Saturday Dec. 15 is going to be a big date in the boxing and sports world alike. All eyes will descend upon Madison Square Garden to watch Saul “Canelo” Alvarez step into the ring with WBA (regular) super middleweight champ Rocky Fielding.
By moving up to 168 pounds, the 28-year-old Mexican will be in search of a title in a third weight division after defeating Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin by majority decision to grab the WBA (super) and WBC middleweight titles in September.
It’s set to be a battle between the sport’s biggest star in Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) and Fielding, the long shot from Liverpool (27-1, 15 KOs). Not only is Canelo currently boxing’s top draw (you’re welcome to come out of retirement and change that, Floyd), his ability to dish out punishment as well as he takes it is a good recipe for an eventful evening. His last fight against Genady Golovkin will go down as one of the most thrilling spectacles in all of sport this year.
If you ask me, all that should be more than enough to get you to tune in to the action later this month. However, for those of you who may be a little more difficult to convince, here are five more reasons.
The ultimate underdog story
Despite the odds very much not being in his favor (more on that below), Fielding is aware of the edge he’ll have due to Alvarez moving up to 168 pounds.
“You know at my weight now, at my super middleweight, I’m confident and I believe it,” he told ESPN earlier this week.
“When we got head to head and [I saw] the height and size that he had, I was just boosting more confidence from it.”
His size isn’t the only thing going for him, though. Come on — an underdog in a boxing match named Rocky? It’s perfect!
Fielding’s given name is actually Michael. But, after entering the world at 10 pounds and being compared to a rock by a family friend, the nickname stuck. Although, according to him, “it had nothing to do with the film,” there’s no way that it will hurt his chances.
And realistically, Fielding doesn’t have more than a puncher’s chance. When the 31-year-old turned professional at the age of 23, he was still grinding away at his day job in waste drainage. When Alvarez was 23, he was 42-0-1 and fighting one of the all-time greats in Floyd Mayweather Jr.
I see it working out one of two ways. If all goes well, he’ll be able to channel his inner Sylvester Stallone/Michael B. Jordan and compete against one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, maybe pulling off the impossible. If not, he’ll be a great friend for Bullwinkle J. Moose one day.
If you ask me, it’s a win-win for the guy.
That height difference can’t be ignored
Honestly, when you look at the photo of the two staring into each other’s souls, it’s hard to believe that they’ll be entering the same ring later this month. In his attempt to grab that third belt, Alvarez will have to overcome the limits of his stature.
Fielding, at 6-foot-1, towers over Alvarez by four inches. More importantly, the Brit has a reach advantage of nearly five inches (75″ to 70.5″).
Even with the height advantage Fielding is rightfully still a massive underdog, with Alvarez sitting as a -2,500 favorite according to ProBoxingOdds.com.
Things rarely go as planned
Despite what oddsmakers think, this is a reminder that it’s a boxing match and, therefore, you never know what’s going to happen. The sport and controversy go together like milk and a fresh bowl of Frosted Flakes. That’s what keeps us coming back time and again.
Canelo vs. GGG 2, the very fight that got us here, had the judges and experts divided. Commentators afterwards believed it should have been a draw despite the fact Canelo came away with the narrow majority decision.
And just a few days ago, an insane WBC heavyweight title between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder resulted in a split draw after Fury miraculously sprung back to life after getting brutally knocked down in the 12th.
— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) December 2, 2018
It won’t cost you an arm and a leg
A bout of this magnitude would cost an arm and a leg if you were to purchase it through the traditional, pay-per-view method. Either you’d miss the following month’s mortgage payment to enjoy the action or have to drag yourself to a bar with a group of friends just to be stared at by some creepy dude across the room while craning your neck around someone else to catch a glimpse of the nearest TV.
The match is the first of Alvarez’s mind-melting five-year, 11-fight, $365 million contract with DAZN, the richest in sports history. Period. (Hell, for that kind of money, give me a pair of gloves and toss me in the ring.)
DAZN becoming the broadcast home of boxing in North America isn’t just good news for Alvarez, though. Fans can utilize a 30-day free trial on the global live-sports streaming service to literally watch the fight (and all the other sports DAZN offers) for free. Or, if you already have a monthly subscription, the $20 you’ve already paid gives you access to the fight on all major platforms.
It’ll prepare you for the family Christmases you’ve been dreading
Sick of your brother-in-law Brandon putting you in a headlock right before you dig into your dinner every year, or your uncle Paul taking innocent snowball fights way too seriously?
(Hey, I don’t know the level of family dysfunction you’ve gone or are going through and I’m not here to judge).
With two of the top boxers on the planet throwing hands a little less than two weeks out from the old red and green day, you’ll have plenty of time to see what they do well, break down the highlights and replays on DAZN, train according to your research and apply what you’ve learned with all of your family under the same roof.
This could be the Christmas that you even the score after years of torment and torture — Brandon and Paul won’t even know what hit ’em.
And if you’re not seeking retribution during this festive season, this will at least give you something to talk about. Chatting about two grown men beating the crap out of each other is always better than answering those classic questions while with family such as “how’s work?” “are the kids enjoying school?” and “how much longer are you on house arrest?”
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