Canelo ranked among the top-three fighters pound-for-pound. Alvarez will win a unanimous decision, but he will definitely know he’s been in a fight. 

Verdict

Saul Alvarez To Win By Unanimous Decision @ 6.50
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Freetips staff 14 December 2018

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