Canelo Alvarez spent all week craning his neck to look up at the taller Rocky Fielding, and he showed Saturday night what he was thinking.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Alvarez (51-1-2) became the ninth Mexican fighter to win world titles in three weight classes by knocking down Fielding four times en route to a third-round technical knockout in front of a raucous 20,112 at Madison Square Garden.
Alvarez takes the World Boxing Assn. secondary super-middleweight belt away from England’s Fielding (27-2), finishing him 2 minutes 38 seconds into the third after dropping Fielding in both the first and second rounds with disabling body shots.
Alvarez, making his Garden debut, joins Julio Cesar Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Fernando Montiel, Abner Mares, Humberto Soto and Jorge Arce as world champions of three or more divisions who call Mexico home.
Alvarez sent the 9-1 underdog Fielding to the canvas with a hook to the liver midway through the first round and spent the second targeting the same section until finding another opening for a repeat hard left that dropped Fielding to a knee again.
“That was the plan … hit the body and then move up,” Alvarez said. “You see the result.”
Fielding couldn’t deliver the jabs or lean on his length to keep Alvarez at distance, and his battering was clinched because Alvarez showed little regard for the power punches that Fielding threw, wilting the Brit’s legs with the blows.
“I never shied away from the challenge. I dared to be great and lived the dream, but hats off to Canelo. He’s an elite fighter, does everything well,” Fielding said. “He’s strong. He kept going forward. The body shots caught me and took my wind. I stood there too long, and should’ve kept [the fight] long.
“The timing, the speed … he puts his shots together well.”
Alvarez varied his power with a hard right flush to the jaw to drop Fielding early in the third before finishing him with that go-to left to the liver that convinced referee Ricky Gonzalez to stop the fight.
The blistering showing was a sensational opening to Alvarez’s 11-fight, $365-million deal with the new streaming service DAZN, and in his shortest break between fights since 2011, he provided a highlight-reel showing to punctuate his defining Sept. 15 middleweight-title victory over Gennady Golovkin.
Alvarez, describing himself as “good and strong” as a super-middleweight, said he’ll pursue “the best fights,” with International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs likely standing as the frontrunner for a May 4 bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya said he has “zero” idea whom Alvarez will fight next, contending the foe could be a middleweight or super-middleweight opponent. De La Hoya said an opponent decision will be reached “after the holidays ... we’ll go after the top guys. Canelo is used to fighting the very best. Now, he can choose from a bigger pool of fighters.
“Canelo showed not only his patience and body work, but that he can hang in there with the big boys … he looked very comfortable in there,” De La Hoya said.
Earlier on the card, unbeaten Victorville lightweight Ryan Garcia, in his first fight with Alvarez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso working his corner, knocked out Braulio Rodriguez 1 minute 14 seconds into the fifth round.
“I heard people on Instagram saying they ‘don’t think this kid can fight.’ So I wasn’t looking for the knockout. I wanted to show them I can fight and I’m for real,” said Garcia, 20.
Garcia (17-0, 14 knockouts) dropped Rodriguez in the first round with a massive left hook to the face, and Rodriguez desperately hung on as Garcia whaled.
Rodriguez (19-4), of the Dominican Republic, had one point deducted in the third round for low blows, and Garcia smacked him hard with right hands in the round.
“We knew from the weigh-in that he would try to intimidate me,” Garcia said of a prefight shove, “but all that stuff didn’t matter.”
Tevin Farmer (28-4-1), the International Boxing Federation super-featherweight champion from Philadelphia, relied on his hand quickness and evasiveness to defeat challenger Francisco Fonseca (22-2-1) of Costa Rica by three scores of 117-111.
“It was a good performance. He was good inside,” Farmer said.