Canelo v Rocky: Three-weight champion or underdog victor?

Earlier this week, Mexican boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez and Liverpudlian underdog Rocky Fielding touched down in New York to begin formalities before the WBA super middleweight title fight on Saturday.

The two fighters juxtaposed each other during the initial grand welcoming, with Fielding’s towering 6’1” stature imposing the crowd and his opponent. The multiple-time world champion comes into the fight off the back of a win against former pound-for-pound middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, and cut a relaxed figure when talking to DAZN pundits Ak and Barak.

Fast forward two days, after a public workout to boxing fans at Maddison Square Garden on Tuesday, we were front row at the press conference yesterday ready to hear from the two fighters.

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

With head-to-head banners of both fighters draped across the Maddison Square Garden hall, Oscar De La Hoya stepped up to kick off the press conference:

“I want to start by saying ladies and gentlemen, pay-per-view is dead. I’m happy to announce that! On Saturday night, December 15th, Canelo Alvarez will experience firsts. It will be his first fight in the Mecca of boxing at Maddison Square Garden, it will be the first fight of this historic contract with DAZN and it will be his first time travelling up to the 168 pound weight class – as he looks to make history as one of a small list of Mexican boxers to become a three-division world champion.

“We are extremely proud to have been able to strike a deal with such visionaries, not only in the sport of boxing but in sport in general. For me it’s a bittersweet moment, to talk about pay-per-view being dead but my career was built on PPV. But this digital platform is thinking about the fans. This fight, Canelo v Rocky, you will be able to download DAZN for free, for one month, and watch this historical night where Canelo Alvera will be able to showcase his talent.”

Credit: Amanda Westcott

Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing also addressed the group to talk about Rocky and the joint venture with DAZN:

“Of course, I’d like to thank DAZN, we recently announced our 16 fight deal in America, which has now expanded to Italy and Germany. This is a game changer for world boxing. Like Oscar said, normally US fight fans would have to put their hands in their pockets for 80 dollars for this but that’s changing. I applaud Golden Boy for taking that move and believing in DAZN like we did, not only is it a great price for fans but the production is also top draw. This really is a revolution in boxing.”

With formalities aside, the world champion Rocky Fielding gave a short note about dreaming of fighting in this iconic location:

“Thank you Goldenboy and Canelo for this opportunity. It’s great to be here, the history behind Maddison Square Garden is unbelievable. I was here three years ago, sitting right up the top watching a Knicks game dreaming of fighting here one day.  Three years down the line, I’ve put so much work in, faced a lot of setbacks but I’ve kept positive and now my names all around the arena.

“I’ve prepared well, I believe in myself and I’ve come here as a champion. That’s what champions do, they win and defend their winnings. This is a great opportunity, I’m very happy to be here and see you all Saturday.”

Met with an eruption of cheering from the travelling Mexican fans, Canelo Alvarez was last to the stage giving his thoughts on the upcoming bout:

Thank you for being here and for everyone’s support. I’m very happy to be here, it’s just another dream realised in my career and this new phase in my career with DAZN. Perhaps many don’t give the credit to Rocky that he deserves but there’s a reason he’s a world champion. I know who he is, I’ve trained very hard and I know the challenge I have in front of me. I know that I have a tough fight, but I love the challenges and I know we’re going to make history. I hope that you all enjoy the great night.”

Credit: Amanda Westcott

The fight on Saturday marks the first of Canelo’s next 11 fights on DAZN, after recently signing a five-year deal worth a minimum of £365million according to press reports.

DAZN will show the fight exclusively in Japan, Canada, USA, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. To watch more exclusive footage around the fight, including the behind-the-scenes documentary ‘The Journey’, visit the DAZN USA YouTube page here.