About five inches in height seemed to separate Rocky Fielding from Canelo Alvarez as they stood face to face following their weigh-in Friday at Madison Square Garden.
They were much closer in weight when the fighters each stepped on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale moments earlier.
Mexico’s Alvarez, 28, officially weighed a career-high 167.4 pounds for his shot at Fielding’s WBA world super middleweight title Saturday night at The Garden. The 31-year-old Fielding, of Liverpool, England, weighed in at 167.6 pounds for the first defense of a title he won five months ago.
Alvarez will compete at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds for the first time in his 13 years as a pro.
The WBA/WBC middleweight champion weighed 164 pounds for his easy 12-round, unanimous-decision win against Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The contracted maximum for that bout was 164½ pounds.
Alvarez told a group of reporters prior to a press conference Thursday at The Garden that he expects to weigh about 173 pounds once the opening bell rings Saturday night. Several minutes earlier, Fielding informed those same reporters that he’ll weigh 178 or 179 pounds, not nearly as much more than Alvarez as some suspect.
There is a rehydration clause in their contracts that’ll prohibit Alvarez and Fielding from weighing 10 pounds above the 168-pound limit at a second-day weigh-in Saturday morning.
After fighting almost exclusively on pay-per-view in recent years, Alvarez also will make his DAZN debut in the main event of this eight-bout card Saturday night. He signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN in October that could become worth $365 million.
If he defeats Fielding, Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) likely will move back down to 160 pounds to defend his middleweight titles May 4 at T-Mobile Arena.
Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) won the WBA’s world super middleweight title in his last fight. He stopped Germany’s Tyron Zeuge (23-1-1, 13 KOs) in the fifth round July 14 in Offenburg, Germany, to win that version of the WBA’s 168-pound championship.
England’s Callum Smith (25-1, 18 KOs), the WBA’s “super” 168-pound champion, dealt Fielding his lone loss when he stopped Fielding in the first round of their November 2015 fight in Liverpool, England. Smith floored Fielding three times before that bout was stopped 2:45 into it.