Callum Smith vs. Rocky Fielding on November 7th at Echo Arena, Liverpool, UK
By Scott Gilfoid: #2 WBC 168lb contender Callum Smith (17-0, 12 KOs) will be battling #6 IBF Rocky Fielding (21-0, 12 KOs) on November 7th for the vacant British super middleweight title at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.
It’s only the British strap that the two stork-like fighters are fighting over and not and world title at stake. But this fight isn’t about the strap so much but rather at bragging rights about who is one of the best British 168lb fighters is in the UK now that former IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch has retired from the sport.
There’s still James DeGale and George Groves that the winner of the Smith-Fielding will have to face at some point, but I think they won’t have to bother with Groves because I see him getting filtered out of the equation by WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack in their fight on September 12th on Showtime pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As for DeGale, who knows when he’ll be fighting again? He’s still taking it easy after getting lucky in beating Andre Dirrell a couple of months ago. DeGale would have lost the fight if not getting a couple of knockdowns in the 2nd round. One of the knockdowns was a flash knockdown and the other was a simple push.
The Smith vs. Fielding fight will be televised on Sky Sports Boxing.
“This is one of the biggest domestic fights of the year and such a fascinating fight,” their promoter Eddie Hearn said via skysports.com. “Neither fighter would back down or out of this fight and now fight fans get an absolute cracker. It is 21-0 vs. 17-0 and both fighters are ranked highly across all world governing bodies.”
It’s surprising that Hearn is making the fight because after their last fights, he sounded like he was having second thoughts about wanting to put them in with each other. Hearn didn’t like the idea that they would only be fighting for the British title. He would have liked for them to be facing each other with a more significant title at stake. But that’s the same strap that will be at stake in the heavyweight clash in December between Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
I mean, if it’s good enough for Joshua and Whyte, then it should be good enough for Smith and Fielding. I don’t see either of these guys as potential world champions, and if they do, I can’t see them holding onto a strap for more than one or two fights against the lower level contenders. In other words, I don’t see Smith and Fielding in the same league as the Dirrell brothers, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Gilberto Ramirez.
Smith came into his last fight in June against Christopher Rebrasse as seen as the better fighter than Fielding in the minds of a lot of boxing fans. That opinion changed with the way that the 6’3” Smith struggled against the pressure from the light hitting Rebrasse. Smith looked awful, and not world class.
In contrast, Fielding looked impressive like a seasoned vet in destroying journeyman Brian Vera. Fielding’s punching power and his wide assortment of punches in his arsenal was on full display in that fight, and he was just was way too good for Vera to deal with. To be sure, Vera isn’t nearly the fighter he once was eight years ago when he was beating most of the opposition he was facing, but Fielding still looked good enough to say that he’s the better fighter between him and Callum Smith.
This is going to be a step up for both Smith and Fielding, as neither of them has any kind of experience against quality opposition. In Fielding’s last five fights, he’s beaten Vera, Olegs Fedotovs, Noe Gonzalez Alcoba, Charles Adamu and Luke Blackledge. In Smith’s last four fights, he’s defeated Rebrasse, Olegs Fedotovs, Nikola Sjekloca and Rafael Sosa Pintos.
What I want to know is how long will Hearn wait before he finally puts the winner of the Smith-Fielding fight in with one of the world champions?
I think it’s pretty obvious that Hearn is hoping that Groves beats Jack so that he can have the winner of the Smith vs. Fielding bout face Groves for the WBC title if he doesn’t choose to fight DeGale immediately in a unification fight. But even if he does take the fight against DeGale, Hearn will likely angle to have the winner of that fight face the winner of the Smith-Fielding fight in their first defense.
I see Fielding as being too powerful, too aggressive and too polished for Smith to deal with. I think Smith will fall apart mentally from the pressure that Fielding puts on him and wind up looking a lot like his older brother Paul Smith has looked when he’s stepped it up against better opposition. You have to remember that Paul Smith was looking a lot like Callum Smith was earlier in his career when he was facing similar fodder opposition.
It wasn’t until Paul Smith started stepping it up against better opposition that he was exposed again and again. I see the same thing happening with Callum Smith. He’ll get exposed by Fielding and shown his level. Once Smith loses to Fielding, he can find his place in the 168lb division among the fringe contenders near the bottom of the top 15 rankings rather than at No.2, which is where the World Boxing Council currently has him after he’s beaten nothing but fluff opposition his entire career.
Smith needs his entire fighting style reworked from top to bottom in my view, because he’s too straight up and down, too stiff and too timid for him to beat the top fighters in the division. I think Smith needs a better trainer and better sparring partners.
There’s not much he can do about being stiff, but at least he can have his fighting style changed. That might help him creep his way back to a top 5 rankings in the future once Fielding mows him down on November 7th.
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