COMPETING WITH THE ELITE: CAN ROCKY FIND A WAY TO BEAT CANELO AND WILL HIS STOCK RISE WITH A CREDIBLE DISPLAY?
Saturday 15th December 2018
Even the pugilists believe there's no way Rocky Fielding overcomes this tall order against 'Canelo' Alvarez, but the enormous task at hand gives the man from Stocky lots of belief and aspiration to keep hold of his WBA world super-middleweight crown.
Nurtured from the Stockbridge ABC club. Fielding could only have dreamed of fighting on the world stage against one of the most formidable pound-for-pound stars in world boxing at the moment.
With a chance to rip up the script and show the wider boxing fraternity what Rocky Fielding is all about, the 31-year-old must find something special to go down in history.
With Buster Douglas' brutal tenth round knockout of 'Iron' Mike Tyson in February 1990, this isn't the first and certainly won't be the last upset in the sport, at the elite level, and Fielding can re-write history by beating Canelo in New York.
Now that the most recent chapter of Alvarez' career is closed (for now), after sharing twenty-four gruelling rounds with Gennady Golovkin, the Mexican turns his attention to the 168lb division and becoming a three-weight world champion.
Canelo looks in serious shape, moving up in weight and tipping the scales at 167.6lbs at Friday's weigh-in and looks ready to show Fielding that he is levels above when you enter the upper echelons of world boxing.
After suffering a devastating loss to fellow Liverpudlian world champion, Callum Smith earlier in his career, a new and improved Fielding has put together some top-class wins against the likes of Rebrasse, Cox and Ryder to revive his career and earn his spot at Madison Square Garden, on Saturday night.
This will be the first time Fielding has fought at the mecca of boxing and with the odds stacked against him to cause any upset, he still believes he's got the tools to give Canelo problems.
Put the whole 'punchers' chance to one side, Fielding is the one who stepped up to the test and although he's the champion at the weight class, he's the one who hasn't had to drop the pounds for the fight, still remains the B side and has absolutely nothing to lose here.
The taller fighter with the long arms and reach may give Fielding confidence that he can stay out of range once he gets his jab off and utilises these factors, despite all other attributes in terms of experience at the top level, variety, counter-punching, boxing IQ and sublime skill, favouring the Mexican.
Fielding's partnership with Jamie Moore and working on executing the right gameplan may prove difficult against a shorter, stockier fighter in Canelo who can adjust and adapt to any challenge he's faced with, but Fielding seems to be a lot happier with the transition and turning the performance in the gym to the ring with his most recent win against Tyron Zeuge, in Germany, topping any previous success.
In his fights with Golovkin, Canelo was able to deter the pressure and ferocity of the former unified Middleweight champion, riding shots well, able to slip and slide, cover up on the ropes and use the shoulder to block the big overhands in order to land effective counters around the guard and drop shots to the body.
Fielding's body may be an area for Canelo to exploit early but the Brit must keep his distance and draw Canelo in to make him make mistakes to have the success he wants.
Holding the centre of the ring is crucial and whoever is able to dictate and control the pace of the fight will find themselves in a healthy position, entering the Championship rounds.
Canelo is the favourite to catch Fielding early on and the bookmakers see this as an early win by KO but whether Fielding is able to weather the early storm and show his heart and character as the champion, could surprise a lot of people if it goes longer than expected.