By Charles Jay
So can WBA “regular” super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding pull the upset over Canelo Alvarez tonight on DAZN? Well, that might fall into the category of “anything’s possible.” Let’s face it; he’s going to be encountering several disadvantages going into the fight, including the fact that Alvarez, even though he’s the younger man, has a vast edge in terms of experience at the championship level. Fielding has faced only two fighters who have gained any kind of recognition as a world champion, and one of them – Callum Smith – knocked him out in one round.
And when we talk about that fight with Smith, it segues us into one of the concepts we have to discuss in looking at this fight, because there’s no getting away from the fact that Alvarez is biting off a lot by moving up into the super middleweight division. Whether it’s “more than he can chew” is another question entirely.
Fielding is tall and rangy at 6-1, and in that respect he’s had quite an advantage over some of his opponents. But when Fielding fought Callum Smith, he was actually facing an even taller, more angular fighter than he is, not to mention one who could match his punching ability. And he got somewhat overwhelmed. In Fielding’s last fight, against Tyron Luege, he was facing an opponent who was more of the same dimensions as Canelo.
Circumstances were probably a little different than usual in that one. At least according to the announcers of the fight, it was extremely hot in the ring, and Luege may have succumbed to fatigue, as Fielding came on strong and stopped him inside of five rounds. Naturally we don’t expect that same kind of fate to befell Alvarez, but one thing must be said – it is very true that he will not have faced someone who is not only a natural 168-pounder, but a guy who is even comfortable at 175. And he hasn’t had to deal with that kind of punch on a consistent basis.
Of course, Rocky would have to land for that kind of advantage to manifest itself.
In Europe, Fielding is respected for his power. He seems to have a pretty good left uppercut and a decent hook, and if he’s able to get set, he can drop a pretty good right hand down on a shorter opponent. But even though he is tall, but he does not necessarily control things with the jab is much as you might expect someone his size to do. Instead, he kind of paws with it much of the time, as if to use it as a range-finder.
He is not afraid to go to the body, which is something in his favor. But he also runs out of steam on these punches as the fight progresses. And he will have a tendency to go to the ropes, where he exhibits a “peak-a-boo” look, so he would probably have to avoid that as much as possible against an opponent who will seize upon that if it is available.
If you are wondering whether Canelo will be able to hit him with counter-punches, well, he probably can. Fielding is not wide-open, but he does not have a fortress-like defense. However, in the instances where we’ve seen him a little shaken up, he’s left himself exposed to catch punches from someone who has skills.
This just in – Canelo has skills.
What we can say about Fielding without any equivocation is that he is very game. Even when he was getting hit cleanly and knocked to the canvas against Callum Smith, he kept getting up. And although he’s been floored by the likes of Christopher Rebrasse, who is not known as a big puncher, we’ve seen and take some good shots too, without going down, indicating that his chin is serviceable.
We’re not sure what his game plan is going to be, but we are thinking that he may not be all that aggressive at first. After all, even though he’s the champion i this encounter, he is the one making the big step up in class, and when guys do that, sometimes there a little apprehensive about taking chances for fear of making a mistake that will get them countered and hurt. We’re not sure if Fielding’s motivation is to hang in there as long as possible, nor are we certain how motivated Canelo is to get him out of there early.
We’re going to venture a guess that Alvarez will at least be somewhat cautious, because after all, he is not used to taking punches from a guy who is probably naturally 175 pounds or more. And it may take him some time to figure out this opponent, because of the height difference. On the basis of that, and Rocky’s guts, we wouldn’t be all that surprised if Fielding could hang in there for more than the 7.5 rounds that is the consensus “over-under” posted in the sportsbooks.