New York City has waited a long time to see Canelo in action, and on Saturday they get their wish.
The two division champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2) will fight for the WBA “regular” title at super middleweight when he steps in the ring against Rocky Fielding (27-1) in the main event at Madison Square Garden. He aims to join the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Arce, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales who are Mexican fighters that won world titles in three weight divisions. Fielding wants to prevent that from happening and make some history of his own. This is the first fight of the multi-fight deal that Canelo signed with DAZN, and while Canelo wants to start that off with a bang, the defending champion has other plans.
“I believe in myself. I come here as a champion, and that’s what champions do – they win, and they defend,” Fielding said in the press conference on Thursday. “I’ve had a lot of setbacks, but I’ve kept positive.”
“I went to Germany, they didn’t give me a chance in Germany…but I did a good job. No one’s given me a chance here, but I’ve prepared well.”
That reference to Germany was back in July when he took on Tyron Zeuge in Offenburg and winning by 5th round TKO to win that title that will be on the line Saturday. He was an underdog to the then undefeated Zeuge and came out with a win but he may be a larger underdog going up against the more skilled Alvarez.
Canelo is coming off what is his biggest win of his long career, handing the first loss to Gennady Golovkin to win the WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine titles at middleweight. Now he moves up to the 168 pound division to try for the title that Fielding has, and he seems ready for that challenge.
“I’m motivated. Perhaps many don’t give the credit to Rocky Fielding that he deserves but for a reason, he’s a world champion,” Canelo remarked on Thursday. “I’ve trained very hard, I know the challenge I have in front of me. I know that I have a tough fight but I like challenges and I know we’re going to make history. I’m ready for that.”
The deal that he struck with DAZN is very lucrative (11 fight contract for 365 million dollars) and being featured in the main event at Madison Square Garden may seem like a lot for a 28 year old, but the veteran looks forward to it.
“I’m very happy to be here at Madison Square Garden. It’s just yet another story, another dream realized in my career and this new phase of my career with DAZN.”
The co-feature bout has the IBF super featherweight title on the line as Tevin Farmer defends against Francisco Fonseca. Farmer (27-4-1) will make his 2nd defense of his title and has been put into a position where he has been getting fights fairly frequently after winning the title in August. He takes on Fonseca (22-1-1) whose only loss came to current WBA super champion Gervonta Davis. He collected three wins following that loss but to lowly rated competition. Farmer seems to be the favorite here, and a win puts him in position to compete in a higher profile fight in 2019. The fight that has been talked about since the beginning of this year is Farmer against Davis, but for the time being we will see Farmer in action against Fonseca.
Another fight that has the interest of a few fight fans in New York City and abroad is the unified female lightweight title bout between Katie Taylor and Eva Wahlstrom. Both fighters are undefeated and Wahlstrom had been the WBC super featherweight champion since 2015. She is moving up to lightweight after successfully defending the title in April. They have a common opponent in Anahi Sanchez, who lost to both by decision. There is talk that this may be Taylor’s toughest fight to date. However, Taylor is willing to step up to the challenge.
“I’m here to bring my very very best. I know [Eva’s] a great competitor and a fantastic fighter. I just can’t wait to put on an exciting fight.”
Also included in the fight card is Sadam Ali who will be in his first fight since losing the WBO super welterweight title to Jaime Munguia in May. He fights veteran Mauricio Herrera in the welterweight division. Ryan Garcia puts his undefeated record on the line against Braulio Rodriguez who hopes to stop his two fight losing streak. DC native Lamont Roach, Jr. puts the WBO international title on the line at super featherweight against Alberto Mercado, and with a win he hopes to be in contention for the world title at that division.
Cover photo by Amanda Westcott of DAZN