ROCKY Fielding can be forgiven for trying to gain confidence by any means necessary ahead of what appears an insurmountable task in New York on December 15.
The WBA regular super-middleweight champion headlines Madison Square Garden in a fight against world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and is, according to many, little more than a sacrificial lamb for the popular Mexican. (Indeed, the only shock greater than the initial fight announcement would be a win for the underdog from Liverpool.)
That said, Fielding does have some things working in his favour. For one, he’s by far the naturally bigger man – the natural super-middleweight, no less. Secondly, he can punch. Thirdly, he is coming off the win of his career, a fifth-round stoppage of Tyron Zeuge, the former champion, in Germany in July. And, finally, he believes Canelo Alvarez has taken this fight too soon after going to war for 12 rounds with Gennady Golovkin in September and could pay the price for such exuberance.
“When we had the face off, the first thing I saw were cuts from the ‘GGG’ fight which were still fresh,” Fielding, 27-1 (15), told Sky Sports.
“There’s no way he’s going to be able to put eight pounds of muscle on since his last fight, but he’s elite and I know that it’s my biggest test.
“I’m confident, though. I wouldn’t have taken it otherwise. It’s at my weight, and I am big for the weight. I can punch, I’m heavy-handed and I can box.
“Canelo doesn’t make many mistakes, so we’re going to have to draw those mistakes out of him. He boxed in a 12-round war in September and now he’s gone into another camp to box me in December. Will his body hold up through another camp after that war?”
Fielding hopes not. So too does his training team and most of Liverpool. But ‘Rocky from Stocky’ realises, all the same, that it will take more than hope, and the possibility of Alvarez’s face falling apart, to secure him the greatest win of his eight-year pro career.
In terms of verbal exchanges and mind games, there aren’t many avenues left unexplored ahead of Deontay Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight title defence against Tyson Fury this Saturday (December 1) in Los Angeles. By now, we’ve pretty much heard it all. Bomb Squad. Gypsy King. Bum. Dosser. Lineal.
However, one interesting line that did manage to filter through all the nonsense spewed at yesterday’s final press conference centred on Wilder allegedly being dropped not once but twice by Wladimir Klitschko in a sparring session long ago. Fury, the one making the claim, didn’t see the incident – or incidents – with his own eyes, no, but he has, in the words of the great Marvin Gaye, heard it through the grapevine.
“No way [is Wilder a toughest test than Klitschko],” he told reporters after yesterday’s final press conference. “Nowhere near. Wilder ain’t on Wladimir Klitschko’s level.
“And I heard off a good source that when Klitschko and Wilder sparred, Klitschko dropped him twice. Twice. He got out the ring and couldn’t continue.
“Klitschko didn’t even land a glove on me (when Fury defeated him in 2015), never mind drop me.”
Getting dropped by Wladimir Klitschko, whether once or twice, is certainly no disgrace. For nearly a decade, he was the best heavyweight on the planet and arguably one of the hardest-punching of all time.
Not only that, getting dropped by Wladimir Klitschko, if indeed it happened, does not mean Deontay Wilder will invariably suffer the same fate against Tyson Fury in LA.
With the grandstanding about to stop (thank God), the truth will out.