NEW YORK — Canelo Alvarez made what he says is a brief stay at super middleweight a profitable one.
The unified middleweight champion, coming off a stirring victory over Gennady Golovkin in a memorable bout in September, had a much easier time of it Saturday before a sellout crowd of 20,112 at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding, adding the WBA super middleweight championship to his growing trophy case.
Alvarez ravaged the body, dropping the taller fighter three times with wicked hooks to the body, including the left that ended it at 2:38 of the third round. Referee Ricky Gonzalez wisely stopped it after the fourth knockdown.
Alvarez also dropped Fielding, who tried but had no business being in the ring with a fighter of Alvarez’s caliber, with a short right in the third.
It was hardly a surprise that Alvarez, at worst among the top 10 pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, rolled past the unheralded and little-known Fielding. Alvarez was a massive favorite, as high as 20-1 in some sportsbooks, and delivered the kind of performance one would expect of one of the game’s superstars.
The shock was that Fielding offered so little resistance. He went down from lefts to the body in the first and second, though he fought back each time he got up. If this had been a fight in which fans had to pay — the vast majority who were watching were on a free trial subscription from DAZN — there would be outrage with the weak caliber of opposition Alvarez faced.
But given it was free and the star of the show came out on top in spectacular manner, few complaints were heard.
The victory made Alvarez a three-division world champion, though his plans are to immediately return to middleweight, where fights against the likes of Daniel Jacobs and Golovkin await.
The bout was the first of a long-term deal with the live-streaming service DAZN, which will pay him $365 million for 11 fights.
Alvarez, along with IBF-WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is the linchpin of DAZN’s strategy to make itself the major player in boxing broadcasting in the U.S., which it hopes will lead to inroads with other sports.
Alvarez has the kind of star power to command attention, and was the subject of an intense advertising campaign pushing the notion that pay-per-view is dead and that the $9.99 monthly fee for its streaming service is the way of the future.
It needed Alvarez to deliver in his first bout with the service and he came through the way he has so often in the past.
He was poised and boxed smartly, landing the harder shots and not letting the five-inch height advantage cause him too much trouble. Fielding’s ribs were covered with welts by the second round, as Alvarez went body hunting early and often.
It was clearly a wise strategy and allowed Alvarez to rack up another championship, a big payday and a lot of acclaim without too much danger.
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