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Rocky Get’s Balboa’d By Canelo

John Gatling analyzes Canelo’s win Saturday night at MSG in NYC.

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Amanda Westcott pic for DAZN

Ain’t gone be no rematch… we don’t want one. 

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“Rocky” definitely won’t want one. New WBA super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35KOs) went old-school Rocky Balboa on Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding (27-2, 15KOs) in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd invited to a movie set by DAZN.

The fight itself was an anticlimactic 3rd round exhibition of spacing and body punching, demonstrating the difference between the obsessed world of an elite athlete and the unfinished potential of a regular Joe.

In an era of world class athletes conditioned on the cutting edge of science and nutrition, Fielding wore the look and feel of a weekend warrior with a bag full of GNC products and a generic gym membership. The whole underdog thing really only works if he’s so endeared to the public we almost don’t have a choice but to love them. This wasn’t the case. What we had was a global star positioned to exploit a most famous name, attached to a man with about as much sweet science charisma as Mr. Rogers. 

On a weekend where Gilberto Ramirez demonstrated the veracity of a true super middleweight champion against Jesse Hart, Canelo shows up with fresh scar-tissue around the left eye and a still raised welt under the right, courtesy of early Christmas gifts from BFF Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. As I mentioned in “Canelo Balboa’s Rocky”, there’s no way the Reynoso Bros allow a fight with say, a Ramirez, given all they knew Rocky Fielding simply wasn’t capable of doing. This was all about producing a new PPV model in DAZN, predicated on traditional free TV viewing ratings with a nominal fee per household. In that respect, kill traditional PPV it will. 

The promoters of “Canelo V Rocky”, Matchroom Boxing presented by Eddie Hearn and Golden Boy Promotions with Oscar De La Hoya, sold this event as a gift to fans– and in many ways it was. Though Sadam Ali V Mauricio Herrera proves to be a major bore, an engaging Ryan Garcia (17-0, 14KOs) wows the crowd and looks like a young Golden Boy, blitzing the dangerous clown Braulio Rodriguez (19-4, 17KOs) at 1:14 of the 5th round and looking reborn under Eddy Reynoso. The best showing of the night, however, goes to Ireland badass Katie Taylor (12-0, 5KOs), as the WBA/IBF lightweight champion won every minute of every round in defeating the previously unbeaten Eva Wahlstrom (22-1, 3KOs) from Finland. 

Taylor, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, then stood graciously in the middle of the ring to look directly into DAZN cameras and at record setting world champion Amanda Serrano to tell her she wants to fight– next. I think Wahlstrom is better than anyone on Serrano’s resume, and I’m curious to see how she’ll respond, having flirted with inexplicably dropping down to 115. But after seeing that challenge, the proud Puerto Rican legend took to Twitter and issued a few cryptic responses. 

“I feel so honoured to have been mentioned so much tonight. Even from Katie Taylor lol.

Then Amanda continued…

“I’m ready. I’m not looking to go the distance like all these pillow punchers. Everyone talks like a killer but struggles to get people out of there. I don’t go the distance too often.”

After basically threatening to not only give Katie what she wants but a beating in the process, Women’s Boxing winds up getting a huge boost from Canelo V Rocky by stirring up the best fight that can be made between female boxers. Tevin Farmer, though embroiled in a style nightmare with Francisco Fonseca, successfully defended his IBF super featherweight belt via 12 round UD and issued yet another challenge to Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Not a bad night for Lou DiBella either. 

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The best gifts keep coming after Christmas and well before, and when it comes to corporation actually giving itself to cooperation, in most instances, it’s designed to set up a whole lot of taking. As currently structured, DAZN seeks to eliminate PPV as a competitive entity altogether; featuring stars against obscure or flickering ones, or the rising variety against those that could be. We saw a spectacular example of this model with Anthony Joshua V Alexander Povetkin. 

Now that Hearn knows the worth of Daniel Jacobs, given his 3-fight trial service as HBO headliner, Alvarez can now truly work on unifying the middleweight division, while Golovkin will now be forced to deal with the gauntlet of Jermall Charlo. Both “The Miracle Man” and AJ were both available for cameos; we know Joshua is a lock in April on the app against an opponent TBD, but Canelo V Jacobs could very much be in the works for Cinco de Mayo. Because imagination allows us to dream, could we see Canelo Alvarez V Dmitry Bivol for the WBA super middleweight championship next fall on DAZN? The possibilities are endless.

But has there ever been a more remarkable three year oddysey to compare what we’ve now seen from Canelo?

Canelo battered Rocky on Dec. 15, 2018.

The former super welterweight champion rather violently defended against James Kirkland in May 2015, then vied for the real middleweight championship with Miguel Cotto at a blasphemous 155 lbs in November 2015. He was still considered a big super welterweight pounding Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Liam Smith in 2016, but too small for Golovkin in September 2017. 

And so it is after barely scaling 160 and Triple G in September 2018, the current middleweight champion and red-headed David made his DAZN debut under Golden Boy for the WBA super middleweight championship against a Goliath named Rocky after signing a massive multi-million dollar contract. All in the last three years as PPV got old. Let’s hope the Rocky franchise does too.

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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