Mancuso: Canelo Is The New Face

Now Canelo Alvarez has to be considered the new face of boxing. He has the richest contract for an athlete, a world wide streaming service that televises his fights. He sold out Madison Square Garden Saturday night in his debut fight with the DAZN Network and Matchroom Boxing also promoted as a superstar.

With a terrific attack to the body, Alvarez knocked down Rocky Fielding four times. The last time at 2:38 or round three made him the face. Alvarez, 51-1-2, 34 KO’s is a four time champion in three divisions after moving up in weight and winning the WBA Super Middleweight title.

Madison Square Garden, and 20,112 fans will vouch that Canelo Alvarez qualifies to be the face of boxing.  That says a lot with some of the elite fighters in a highly contested welterweight division who would argue to the contrary. And most of those fans of Mexican descent at the Garden will argue that Canelo Alvarez is their hero.

You can’t blame those fans for their cause to be excited. Madison Square Garden has not seen this type of buzz and hysteria for a fighter since Miguel Cotto and his title reign as a four-division  champion from Puerto Rico. Cotto sold out the Garden numerous times, set record gate receipts.

After Saturday night, and the way this was promoted, this won’t be the last time Canelo Alvarez sells out Madison Square Garden. And this is a champion, through all the controversy of using steroids to advance his career, who has overcome the adversity and completed a successful first of a five-year, 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN.

Credit: Amanda Westcott/ DAZN

It worked Saturday night and this was not pay-per-view.  DAZN, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, and Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy,  Alvarez’s promoter, are looking at this as an increasing fan and subscription base with a fighter who has the tools to take this a long way.

“That was the plan in the gym, to hit the body and then move up,”Alvarez said through an interpreter. Moving up to the head of Fielding and also moving up to be this new and popular face of boxing.

Alvarez said that was the result to move up. He has with this new promotional deal and De La Hoya made it known that this was the way it was planned. Fielding, successful with most of his wins in England, much taller, he became the perfect opponent.

De La Hoya said, “Canelo solidified he is a global hero.” It was meant for Canelo Alvarez to win Saturday night and with total command.  Now, with two titles, and this legitimate face of the sport, Canelo Alvarez is in command. Who is next?

Courtesy of CompuBox, here is the command:


Alvarez73 of 141 (52%)6 of 38 (16%)67 of 103 (65%)
Fielding37 of 183 (20%)4 of 36 (11%)33 of 147 (22%)

Alvarez will go home to Mexico and weight the options. This new face of boxing can vacate the new title and continue a quest to unify and defend his WBC middleweight title. Alvarez came in the ring at 167.4 pounds the heaviest in his career. He was stronger.

A viable opponent is Daniel Jacobs,  a title holder from Brooklyn. He was at ringside and vouched to fight Alvarez at middleweight.  Jacobs is a free agent when it comes to what network would televise his fights and a return to Hearn and DAZN is inevitable. Or, Alvarez could set up and defend the middleweight titles and  fight Gennady Golovkin a third time.

All of this would be with DAZN for his next fight scheduled in early May. This changing landscape in the sport is wide open. The difference though, Canelo Alvarez has more options than all the other champions who are competing with other streaming networks plus Showtime and the PBC.

It does not matter to Alvarez or De La Hoya whether it’s 160 or 168. De La Hoya said there was no thought of an opponent for the next one. But a fight with Jacobs, and at the Garden, would no doubt sell out the building again and Canelo Alvarez would be headed to Miguel Cotto territory.

“We are going to enjoy the holidays,” De La Hoya said. “Enjoy our families, and then as a team we will choose who Canelo will fight, whether it is at 160 or 168. He has many choices as we speak.”

Choices for sure. because this dominating win has surely stated that Canelo Alvarez is the new face. It took some time and controversy. But there are no questions to be asked about this lucrative and unprecedented deal that Canelo Alvarez delivered at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

One Had To Win: Mauricio Herrera, the 38-year old welterweight with Mexican heritage, came close four years ago and almost dethroned Danny Garcia for a piece of the super lightweight title.  More known now as a welterweight, Herrera opposed former 147 pound champion Sadam Ali Saturday night as one of the headline bouts at the Garden.

Both veterans did not make this fight interesting and there was nothing to brag about. Ali won by unanimous decision and one judge at ringside gave all 10- rounds to the Brooklyn native and resident.

Ali, the one time outstanding amateur is the former WBO Welterweight champion who dethroned and retired four-division champion Miguel Cotto at the Garden a year ago.  So, both fighters were in a crossroads and this was that make or break in their careers.

“It was an ok fight,” Herrera said. “ I had to shake a lot of the rust off, but it was a good pace. Overall, I thought I won the fight. I had him missing a lot in there, and I wasn’t that tired.”

Regardless the fight was a stinker. Very few exciting moments and it closed with exchanges from Ali and Herrera that got the loudest reaction of the fight. Ali would need to get a few more wins if he desires to be part of another championship fight. After this, he may have to wait much longer.

“Honestly, I didn’t look good in there,”Ali said. “ I felt like I won sloppy. Herrera made me look terrible in there. He’s a rugged fighter. And I fell in there that last moment of the fight the same way I felt when I fought Miguel Cotto. I felt like the cards were a lot closer than what the judges said they were.”

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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