Canelo not thinking GGG, eyeing 3rd weight class belt
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 17, 2018 07:52 AM
Canelo Alvarez is interviewed, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in New York. Alvarez is scheduled to fight WBA super middleweight boxing champion Rocky Fielding in New York in December. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
By Barry Wilner, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Canelo Alvarez has never fought in Madison Square Garden. He's never fought on the East Coast. And he's really never fought after as big a win as he had in September against Gennady Golovkin.
So when Triple G's name is brought up to the ruler of the middleweight division, Alvarez sort of shrugs and instead begins talking about his Dec. 15 meeting with Rocky Fielding, the WBA super middleweight belt holder.
"It's the Mecca of boxing," Alvarez said Tuesday. "I have wanted to fight there for many years, and this is a great opportunity to give the fans from Latin America and Mexico a great fight.
"This is a fight I made because I want to make history as one of the top Mexicans to win three titles. He is the current WBA champion. ... I asked for the opportunity to fight at 168 pounds. For me, it's the history. Only 10 Mexican champions have titles in three weight classes. I am taking a big risk entering his comfort zone."
Perhaps. But Alvarez, who had a draw and then a narrow victory over Golovkin in his last two fights — sandwiched by a suspension for testing positive for performance enhancers that his camp said came from tainted meat — isn't taking that big a gamble.
Fielding is 27-1 with 15 knockouts, but he's never faced anyone close to the level of Alvarez. And Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 knockouts) has the edge in experience, speed and ring savvy.
That could lead back to folks concentrating on Triple G and a potential third fight rather than on the matchup in the Garden. Alvarez scoffs at such a notion.
"Moving up a division, that's the biggest risk," said Alvarez, who was a super welterweight champion before moving into the middleweight ranks. "I don't know how it will feel there. He is the champion and has the experience at that weight, and it is a risk for any fighter to (add) eight pounds. I just take it as another challenge."
That Alvarez would challenge Fielding came as "a big surprise" to the Brit who won his belt in July by stopping previously undefeated Tyron Zeuge in Fielding's first world title shot. He goes from that relatively obscure matchup to taking on what Fielding calls "the face of boxing."
Fielding never thought of saying no to fighting Alvarez and is comfortable with being an underdog. That was the case when he went to Zeuge's turf in Germany and beat him for the belt.
"He is a worldwide superstar," Fielding said. "You have to fight the best to be the best, and this is an opportunity for me to take on the best.
"I didn't expect him to move up (in weight). It didn't sink in until I was in the gym the next day after his phone call to ask about a fight. And then at Madison Square Garden, are you serious? There have been a lot of big fights there."
Not for Alvarez. He expects a huge turnout, and though he himself doesn't like to watch other fights, he knows there will be lots of passion in the crowd when he makes his New York debut.
"I don't like to watch boxing, but I like boxing, being in the ring," he said with a grin.
He recognizes his popularity with Hispanic fans, but when pressed on who have been the greatest Mexican champions, he demurs, fearing he will leave out someone and be accused of disrespect. What about Canelo being considered in that group?
"They are all legends," he said. "I respect them too much to say who is the best. But there continue to be so many champions from Mexico, they are the pride of Mexico. They have given a lot to the Mexican people.
"It is a difficult sport. You need discipline and sacrifice, so I respect them all."