I started a new job today. I’d been at my old place for years, grafting, trying to establish myself. It was all getting very long in the tooth and thankfully this new position popped up!
The money at my new place is literally TEN times what I was on before and all I need to do is turn up on time, wear the uniform and give it a bash – I don’t even have to be proficient in the role. Weird, isn’t it?
As the dust settles and the chill sets in outside Madison Square Garden, many fans, fighters and media outlets have been split in their opinion of Rocky Fielding and his quest to better Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Sure, the money is life-changing and that is money that any man putting themselves through boxing’s rollercoaster could rightly claim to ‘deserve’. Fielding deserved it. Fair play to him. He turned up, weighed in and seemingly enjoyed the experience.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Rocky Fielding in this situation. You’d hope that fighters would take challenges head-on, making money and headlining a venue such as The Garden. It’s not something many fighters will experience.
But, what was the point? More pressingly, does a fight like this prey on the average fan’s sentimentality, thus allowing us to accept poorer matchmaking?
If I’m willing to accept ‘Fielding v Canelo’, purely because Rocky is a good guy and has struggled to catch a break, where does that end? Do we throw Dave Allen in against Deontay Wilder to congratulate him for having ‘excellent banter’?
Fielding was coming off the biggest win of his career, dethroning Tyron Zeuge in Germany to capture a meagre portion of the World title. He’s only thirty-one, in a domestically stacked division and is paired with an enormous promoter.
Last night seemed unnecessary, in many ways. The media attention in the build-up to the contest was fully-focused on the Stockbridge-man’s salary. Reportedly earning seven-figures, he’d done extremely well for himself, but this is boxing. It’s not signing a new deal to release a book. We’re not selling something objective that can be clocked-in or packaged, we’re selling people down the river.
The same narrative was churned out when Jason Welborn was facing Jarrett Hurd. These fights are dangerous, as are all contests, but they’re pointless. That fight in Madison Square Garden wasn’t competitive. It was a glorified payday for both men.
Now, as mentioned previously, I’m happy for Rocky Fielding. None of this is his fault and he made the correct decision for his family and their future. He’s fought everyone he’s been asked to and deserves immense credit for how he conducts himself as a professional. It’s not about him, as a fighter or a man.
In a crazily convoluted market, boxing fans expect more from fights than one, big, A-side fighter or a Coldplay-inspired backstory telling us that the underdog has a ‘puncher’s chance’. It seems to be acceptable now for promoters or managers to throw fighters into bouts they just simply can’t win.
To all intents and purposes, Tommy Coyle could be fighting for a World title. Strap yourself in, because this same rhetoric will be repeated. We’ll hear how Tommy had bounced back from defeat(s) and couldn’t have imagined this would be possible. They’ll tell us that Tommy can punch, so you can’t write him off!
I hope to see Rocky Fielding back in the new year with the fire burning and some interesting domestic dust-ups. He’s a good man and a solid boxer.
The contest was so poor, last night. As fans of boxing who line the pockets of promoters, managers and fighters – we deserve better. If you’re willing to accept Coyle, Welborn and Fielding facing top quality, elite-level fighters, then the men in suits organising the fight cards for 2019 can sell you almost anything, if it’s dressed nicely enough with a ribbon slapped on top.
It’s all a test, remember that.
I’m no longer working for that company, by the way. Back working for my old boss, earning crumbs and trying to climb the ladder again. At least I got some free uniform and one month’s higher salary, though, right?
Article by: Craig Scott
Follow Craig on Twitter at: @craigscott209