NEW YORK -- Canelo Alvarez took a bite out of the Big Apple in his Madison Square Garden debut, and took a huge chunk of Rocky Fielding's body along with it.
Alvarez, the unified middleweight champion, successfully moved up to 168 pounds in this one-off attraction and brutalized Fielding en route to a third-round TKO to claim the WBA "regular" super middleweight title.
With an onslaught focused almost exclusively on the body, Alvarez scored four knockdowns in all -- all four on left hooks downstairs -- to the delight of a pro-Mexican sellout crowd of 20,112. The bout served as the first in Alvarez's 11-fight, $365 million deal with streaming app DAZN which pulled North America's pay-per-view king off of the platform.
Despite a five-inch advantage in both reach and height, Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs) lacked both the power and speed to land anything of consequence on Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs), who connected to the body on 35 of his 73 total shots landed, according to CompuBox.
"That was the plan in the gym, to hit the body and then move up, and that's the result," Alvarez said. "You see the result here. [I felt] very good, very strong [at 168 pounds]. I didn't have to dehydrate myself to make weight. I feel good and I feel strong."
Yet for all of the fanfare coming in regarding Alvarez's new broadcast deal and his first fight at "The World's Most Famous Arena," the largely unknown Fielding put forth a level of resistance that was almost laughable. It was evident in the opening minute just how much bigger Alvarez was as a puncher and just how ineffective the 31-year-old Fielding, a native of Liverpool, England, turned out to be.
Alvarez landed 65 percent of his power shots and routinely walked Fielding down to force his back against the ropes. The Mexican star connected on an incredible 51.8 percent of his punches in all, outlanding Fielding by a margin of 73 to 37.
"We'll have to see [whether he fights at 168 pounds again]," Alvarez said. "I have to talk to my team, enjoy the holiday and then I'll talk to my team. But right now, without a doubt, what I want are the best fights. My goal is to make good fights for the people, for the public, and to make sure the name of Canelo Alvarez and of Mexico is held up high."
The quick turnaround of three months was the shortest for Alvarez since 2011. He entered the fight fresh off a decision win over Gennady Golovkin in their all-action September rematch and took on Fielding despite a cut above his left eye that hadn't fully healed.
Alvarez has maintained that he will only seek a trilogy fight with GGG should the Kazakh slugger and television free agent follow him to DAZN. IBF middleweight titleholder Daniel Jacobs, another free agent following HBO's exit from boxing after 45 years, entered the ring after the fight to shake hands with Alvarez and remains a possible May 4 opponent in Las Vegas.
"For me, I feel like on Sept. 15 [in the Golovkin rematch], I showed that I was the best," Alvarez said. "But it was two great fights and if the people want it, we can make it. I'm happy and I'm grateful to be here [at MSG]. I hope this is the first of many."
Fielding's height advantage left him vulnerable for powerful hooks to the body from the beginning. Alvarez dropped him with a left hand midway through the opening round and rocked Fielding late with a right cross.
Alvarez dropped Fielding a second time with a left hook in Round 2. He used the same punch to floor Fielding a third time in Round 3. One more hook forced Fielding to voluntarily take a knee in a fourth knockdown, forcing referee Ricky Gonzalez to wave off the fight without a count at 2:38 of the round.
Canelo vs. Rocky card, results
Canelo Alvarez (c) def. Rocky Fielding via third-round TKO (ref stoppage)
Tevin Farmer (c) def. Francisco Fonseca via unanimous decision (117-111, 117-111, 117-111)
Sadam Ali def. Mauricio Herrera via unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 98-92)
Ryan Garcia def. Braulio Rodriguez via fifth-round knockout (stoppage)
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Canelo vs. Rocky scorecard, coverage
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