Does Fields have 'right' stuff?

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

Up on the silver screen, Rocky Balboa vanquished Apollo Creed by making the switch from southpaw to orthodox look laughably easy.

In real life, however, very few boxers who are naturally left-handed can comfortably reverse their stance without sacrificing speed and power.

A natural southpaw puts his right foot forward, jabs with his right hand and throws power punches with his left.

For an orthodox ("normal") fighter, squaring off with a leftie is like trying to punch a mirror image -- hence the old axiom that all southpaws should be drowned at birth.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler was one of the most proficient exceptions to the "can't switch" rule.

We'll find out if Edmonton heavyweight Tye Fields is another when he squares off with an as-yet-unsigned opponent in a 10-rounder on Oct. 30 at The Palace banquet hall.

"It's not something we planned ... it just kind of sprung out of the sparring I was doing with (Cristobal) Arreola down in Los Angeles," Fields said of his recent work with the unbeaten American (27-0, 24 KOs) who's challenging WBC champion Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KOs) tomorrow night at the Staples Center.

"I'm about the same size as Klitschko, so Arreola's people asked me to switch to an orthodox stance in order to give him a better idea of what to expect," added the six-foot-eight, 270-pound Fields, who owns a record of 42-2, with 38 KOs.

"It felt weird at first, but after a couple of sessions it was no problem. In fact, my legs felt stronger and I found that I could fire my right hand a lot quicker.

"That was the first time in my whole career that I boxed right-handed, but I felt real strong and comfortable. And ever since I've been back in Edmonton, (trainer) Kenny (Lakusta) has kept it up. My punches are faster and more accurate, and I actually think they're a little harder. I'm really looking forward to fighting orthodox on Oct. 30."

As for tomorrow night's outcome, Fields isn't forecasting an upset.

"Arreola is a big, strong guy -- but Klitschko is bigger and stronger and he'll bring more to the fight because he's the champ," he said.

"Chris is tough, but he doesn't throw a lot; he kind of waits to see what the other guy is doing, then tries to react. I just don't see him being able to set anything up. Klitschko will jab, hook, go to the body. He's just got too many weapons."

Fields doesn't care who he fights on Oct. 30 -- he just wants to get some rounds in the bank.

"My last fight (KO6 over Nicolai Firtha in June) was a chance to shake off some rust after not being in the ring for a while, so I'd like this next one to be with somebody who'll make me work for that next step up the ladder," he said.

"I've never fought at The Palace before, so I'm also kind of curious about the whole dinner-and-boxing thing. I think it'll be a real fun night."

QUICK JABS: Still no word on Sheldon Hinton's opponent for the heavyweight headliner Oct. 10 at the Hawrelak Park band shell, but one possibility is German champ Andreas Sidon (33-8, 27 KOs), whose representatives have been making media inquiries about Canadian contenders ... Klitschko has a KO percentage of 92.31 in 164 pro rounds going into tomorrow night's fight with Arreola. That's considerably higher than the three undisputed champs who preceded him: Lennox Lewis (72.73% in 22 rounds); Mike Tyson (75.86% in 217 rounds) and George Foreman (83.95% in 350 rounds).

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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