A tiny tear in his passport photo almost saw Fielding denied a visa to travel to America and box Canelo on Saturday (December 15) at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“He applied for a visa, so he got a letter. He went about a month ago, went in, had the interview, got the visa, got approved for the visa. They took the passport off him, said okay we’ll get it stamped and send it back to you. Last Monday [December 3] we get a letter back from the passport agency saying your visa has been denied because there was a tear – you couldn’t even see the tear – but there’s a tear on the page. We were told you need to get a new passport send it back and then it can take anywhere from three days to two weeks once you get it back and the fights in 11 days,” Fielding’s promoter Eddie Hearn said. “They had his passport and they approved the visa in front of him, then when he went away, they looked at it and said actually no.”
Two weeks for have been too long for Fielding to make it to the US for the fight. “Monday afternoon he sends it to the embassy, special delivery to arrive on Tuesday. We’re tracking it. Tuesday at midday comes around and it’s still says out for delivery. Gets to 5pm and it still says out for delivery. We [wanted to] go down to Battersea to the Royal Mail, just to collect the passport,” Hearn continued. “They said you can’t do that but it should be delivered tomorrow. Wednesday [December 5] it’s George Bush’s funeral, they’ve closed the embassy. They tried to deliver the visa on Wednesday and it’s shut.”
“[Now] the Royal Mail are saying we don’t know where it is, it should be delivered to the embassy in the next five days. We’re like this is over. So Thursday it arrives at the embassy,” Eddie continued. “We spoke to people out here, I think the senator of New York was called and on Friday afternoon [December 7] at about four o’clock we got a call to say we’ve found it. He was supposed to fly on Friday. He got it Friday night and changed his flight to Saturday [December 8].”
The whole fight was so close to falling apart that Hearn had to warn Golden Boy Promotions. “As of Thursday [December 6] as far as I was concerned, this fight wasn’t happening,” Hearn said. “I said to Golden Boy, ‘I don’t want to worry you but you may have to look at another opponent because this is not looking good.’ It was a very hairy last week.”
The situation however was resolved in the nick of time. Rocky had his new passport, his flight rebooked for the Saturday, a week before he was due to box. Only, he left his passport at home when he left for the airport.
“When he went to the airport on Saturday, he forgot his passport. Left it in his house,” Hearn noted. “You couldn’t make it up. Had to go back from Manchester airport to go and get the passport.”
The fight, suffice to say, is on. Rocky Fielding fights Canelo Alvarez at Madison Square Garden tomorrow.