All eyes on ‘Canelo’

December 15, 2018
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

NEW YORK(AFP) - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez aims to cement his place in the pantheon of Mexican boxing greats on Saturday when he steps up a division to face British world super-middleweight champion Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden.

Alvarez, who won his rematch with Gennady Golovkin in September to claim ownership of the middleweight division, has wasted no time in climbing back into the ring.

This time though the 28-year-old is moving up a weight category to super-middleweight to face Fielding, who is making the first defense of the WBA crown he won with a fifth-round stoppage of Germany's Tyron Zeuge in July.

Alvarez, who looks to have bulked up noticeably in recent videos and photos of his training camp posted on social media, hopes a victory on Saturday will enhance his claims to be considered one of Mexican boxing's greatest fighters.

A win would see him join the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez as Mexican fighters who have won belts in at least three different weight categories.

Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 knockouts) is framing Saturday's fight as a chance to "make history."

"I know it's going to be a tough fight but I like the challenges and we're prepared to make history," said Alvarez, who defeated middleweight rival Golovkin by a controversial majority decision in September.

"Maybe many do not give Rocky Fielding the credit he deserves but for something he's a world champion, I know the risk I have in front of me, I prepared myself very strong as always," Alvarez added.

"No fight is easy. It's not a secret that I'm a better fighter and that I'm more experienced, but I'm taking a risk by entering into a comfort zone of a champion and his weight. That's a risk, and that risk makes it even."

Alvarez is planning to revert to his preferred middleweight limit of 160 pounds after he has fought Fielding, with a potential third installment of his rivalry with Golovkin looming on the horizon in 2019.

First though, Alvarez must negotiate Fielding. While there is little in the 31-year-old's record -- 27 wins, one defeat, 15 knockouts -- to suggest anything other than an Alvarez victory on Saturday, the Mexican's promoter Oscar De La Hoya admits he is nervous about the jump in weight class.

"The fact he is moving up in weight is dangerous," said De la Hoya, who warned against complacency in the Alvarez camp.         "Fielding is naturally big. If a fighter feels comfortable that he will win easily, against a guy who no-one knows, it can be very dangerous."