ROCKY FIELDING is the only man to have to boxed both Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith. Who better to compare the two ahead of their WBA and WBC super-middleweight title fight tonight in Texas.
“I think it’ll be a good fight, a cagey fight the first few rounds and see each other out. I think Callum will keep it long but then I think Canelo will just find his rhythm and his experience will come in and take over. But it’ll be a good fight,” Rocky tells Boxing News.
Fielding knows full well that Callum Smith has power. His Liverpool rival stopped Rocky in the first round of their 2015 clash. “The shot that he caught me with I didn’t see but then he took me to the ropes and unloaded and he caught me a couple more times,” Fielding said. He adds, “When he gets to four or five rounds, he ends up going to points with his opponents, [Erik] Skoglund, the kickboxing guy [Nieky Holzken]. If he’s there, within five rounds they’re still there, he kind of goes to points. So I don’t know if he has the one shot power to do much damage to Canelo but you never know do you? It’s how you catch them and he’s got a good left hook and counters that well.”
His advice for his fellow Liverpudlian: “He’s got big size, he’s a big puncher. I think the way [he should box is the way] I should have done, just try and outbox him, keep on the move and box him, keep it long. Don’t try and mix it with him.”
In his fight with Canelo Fielding was quickly sucked in and halted with body shots in the third round. “I ended up sometimes crouching down to his size, going down, leaving myself wide open,” Fielding said. “I made a mistake, gave him the target. Sometimes I stayed on the ropes too long and got caught when I should have been off the ropes.”
A key mistake was “just trying to stand and have it too early in the fight.” He continued. “Third round Jamie [Moore, his trainer] was like, ‘What are you doing, get back to boxing and see the rounds out.’ I just went for it too early. Then obviously that backfired, I stayed there and tried to mix it too early.”
The height advantage that Callum Smith enjoys can be deceptive. Canelo Alvarez is a still a very strong, durable opponent. “I was taller and looked to be the bigger man but when it comes to the thickness of his neck and the thickness of him, he was big and I think he uses it [well]. The height won’t be no factor for him,” Rocky said. “He is solid. I caught him a couple of times and felt it through my knuckles and he just shook it off and come at me.
“When I boxed him I had weight clause [for rehydration the next day]. When Jamie went over and checked the 10lbs thing, he was only 12st 4lbs the next day, the next morning I was 12st 9. [But] getting in the ring you could see he had well gone up a bit more just by looking at him.”
There is no rehydration limit for this fight with Callum Smith.
Fielding also warns that Alvarez can capitalise on any mistake. “I just thought he’d come out the first minute or two and feel me out and that but he didn’t. The bell went and he was right on me,” Fielding said. “Even when I was moving he was there. I made mistakes and think Callum will obviously have watched it a few times. At this level you can’t switch off, you can’t make one mistake.”
Alvarez surprised him. “He was even punching me in the arms, giving me dead arms in the first round or two. I’d never had that before,” Rocky said. “A couple of fights [Wladimir Klitschko] had, he just dead arms them, punches them in the arms, any target he can see, he hits them.
“That’s what [Canelo] was doing with me, hitting me in the arms and that. It’s his experience. I think he’ll be a bit cagey. Callum’s just got to find his range early on and try to keep it as well as he can and try to take him out if he can. As I say, he doesn’t want to stand and mix it. Because you’ve seen him stand and try and mix it a couple of times.”
“I think experience wise I think Canelo’s got everything covered. What Callum brings I think he’ll have covered. It’s an interesting one,” he continued. “Callum’s been around the amateur scene, the international scene, he’ll have fought different [styles].
“He’s coming up against the pound-for-pound now, let’s see how he performs. Going off his last performance [against John Ryder, who Fielding boxed in 2017], people didn’t have him winning the fight and that was a small guy. I think they’re the same height Ryder and Canelo and I think Canelo’s a lot better than Ryder.
“But it’s a good fight. It’s what everyone’s been wanting to see. To see how Callum goes when he steps up. This is the elite now the fight that he’s wanted and see how he performs. But he’s got a chance, a chance of catching Canelo so it’ll be good. I think it’ll be cagey for the first few rounds as they both find their rhythm and then the experience of Canelo over the second half will probably play a part.”