Canelo Alvarez is moving up to a new weight division at the end of the year in an attempt to win another belt, and it is time to give the man his credit.
The Mexican superstar Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KO's), fresh off the biggest win of his professional career over Gennady Golovkin to win the unified middleweight world title in their Sept. 15 rematch, will be moving up to super-middleweight to face WBA "Regular" titlist Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden.
"I'm very excited to announce my next fight. Next December 15th at the New York MSG," Alvarez wrote on social media. "Taking a big challenge. I will fight for the world title at 168 pounds versus Rocky Fielding, the current WBA champion!"
Although Canelo suffered a deep cut over his left eye against Golovkin, Alvarez was issued a green light by his doctor to fight in December, and soon would be permitted to return to training.
Fielding (27-1, 15 KO's), 31, of the United Kingdom, has won six consecutive fights since suffering a first-round stoppage to unbeaten world champion Callum Smith in November 2015. Smith knocked out George Groves last Friday to become the WBA's "super" champion at super middleweight.
In July, Fielding squared off against previously undefeated Tyron Zeuge, who had held the WBA "Regular" title since November 2016. Fielding applied constant pressure during the fight, tiring out the 26-year-old German, who was rocked with an uppercut before getting ripped to the body by a left hook from Fielding, who scored a fifth-round KO.
Fielding, who started his professional campaign at light-heavyweight before moving down to 168-pounds, will face Canelo, who is vying for a world title in his third weight class.
Alvarez got his first taste at super middleweight in May 2017 when he fought former 160-pound titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a 165-pound catch-weight. Canelo easily outpointed his fellow Mexican countryman, who did not show up to fight, and managed to land just 71 punches through 12 rounds.
Some in the boxing community are criticizing Alvarez for the move, but it seems their sentiment is due to their dislike of the fighter, and not so much the decision.
"Waste of time. Canelo should be facing Callum Smith." "Callum Smith is the actual champion. Fight Callum Smith!" "Canelo is ducking Jermall Charlo, fight Charlo!"
This is not everyone, of course, but when one pays attention as much as a writer does, they get exposed to a variety of different opinions. Some brilliant, some completely ignorant.
As aforementioned, Smith fought last week. That fight will not happen until at least the end of 2019 if Canelo and Golovkin fight in a May trilogy. However, pay-per-view buys for last month's rematch were down 15 percent from the first fight, which could be a sign that a third bout would produce even lower numbers. This could open the door for a bigger future for Alvarez at 168-pounds.
Canelo-Charlo is an excellent fight on paper, but the unbeaten Charlo (27-0, 21 KO's), 28, who holds the WBC "interim" title, just doesn't fight very often. In the last two years, the hard-hitting Houston, Texas, native has fought just once a year.
Don't blame Alvarez for this, that's on Charlo's team, who has done an exiguously poor job at promoting him. Charlo also deserves some of the criticism for not realizing that his talent and especially his youth, are being wasted. Former lightweight world champion Brandon Rios is another example of what can happen when you lose your youth. Once it's gone, it's gone.
Sure, Canelo deserved to be criticized for the two failed drug tests for clenbuterol. However, he served his six-month suspension, and still fought who was once considered the most feared boxer in the middleweight division twice. Although their first encounter should have gone to Golovkin, the rematch was much closer, and Alvarez squeaked by with a majority decision victory.
For a 28-year-old, Canelo's career has been an impressive one. Is there another fighter as young as Alvarez who has fought the likes of Mayweather, Mosley, Cotto, Trout, Lara, and Golovkin?
No. There isn't. So whether or not you dislike Alvarez for his attitude or his past mistakes, you can't deny the heart this man has. He fought Golovkin twice and is coming back to try and conquer another division. That takes guts. Getting in the ring alone takes a lot of guts. Fielding is no bum and is going to come to fight on Dec. 15.
Give Canelo his credit. He has earned it.