Canelo vs. Rocky: This Rocky Story is About Cashing in and Cashing out

By Paul Magno on December 11, 2018
Canelo vs. Rocky: This Rocky Story is About Cashing in and Cashing out
The real world Rocky will likely fulfill his role as fall guy in an “I told you so” mismatch.

Even if Rocky Fielding pulled a Rocky Balboa at MSG this Saturday, he probably still wouldn’t get the decision, just like Rocky Balboa didn’t…

In the first Rocky film, Rocky Balboa was picked as a showcase patsy for defending superstar champ Apollo Creed. This Saturday, in the not-always-glamorous real world, Rocky Fielding was picked as a showcase patsy for defending superstar champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

In the movie, Rocky rose to the occasion and gave Creed a hellacious battle before losing via split decision on the scorecards in “the greatest exhibition of guts and stamina in the history of the ring.” The real world Rocky, however, will be bound to the realities of the matchup and will likely fulfill his role as fall guy to the star under the bright lights of New York’s historic Madison Square Garden in an “I told you so” mismatch.

“It’s going to be a long road, a hard road to New York,” Fielding told ESPN at the beginning of camp. “And when I get there it’s going to be worth it. I just know it.”

Exactly what you’d expect to hear from a starry-eyed underdog who, perhaps naively, thinks that what happens in the ring is all that matters in determining a victor.

In a lot of ways, Rocky Fielding IS Rocky Balboa, or at least a slightly more polished UK version of the fictional Philadelphian.

Fielding has no entourage, no hangers on, and a very simple blue collar lifestyle despite the secondary WBA super middleweight belt around his waist. And even that title belt is lacking in luster as most fans and members of the media recognize Callum Smith, who blew Fielding away in one round back in 2015, as the “real” WBA super middleweight champ.

The Liverpool-born Fielding is not some stumblebum pug scraped from the bottom of a neighborhood gym. He’s not a fluid fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s alright in overall skill and can even bang a bit to both body and head when given space to fling long punches from his lanky 6’ 1” frame.

But he isn’t a world class fighter.

The closest Fielding has come to a true world class win was in his title winning effort in Germany against Tyron Zeuge back in July—and Zeuge, himself, isn’t exactly a proven world class fighter, either.

Meanwhile, Canelo Alvarez IS a world class fighter. Holes may be poked into long stretches of the red-headed Mexican’s résumé and accusations of favoritism, both in the judging of his fights and in the matchmaking allowed to him, can be levied, but there should be no denying at this point that the 28-year-old is, indeed, world class.

There’s also no denying that Alvarez is a big money player. Having just signed a five-year, multi-fight deal worth upwards of $365 million with streaming service DAZN, the three-division world champ, who has been a bankable attraction since he was a teenager, has tremendous pull now as the marquee North American presence of a deep-pocketed new broadcast company.

So, realistically, even if Rocky Fielding pulled a Rocky Balboa at MSG this Saturday, he probably still wouldn’t get the decision, just like Rocky Balboa didn’t.

But don’t expect a Rocky-Apollo war this weekend. Don’t expect anything more than a gallant losing effort from Rocky, one which gradually becomes the mismatch most everyone expects and one which ends with an ugly KO (perhaps via thudding body shot—exploiting a real liability in the Brit’s defensive game).

Fielding towers over Alvarez and is fighting in his own division with Alvarez coming in as the naturally smaller fighter. It’s also defending champ vs. challenger. But skill and talent trump size, belt, and optimism (and money trumps everything).

All signs point to this upcoming Rocky story being more about Rocky cashing in his title belt for a big, fat payday than overcoming the odds in a historical upset.

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  1. fan 06:15am, 12/13/2018

    easy fight canelo

  2. Bruce 08:26pm, 12/12/2018

    Only the scum who operate the WBA would stoop to have multiple World Champions in their same divisional rankings, although most of the other alphabet clowns use the interim “titles” to accomplish the same scam.  Golden Boy and MSG should hang their heads in shame to use this marketing gimmick on a gullible public.

  3. Kid Blast 08:14am, 12/12/2018

    The story is in the title and I quite agree. Early retirement time.

  4. Erect On Demand 07:38am, 12/12/2018

    “Even if Rocky pulled a Balboa….he probably still wouldn’t get the decision”....you think?! Blame Sanchez for all of this….he had GGG actually thinking he was an adopted son of old Mexico and that he had a chance of winning a decision when all along it would have to be a KO or nothing! GGG was a Mexican foster child at best… only loved as much as the monthly check he represented to foster madre and padre! English, Spanish, Russian…lot’s of nuances in those three languages and I still say there was a disconnect between what was going on in the ring and what Sanchez was imparting to GGG in between rounds!

  5. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 07:02am, 12/12/2018

    My mistake. Leonard fought Kalule after the two fights with Duran and before he fought Hearns. Still, Leonard was given a gimme after two tough fights.

  6. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 06:57am, 12/12/2018

    Canelo deserves an easy one after the G-tree match. And yes, I think Canelo won the second fight, but he did lose the first one with G-tree. But he is indeed due for an easy fight.  After all Joe Frazier took on 191lb Terry Daniels after the first fight with Ali, and Ray Leonard snagged the junior middleweight title from a limited Ugandan named Ayub Kalule after his war with Hearns. Rocky isn’t about to beat Canelo, but perhaps someone will in the near future will pull it off. I have nothing against Canelo, but I would love to read Magno’s take on a Canelo loss the next day. hahaha.

  7. Erect On Demand 06:24am, 12/12/2018

    Memo to Rocky: Run Goddammit run! Stink up the joint! Fuk a moral victory! Fuk a “gallant losing effort”! Fuk an “ugly KO” too! Take a knee! Tackle the bastard! Hold and hit! Rabbit punch! Elbow the bugger! Head butt! Knee the bastard! Hammer his nutz! When the ref calls you for it, tell him to fuk off! DQ out! Do it! Fuk the “mismatching allowed” to this redheaded gnome! Fuk it all!

  8. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 06:00am, 12/12/2018

    A lanky 6’1” super middleweight should never be called “Rocky.” That is akin to calling a stocky 5’8” brawling middleweight, “Sugar.” Guys like Oscar Bonavena or George Chuvalo fit the “Rocky” moniker while a Roy Jones could definitely pull off the “Sugar” tag.

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