By Lem Satterfield
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez considered former welterweight titleholder Carlos Baldomir “a risky fight” for a then-20-year-old Canelo Alvarez in advance of their 153 ½-pound bout in September 2010 at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Baldomir had suffered route-going setbacks against champions Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the late Vernon Forrest, yet unanimously decisioned left-handed former titlist Zab Judah, won by 11th-round disqualification over title-winner Joshua Clottey, and stopped the late all-action brawler champ Arturo Gatti in the ninth round.
But Alvarez not only out-boxed the rugged Baldomir, he literally flattened the steel-chinned Argentine with a short, powerful, head-swiveling left. Baldomir fell forward, face-first, and failed to beat the 10-count, being stopped for only the second time in his career in the sixth round.
Looking back, Baldomir may have been Alvarez’s coming out party.
“Canelo is a special fighter and a special athlete. Even at 18 years old, he was always very mature for his age,” said Gomez, during a conference call on Tuesday. “Like any fighter, Canelo is tough and only wants to fight the best, but we always had to hold him back.”
But there will be no restraints on the 28-year-old Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) in pursuit of his third crown in as many divisions on December 15 against WBA “regular” 168-pound Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) at New York’s Madison Square Garden while retaining his WBA and WBC 160-pound titles.
“Canelo wants to join the legendary champions out of Mexico…by becoming a three-time world champion,” said Gomez. “This will also be Canelo’s first fight at Madison Square Garden, which he 's very excited bout being able to walk in the footsteps of many great fighters like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscasr De La Hoya and many others.”
Alvarez dethroned Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) as WBA/WBC middleweight champion by majority decision in September’s rematch of their draw in September 2017 before signing a $365 million multi-fight deal with the streaming service DAZN.
If successful against Fielding, Alvarez plans to unify against one or more opponents, if not, clean out an entire 160-pound division – a task that would include a third bout against 36-year-old “Triple-G” Golovkin if not fights with champions Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs), Rob Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) and Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), holders of the IBF, WBO, WBA “regular” and WBC interim crowns.
“That's the idea after defeating Rocky Fielding. It’s very important to me to make great fights and to return to the 160-pound division where I feel that I’m at my best,” said Alvarez. “So right now, that’s what I have in mind, is [to beat Fielding] and then go back to 160 and look for all of the best fights.”
Alvarez’s resplendent resume inludes a non-title split-decision victory over Cuban left-handed former champion Erislandy Lara in July 2014, a one-knockdown unanimous decision to add southpaw Austin Trout’s WBA crown to his WBC version in April 2013, and unanimous decisions over one-, three- and four-division title-winners Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (May 2017), Shane Mosley (May 2012) and Miguel Cotto (November 2015).
“When we did the fight with Austin Trout, I was against it, but Canelo was adamant that he wanted that fight because there was something that he knew or that’s he saw which we didn’t see, and he really forced our hand,” said Gomez of Alvarez, who is 8-0-1 with four knockouts since a majority decision loss to Mayweather in a September 2013 unification bout.
“The same goes with the Golovkin fight. If it was up to us, we wouldn’t have taken it [at that time.] But Canelo wanted it and he forced us to take it. It’s been like that with a lot of his big fights. We didn’t think it was the right time to take the Mayweather fight, and he wanted it. But Canelo’s always been very confident in his abilities.”
Alvarez also owns stoppages in the fifth, sixth, ninth and 10th rounds over former champions Kermit Cintron (November 2011), Amir Khan (May 2016), Liam Smith (September 2016) and Alfredo Angulo (March 2014).
“I’ve fought many great fighters in Lara, Trout, Cotto, Mosley, Triple-G and Mayweather,” said Alvarez. “Each of those fights is important to my legacy. But every fight is a risky fight, and [for Fielding,] I’m training hard to minimize that risk."