BOXING

Canelo Pummels Rocky, Ramirez and Farmer Pick Up Wins

Canelo Alvarez Obliterates Rocky Fielding With Third-Round TKO

 

Canelo Alvarez’s jaunt up to super middleweight was less of the challenge that those marketing the fight said it was, and more of a mismatch in favor of Canelo. He dropped Rocky Fielding once in the first round, again in the second round, and two more times in the third round for a one-sided technical knockout.

That’s fine — so long as we don’t make more of this fight than what it actually was, and so long as we don’t get more fights like these instead of the better fights that are available.

This was an excusable way for Alvarez to stay busy, and surprisingly so given that just three months had passed since his highly competitive win in a grueling rematch with Gennady Golovkin. There was still scarring on his face to serve as a reminder for how recent, and damaging, that fight was.

Back in the day, world titleholders would stay busy against lesser opponents between big fights. That’s gone almost completely by the wayside. Fighters tend to appear twice or perhaps three times a year. It would’ve sucked had Canelo’s fight with Fielding come in May 2019 and been one of his two appearances for the year.

Instead, we can expect to see Alvarez back in about five months, and hopefully against much better opposition.

Fielding held a paper title at 168, the “regular” WBA title, which means little given that the far superior Callum Smith is the WBA’s “super” titleholder. Fielding had lost to Smith in just one round back in 2015. He’d bounced back since with six straight victories, including a technical knockout of Tyron Zeuge this past July.

Canelo’s team still chose Fielding for a reason. While Fielding was several inches taller, he had neither the power nor the speed to keep Alvarez away. Canelo treated him like a punching bag.

Alvarez had a lot of body in front of him, after all, and so he wisely targeted it throughout. A left hook to the liver dropped Fielding barely halfway into the first round. Fielding rose gamely, as he would each time he went down. That’s about all you can say. Alvarez knew the body was where he could keep going, and so he drummed away with lefts and rights, wisely mixing in uppercuts and crosses when Fielding’s elbows dropped to protect his sides.

Fielding’s flurries to try to fend Alvarez off didn’t land much, nor with much impact. Alvarez was back on the inside in the second, and another body shot had Fielding down toward the round’s end. Fielding looked to his corner, perhaps a sign that he wanted out, though he beat the count again and continued on.

The next knockdown, in the third round, came as the result of a right hand upstairs. Soon Canelo returned to the body once more, dropping Fielding for the fourth and final time. The referee didn’t even count; the fight was a mismatch and didn’t need to continue.

Alvarez is now 51-1-2 with 35 KOs. While there are tougher challenges at super middleweight, including the No. 1 fighter in Smith, we’re more likely going to see Canelo return back down to 160. It had once seemed most likely that David Lemieux would be next. Lemieux was supposed to appear in the co-feature but pulled out when he couldn’t make the middleweight limit. It’s uncertain whether Lemieux will remain in play at a catch-weight.

It’s also doubtful that a third Golovkin fight will be next. The ideal challenge would be Daniel Jacobs, who lost a close fight to Golovkin in early 2017.

Fielding is now 27-2 with 15 KOs.

Gilberto Ramirez Edges Jesse Hart Again, Likely Headed to 175 Next

 The second fight between super middleweights Gilberto Ramirez and Jesse Hart went very much like the first one, which is exactly what those of us who saw their enjoyable match 15 months ago hoped would happen.

Hart was again able to drag Ramirez into a battle. Ramirez had to dig down, fighting through an injury to his left elbow in the eighth round, rallying late in order to come out with a very close victory.

The 12th round proved to be the difference, propelling Ramirez to a lead on two of the three judges’ scorecards, 115-113, or seven rounds to five. The other judge had it 114-114, a draw. Had Ramirez instead lost the last round, the fight would’ve been a majority draw.

This was a fight that had needed to happen pretty much from the moment the last one ended, and even more so given the dreary fights Ramirez had been in ever since against unheralded opposition like Habib Ahmed and Roamer Angulo. Hart, meanwhile, was forced to bide his time while awaiting a rematch and another shot at Ramirez’s title, taking out lesser opposition in Thomas Awimbono, Demond Nicholson, and Mike Gavronski.

Ramirez is now 39-0 with 25 KOs. The only blemishes on Hart’s record of 25-2 (21 KOs) have come against Ramirez. But if a third fight is ever to take place, it likely won’t be at 168.

That’s because Ramirez will probably be moving up to light heavyweight. His body, lean at 6-foot-2 or so, is filling out as he gets older, and at 27 years old it is time to get another seven pounds of leeway on the scales.

In some ways that’s a shame, as there are still challenges remaining for Ramirez at super middleweight, particularly given that he didn’t participate in the division’s World Boxing Super Series tournament. But there’s also a lot available at 175. Ramirez has specifically mentioned Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who recently became the lineal champion when he took out Adonis Stevenson.

