WOW was the general response from the boxing world when it broke on Friday that Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding will be facing pound for pound superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on December 15th at the historic Madison Square Garden.
If there was ever a match up that came seemingly out of nowhere, then this one is most definitely up there.
Fresh from his emphatic dismantling of Tyron Zeuge on away soil in July, Fielding will get the opportunity to test his skills against the future hall of famer and despite widespread consensus that the bout only has one winner, the whole country should unite in support, as ‘Rocky from Stocky’ dares to be great.
Although most will certainly rate Fielding’s chances in the fight as slim to none, he will enter the ring with significant height and weight advantages and with a tactically astute corner, riding the crest of a wave, with Jamie Moore recently confirmed as BBBOC Trainer of the Year.
There is no mistaking that it is a mammoth task, however it really is a win-win situation for the WBA Super Middleweight Champion.
Number one, he will be certain of a career best payday, number two he gets to share the ring with an all-time great on the biggest stage of all, and number three nobody expects him to win – so in theory he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If we look at his two most high profile fights to date, 2 things become apparent.
Firstly on home soil at the Echo Arena, in a battle for local supremacy with recently crowned WBA Super Champion Callum Smith, the pressure was on in what many believed could be a closely contested battle – and Rocky didn’t perform, being caught cold and stopped in the very 1st round.
Secondly in his title winning effort in July, he was away from home in a fight that not many picked him to win, the pressure on him was relatively low and what did he do? – he produced his best performance of his career to date.
So we know for sure, that when the pressure was high and he was on home soil, he failed to produce and we also know that when the pressure was low and he was on away soil – he upped his game.
What remains to be seen is how he performs on away soil, with no expectancy and no pressure at all. Just maybe, (who knows) – that’s when he will produce the form of his life.
When Jamie McDonnell surrendered his WBA bantamweight Title in May, to the whirlwind that is Naoya Inoue, by 1st round stoppage, there was perhaps more emphasis on McDonnell’s weight making than the awesome brutality of the 3 weight world champion from Japan.
In the primary defense of that title on Saturday night, Inoue delivered a straight left and vicious right hook combo that flattened Juan Carlos Payano, with little more than 1 minute of the contest complete.
The only reaction to his 2nd consecutive display of such concussive power is WOW – Ryan Burnett and the rest of the remaining WBSS contestants at bantamweight, will surely be taking note.
The third WOW of the week goes to the melee that ensued after Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated and submitted Connor McGregor over in 4 rounds, in their match up for the UFC’s Lightweight belt.
Following the submission, Khabib vaulted the cage and assaulted one of McGregor’s team mates in the crowd, as his own team mates invaded the cage and set about McGregor.
Now whatever the justification for such high emotions, (and McGregor certainly invokes those), there can be absolutely no justification for such actions and the UFC need to be seen to impose harsh rebuke to those involved.
In fighting sports where discipline, self-control and bravery are paramount – such loutish behaviour has no place and should not be tolerated, as it is not only detrimental to the image of the UFC but also detrimental to the public perception of combat sports in general.