Canelo vs Fielding: Why it makes senseWritten by Leroy Cleveland
In December, middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez will face WBA super middleweight title-holder Rocky Fielding.
Hailing from Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom, 31 year old Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KO) won the WBA 'Regular' Super Middleweight title in July by KOing Tyron Zeuge (then 22-0-1).
Callum Smith and Brian Vera are the only two name opponents on Fielding's resume.
In July 2015, Fielding TKO'd Vera and, in his following bout, lost by a first round TKO to Callum Smith, the current real and legitimate WBA Super Middleweight Champion, five months later.
After a lengthy amateur career, Rocky turned professional in 2010 as a light heavyweight. After winning his first three professional bouts, Fielding was offered the chance to drop down a weight to take part in The Super Middleweight Prizefighter Series after a fighter pulled out at the last minute.
Fielding went on to win the tournament causing a stoppage in each of his three fights and becoming the first boxer in a Prizefighter series to do so.
Why Rocky is a great choice
Fielding boasts a 4 or 5 inch height advantage over Canelo and a considerable reach advantage but doesn't have the tools to outpoint, outbrawl or KO the Mexican.
However, Rocky's height and solid boxing skills will help prepare Canelo for the giants (in terms of physical stature) of the middleweight division. I'm referring to Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders and Jermall Charlo. All are well-skilled, have good movement and are very rangy.
Given Canelo can no longer fight comfortably at 154 lbs, there's certainly some concern among Canelo's handlers about how their man, at 5'8", will match up against elite-level, long-armed middleweights with hit-and-move styles who'll look to use their reach advantage to outwork Alvarez from a distance.
While certainly not an 'apples to apples' comparison, Charlo, Saunders and Jacobs, from a dumbed down perspective, are essentially, rangier, stronger quasi-versions of Erislandy Lara, whose technical style and quickness gave Canelo a lot of problems in their 2014 junior middleweight title bout. And incidentally, Saunders, like Lara, is a southpaw.
Essentially, Canelo will be training for them when he starts preparing for Fielding who will likely be a barometer. Any improvements that can be made against taller foes will be analyzed closely by Team Canelo during and after the Fielding fight.
Secondly, Fielding was a wise choice because he's British. Having Canelo fight him will certainly give the Mexican added exposure in the UK where boxing is red hot. There will be more international interest in Canelo vs Fielding than would have been the case with Canelo vs Charlo or Lemieux. (Although Lemieux is popular in Canada, the British boxing market is stronger) A lot of casual British fans who wouldn't have been interested in fights with Carlo or Lemieux will likely be interested in Canelo vs Fielding.
Third, after the fight Canelo can say he's won a major world title in 3 weight classes although Canelo vs Fielding shouldn't be considered a legitimate title fight because Callum Smith is the real WBA Super Middleweight Champion. But for what it's worth, it'll be a feather of sorts in Canelo's cap.
And lastly, fresh off of two fights with Gennady Golovkin, did you expect Team Canelo to face another top guy a mere 3 months later? Alvarez deserves this opportunity. A fighter's team should never put its man in the ring with the best possible opponent every single time. Doing so would be tantamount to running him into the ground.