Canelo v Fielding: What next for three-weight champion Alvarez?
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez became a three-weight world champion on Saturday with a three-round demolition of Rocky Fielding.
The Mexican won the WBA (regular) super middleweight title courtesy of his dominant performance at Madison Square Garden.
Alvarez has already said he will not stick at 168 pounds and will drop back to down to middleweight, but what options are on the table for him as the plots the next step in his incredible career?
Here we assess what could be coming up for Canelo.
A third bruising encounter with Gennady Golovkin appears inevitable, and Alvarez made it clear after defeating Fielding that he is open to it.
"I felt that it [his Golovkin rivalry] ended on September 15 and I showed that I was best," he said. "But they were two great fights, that's no secret, and if the people want it, we can make it."
Having been forced to settle for a controversial draw before losing the rematch, Golovkin will undoubtedly be the more eager to complete the trilogy, the Kazakh feeling he won both those fights.
Canelo is unlikely to be as desperate to put himself through the rigour of another epic with one of the steeliest fighters on the planet. It seems clear there will be a third chapter to their rivalry, but it probably will not be immediately on the horizon.
"I felt that it ended on September 15 and I showed that I was best, but they were two great fights that's no secret, and if the people want it, we can make it"— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) December 16, 2018
@Canelo on #CaneloGGG3#CaneloRockypic.twitter.com/FlTA1nF8lI
Alternative middleweight matchups
Golovkin is far from the only enticing matchup out there for Alvarez at 160lbs. Canelo holds the WBA (super) and WBC middleweight belts and fights with IBF champion Daniel Jacobs and WBO title-holder Demetrius Andrade - an unbeaten two-division champion - would certainly carry great appeal.
The undefeated Jermall Charlo is the interim WBC champion below Alvarez while Robert Brant is the WBA (regular) champion. They are also possibilities for Alvarez as he looks to assert his dominance over the middleweight division, while Billy Joe Saunders has long been keen to test himself against Golovkin or Canelo.
Alvarez has the opportunities to firmly establish himself as the best middleweight on the planet, though many may not see him that way without a more clear-cut win over Golovkin. Another unlikely avenue to cementing his legacy would be by luring Floyd Mayweather Jr out of retirement and defeating him, though there may be little motivation beyond financial gains for Mayweather to agree to a rematch of his 2013 majority decision win over Canelo.
An eventual super middleweight return
Though he appears to have no immediate plans to fight at 168, Canelo may be enticed to return to that weight if he cannot find the challenge he desires at middleweight.
Callum Smith would seem his most obvious opponent at super middleweight, the unbeaten Briton is the WBA (super) champion above Canelo and was even more convincing in beating Fielding back in 2015, getting a first-round stoppage after three knockdowns.
Canelo has the power and ability to thrive at 168 and Smith, winner of the World Boxing Super Series, would certainly be expected to provide a much sterner test than Fielding. Despite his insistence on fighting at 160 in 2019, a jump back up to super middleweight is not out of the question at the end of next year.