By JohnJ. Raspanti
His red hair inspired his nickname, “Canelo,” which means cinnamon.
A few months ago, he faced his own personal Waterloo. It wasn’t only that he was fighting unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
He was facing doubt and ridicule.
In September he won the biggest fight of his 13-year professional career, a split decision over Gennady Golovkin. A sequel to their first fight, the previous year, the rematch was built on real acrimony between the fighters, due to the judges scoring, and Alvarez’s positive drug test for clenbuterol, a banned substance.
Canelo said the whole affair was much ado about nothing. He had innocently eaten some tainted meat. Golovkin considered it evil and unprofessional.
He taunted Canelo in the press.
"I told you, it’s not Mexican meat,” Golovkin said in an article by Dan Rafael of www.espn.com.
“This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion. Canelo is cheating.”
Suspended for six months by the Nevada commission, Canelo simmered and planed his revenge. It came on fight night. Driven by inner rage and passion, the younger Canelo took it to Golovkin, who, for one of the few times in his career, was forced to back up.
The fight was 12 rounds of intense and unrelenting war. Canelo seemed to have the edge through nine rounds, but Golovkin, loaded with pride and desire, started to come on in the later rounds. His rally had the crowd on their feet until the final bell rang.
Canelo,28, was judged the winner by a split decision. The debate raged for days, but nobody debated the inner fortitude that each fighter had shown. Canelo had earned his respect the best way a fighter can, in the ring.
Most expected Canelo to ride off into the sunset for awhile, but shockingly, a week after his win, he announced he’d be fighting again December 15 at Madison Square Garden.
A guy named Rocky. Not Graziano or Balboa, but Fielding.
Who is this Rocky Fielding?
He’s the WBA regular super middleweight champion. Why regular? Because Callium Smith, who knocked out Rocky three years ago, is the real champion. Why the WBA feels they have to pass out belts like candy is beyond comprehension. Don’t they realize the practice cheapens the belts? Obviously not.
Rocky,31, has won 27 of 28 fights, with 15 knockouts. He can punch a little. Canelo is 50-1-2, scoring 34 knockouts. His punches crack like firecrackers. Over the course of his 13-year career, he’s faced much tougher competition. Canelo holds victories over Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, James Kirkland, Amir Khan, and Miguel Cotto.
During his eight-year career, Rocky has held British titles and international belts. He captured the WBA "regular" title (I know, dumb) when he ventured to Germany and stopped undefeated Tyron Zeage.
Rocky entered the fight a huge underdog, and exited with another belt. He’s a gutsy guy and a pretty good fighter. He’s also a 40-1 underdog for obvious reasons.
"He is the favourite, I’m not stupid -- but, I’m bigger, “nice guy Rocky told Steve Bunce of ESPN. "I’m going to push him."
It’s ominous to note that in two of Rocky’s biggest fights, one as an amateur, and the other in the pros, he was starched in the first round.
He will have an advantage in reach and height, but as the old adage goes, "The bigger they are, ......." Well. you know the rest.
Expect Rocky to fall hard inside of six rounds.