The prob­lems Field­ing must over­come

The prob­lems that Field­ing must over­come to shock the world

Boxing News - - Contents - John Scully For­mer world ti­tle chal­lenger

WHAT will Rocky Field­ing be think­ing right now, with his fight against Canelo Al­varez just days away? He will be con­sumed with Canelo, but so too will his team.

That team must do their best to limit what Field­ing can see and hear from out­side sources. You don’t want your boxer con­stantly read­ing sto­ries and watch­ing news­cast­ers claim­ing they have lit­tle or no chance of win­ning the fight.

Pos­i­tiv­ity from your cir­cle is key. It’s very much a psy­cho­log­i­cal game and you need peo­ple around you who know how to fil­ter the pos­i­tives and the neg­a­tives.

The wait in the dress­ing room be­fore any fight, es­pe­cially one of this mag­ni­tude, can be the worst place in the world to be, es­pe­cially for a fighter who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing doubts. The only way to over­come those feel­ings is to be as men­tally and phys­i­cally pre­pared as pos­si­ble.

A supremely fit and ready boxer can al­ways fall back on the idea that they put the nec­es­sary work in the gym in prepa­ra­tion for this mo­ment. When you sit there in that room and con­tem­plate what is about to hap­pen, it is im­per­a­tive that you are able to hon­estly tell your­self that you pushed your­self to the limit in ad­vance. A phys­i­cally un­der­pre­pared boxer has left a hole in his psy­che that doubt will try to pen­e­trate.

From my ex­pe­ri­ence, often the best mo­ments are in the ring right be­fore the open­ing bell be­cause at that point it is as real as it gets. In those mo­ments you have reached the prover­bial point of no re­turn as your mind clicks into a new gear, one that leaves you no choice but to jump in head first.

Look­ing out at that live crowd look­ing back at you, it be­comes very clear that re­al­ity is upon you and all your truths and lies are about to come flood­ing out into the light.

And then the fight starts. You quickly re­alise things about your op­po­nent that you could not pos­si­bly have re­alised be­fore. As a fighter my­self who has faced sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions, I can say that men­tally and spir­i­tu­ally I have re­acted with dif­fer­ent lev­els of strength or weak­ness. When I fought Henry Maske for the IBF light-heavy­weight ti­tle in Ger­many, for ex­am­ple, I knew go­ing in that he was a great and ac­com­plished boxer. But I didn’t re­alise un­til I got in the ring with him how un­usu­ally tall he was and how well he could use that height. It all be­came men­tally drain­ing, par­tic­u­larly when sur­rounded by 14,000 of his fans, fam­ily and friends in the au­di­ence cheer­ing him on.

Ev­ery move of his was greeted with in­tense cheers yet even when I landed punches there was noth­ing. Part of what drives a fighter is the au­di­ble re­sponses to his good punches launched in the ring but it’s hard to gain strength from no one pos­i­tively re­act­ing to them.

That was the first time in my en­tire ca­reer where the only peo­ple in the arena who wanted me to win were the three peo­ple in my cor­ner.

In fights like this, a trainer’s job is not just to get the man ready to throw punches. Jamie Moore will be called upon at dif­fer­ent points be­fore and dur­ing the fight to keep things up­beat and to keep his man ze­roed in on the task at hand. A trainer may go through sev­eral fights in suc­ces­sion where cer­tain skills are not needed but there is al­ways the chance in a fight of this mag­ni­tude that his abil­ity to reach his fighter and keep him up­beat and pos­i­tive will be re­quired more so than ever. On that end, Jamie’s cor­ner work on fight night will be just as im­por­tant as his gym work in the pre­vi­ous weeks.

Ul­ti­mately it will come down to the fighter be­ing able to fight his fight and utilise the strengths that got him to this point.

‘YOUR TRUTHS AND LIES WILL COME FLOOD­ING OUT’

Photo: MARK ROBIN­SON/MATCHROOM

ROCKY ROAD: But if Field­ing be­lieves in him­self, he has a chance

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