In the build-up to his first appearance at Madison Square Garden, Canelo Alvarez talked for weeks about how excited he was to fight in this building. On Saturday night, a sellout crowd of 20,112 fans at MSG responded in kind.
Amid chants of “Canelo” and “Mexico,” Alvarez won the WBA super middleweight title, stopping champion Rocky Fielding in the third round. Canelo is a now a world champion in three different weight classes.
“My goal is to make good fights for the people, for the public, and to make sure the name of Canelo Alvarez and of Mexico is held up high,” said Alvarez, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Alvarez brutalized Fielding (27-2) with a body attack, dropping him four times in three rounds. He pounded away with lefts and rights to the body, backing up Fielding throughout the fight and flooring him in each of the first two rounds.
In the third, Canelo crashed a right hand over the top, catching Fielding on the chin for a knockdown. Fielding got up but was quickly felled with left hook to the body. The referee waved off the fight at 2:38 of the third.
“That was the plan in the gym, to hit the body and then move up [to the head], and that's the result. You see the result here," said Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 knockouts).
Alvarez, the reigning WBA and WBC middleweight champion, has suggested that this will be his only fight at super middleweight. He’s likely to return to middleweight and defend his title at 160 pounds. David Lemieux was thought to be Alvarez’s next opponent but he was pulled off Saturday’s card after struggling to make the 160-pound middleweight limit. He was hospitalized earlier this week for dehydration.
Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, was non-committal after the fight, saying Canelo can fight next at 160 or 168 and that, “We have no opponent whatsoever... He has many choices as we speak.”
There is no shortage of middleweights anxious to fight Alverez. Among them is Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs, who recently captured the IBF title. He was in attendance Saturday and suggested that he was the next logical opponent for Alvarez. The two fighters talked briefly and shook hands in the ring after the fight.
A third fight with Gennady Golovkin also is a possibility for Alvarez. The two middleweights already engaged in two extremely close fights. They battled to a draw in 2017, and Alvarez won a narrow decision last September.