NEW YORK • Saul "Canelo" Alvarez did exactly what he was supposed to do against an overmatched opponent: he wasted no time and he closed the show.
The 28-year-old boxer floored Briton Rocky Fielding four times in a little over eight minutes on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight championship.
By doing so, he also became the ninth Mexican fighter to capture world titles in three different weight classes before a sold-out crowd of 20,112.
Alvarez, who is the reigning World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association middleweight world champion following his thrilling victory over Gennady Golovkin in September, had little trouble in moving up to 76kg in weight class and defeating Fielding.
And surely that was by design. While Fielding did bring the secondary title belt to Saturday's affair that allowed the promoters to dress it up as a bid for history, the 31-year-old was clearly handpicked as a soft touch to make Alvarez look good.
"I thought he would use his distance but luckily he didn't," Alvarez said in the ring after the bout.
It was, ultimately, a total mismatch. Fielding just did not have the power to compete and, when he went down twice in the third, referee Ricky Gonzalez correctly stopped the fight.
Punches Saul Alvarez landed in three rounds, taking just eight minutes to defeat Rocky Fielding. Nearly half of those (35) were aimed at the Englishman's body.
Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) threw crisp, patient combinations with menace from the opening bell as Fielding, who enjoyed advantages in height and reach, attempted to leverage his physical assets by doubling and tripling up the jab in the centre of the ring.
But the red-headed puncher from Guadalajara had no respect for Fielding's power and charged right into the pocket, unloading with textbook shots to the body and sending his opponent to a knee with about a minute left in the round.
Alvarez continued pouring on the punishment in the second round and rearranging his opponent's insides with exquisite body work.
Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs) beat the count and the bell once more, but the end was near.
"He came to attack and I did my thing. That was the plan, to attack to the body," said Alvarez, who landed 73 of 141 punches, including nearly half (35) to the body.
"We knew he had that weakness. Each one that landed felt like I hurt him. He committed the error by continuing to exchange with me."
The worst of it, predictably, came in the abbreviated third as Alvarez picked Fielding off with one body shot after another thrown with poise and dumbfounding accuracy.
The brave Fielding made it to his feet after the third knockdown, but he was quickly sent down a fourth time and Gonzalez waved the bout off at the 2:38 mark.
"The better man won," Fielding said. "It was a great week, I met some great people. I lived a dream."
Oscar de la Hoya, Alvarez's longtime promoter, said the entire team will enjoy the holiday before assessing potential opponents for the scheduled Cinco de Mayo fight in Las Vegas next year, adding that it could take place at either middleweight or super middleweight.
Alvarez himself refused to rule out a third meeting with Golovkin.
"If the people want it, we can make it," he added.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE