England’s Rocky Fielding has put his name on the world stage against one of boxing’s modern greats in Mexican Canelo Alvarez. Fielding will be making the first defence of his WBA World Super Middleweight title at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’, Madison Square Garden, and is looking to cause one of the great modern-day upsets. However, Alvarez will have his sights set firmly on becoming a three-weight world champion and further cementing his place in history.
P4P great Canelo Alvarez’s record speaks for itself. With just one loss from 53 bouts, the two-weight world champion is one of the biggest names in the sport and someone all opponents want to face for the chance of their biggest payday and maybe go down in history. England’s Rocky Fielding has earned just that, and although he comes in as a massive underdog, he is somewhat in a win-win position.
Canelo is stepping up to the super-middleweight division having claimed all the middleweight belts against GGG. For a fighter who was boxing at 154lbs just four fights previously, the step up in divisions is a brave one and choosing Fielding as his opponent appears calculated.
Fielding is naturally the much bigger man, standing three inches taller and having a mammoth four-and-a-half-inch reach advantage. However, Fielding has just 54% KOs on his record, something that may have been a big factor for Canelo with him not being as big a hitter as some of the other names in the division.
One of Alvarez’s secrets to success is perhaps his turning professional at just 15 years old and learning his trade the hard way, making his career record even more remarkable. At just 28 years old, he has already been in the paid ranks for 13 years and has been consistently active throughout, fighting twice per year since 2012 in the biggest fights.
Fielding however has just eight years as a professional and at the age of 31 has had to build his career in a very different manner. This is without doubt the biggest year of his career to date and a victory would see him become a hero of British boxing overnight.
Fielding’s only loss to date came in a first round TKO against fellow Brit Callum Smith. Since then he has rebuilt his career, and when his chance came for a world title against Tyron Zeuge in Germany he took it with both hands, recording a TKO in the fifth. In the process of his last ten bouts, he has recorded 60% KOs – higher than his career 54% - suggesting he has found a formula and style that works.
Canelo’s only loss came via majority decision against the great, and prime, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Since that loss, he has gone on to dominate and has arguably taken the role as boxing’s pound for pound best. This will be Canelo’s sixth world title bout since that loss, further highlighting the calibre of boxer he is.
Stepping up to middleweight to face Golovkin in his previous two bouts will have given Canelo genuine confidence. Many believe that Canelo lost both of those fights, and certainly shouldn’t have been afforded an initial rematch after failing a drugs test, whereby the size advantage of GGG certainly showed with Canelo taking some heavy shots over the two bouts that could have left some lasting scars.
Canelo’s first world title fight came just six months after Fielding turned professional, further demonstrating the longevity and quality of fighter the Mexican is. In facing Canelo, with his 13 world title fights in total, including victories against some of the best names in the sport, Fielding couldn’t be taking on a tougher task in just his first world title defence.
Five months ago, Rocky Fielding would never have envisioned this night happening. However, since winning a first world title and being afforded the chance to defend against one of boxing’s all-time greats, he will have grown twofold in confidence.
Canelo and his team though will have deliberately selected Fielding as they know this is the best opportunity of becoming a three-weight world champion. Fielding, on paper, does not have the same pedigree as perhaps the other title holders in Callum Smith, Jose Uzcategui or Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. Nevertheless, Canelo should not be underestimating his opponent too much as Fielding’s significant size and natural weight advantage, coupled with the reality of having nothing to lose, can make him suddenly very dangerous.
All the same, betting against Alvarez is difficult, and the fact that he selected Fielding speaks volumes, as someone of his calibre would not take such a risk if he and his team were not convinced of victory. Expect Fielding to have some success and cause problems, but Alvarez will be too quick, agile and smart throughout the 12 rounds, taking victory on points.