Hart may be 0-2 for in his chances, meanwhile, but he deserves another one.

 

Tevin Farmer Notches Second Title Defense in Four Months, Beats Fonseca

Tevin Farmer went to Australia to win a title, then fought closer to home for his next two defenses, the first coming in Boston this past October, the latest taking place in New York City on Saturday.

Farmer did what he needed to do each time out, and for that he will be rewarded — returning to his native Philadelphia in early 2019 to perform in front of a crowd that will now appreciate him even more.

That’s because they’ve had the chance to see Farmer increase his stature with three fights in four and a half months, beating Billy Dib for the vacant belt, stopping James Tennyson, and then outboxing and pounding away at Francisco Fonseca for 12 rounds.

Farmer’s victory over Fonseca got a good spotlight, coming immediately before the main event of Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding. The original co-feature was supposed to be David Lemieux vs. Tureano Johnson, but that was canceled when Lemieux was unable to make weight.

Farmer’s spent much of the year calling out fellow 130-pound titleholder Gervonta Davis. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen anytime soon. Davis has a fight with Abner Mares scheduled for February, and then other options with the Premier Boxing Champions stable.

Instead, look for Farmer to look toward the other guys with belts at junior lightweight, be it Miguel Berchelt, Alberto Machado, or the winner of Masayuki Ito vs. Evgeny Chuprakov. There are other contenders in the division as well, including Scott Quigg.

Farmer’s record is now 28-4-1, which indicates just how far he’s come after going 7-4-1 in his first 12 pro fights. He really began to get attention in 2015 and 2016, when he defeated Daulis Prescott and Gamaliel Diaz and then really excelled against a once-hyped Ivan Redkach. Farmer got his first title shot a year ago, losing to Kenichi Ogawa, though that defeat was overturned when Ogawa tested positive for a banned substance.

This is his time. Fonseca meanwhile, is a game fighter who just can’t triumph on a world level. He is now 22-2-1; that other loss came against Davis last year.

Ryan Garcia Knocks Out Awkward Braulio Rodriguez

 Braulio Rodriguez is the kind of awkward opponent who can make for an ugly fight. You might think that a young prospect’s team would want to steer clear from someone like him. Instead, they picked him as Ryan Garcia’s next foe for a reason.

Garcia is an up-and-coming 20-year-old 135-pounder whose good looks have given him quite the social media following, and whose talents have him being groomed for the future. One way of getting him ready is teaching him how to handle a fighter like Rodriguez, whose style can be awkward, whose taunting can get a fighter off his game, and whose skills can be dangerous if they’re not taken seriously.

Garcia passed this test, dropping Rodriguez in the first round and then drilling him again in the fifth for the knockout win.

Rodriguez tried to show that the first-round knockdown hadn’t hurt him, spending parts of the next rounds teasing bolo punches, performing Ali shuffles, bending low to avoid shots, and winging punches in return to try to keep Garcia at bay. Rodriguez wasn’t landing most of them — except for some low blows, for which he was deducted a point in Round 3. They nevertheless served to remind Garcia that Rodriguez was still dangerous.

Garcia, meanwhile, was whiffing on left hooks when in the center of the ring but having more success when he could push Rodriguez to the ropes, where Rodriguez was less mobile, less able to contort his body out of the way.

The end came in the fifth, shortly after Garcia had sent out a jab as a distraction and followed with a good right hand around Rodriguez’s guard. Rodriguez shook his head but was otherwise hurt, and Garcia soon hurt him worse, sending out a combination and finishing with a left hook. Rodriguez dropped down, lying underneath the ropes, clearly dazed, unable to beat the count.

Garcia is now 17-0 with 14 KOs. Rodriguez fell to 19-4 with 17 KOs. This was his third straight loss.

 

Lamont Roach Jr. Picks Up Victory, Eyes Title Shot in 2019

Lamont Roach Jr. is still young — months away from his 24th birthday, just 19 fights into a pro career that began in 2014. But the 130-pound prospect feels he’s ready for a title shot, ready to move beyond the type of opponent he faced Saturday night and on toward tougher challenges.

Roach won a unanimous decision over Alberto Mercado to move to 18-0-1 with 7 knockouts. The scores were wide in Roach’s favor: 99-91 (nine rounds to one), 98-92 (eight rounds to two) and 97-93 (seven rounds to three).

Mercado had lost only once before, against a faded version of Jayson Velez in 2017. He’s now 15-2-1 with 3 KOs.

Afterward, Roach called out a pair of titleholders at junior lightweight: Masayuki Ito and Alberto Machado (not to be confused with Mercado). Machado is co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which also has Roach in its stable. Roach is also potentially in line for a shot at the winner of this month’s fight between Ito and Evgeny Chuprakov.

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman. David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and "Fighting Words" columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book "Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing." Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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