Fields, Grant a giant battle

MURRAY GREIG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Tye Fields is white and Michael Grant is black.

Apart from that, there’s little to differentiate between the super-sized heavyweights who will square off March 11 in Las Vegas to determine which man becomes an also-ran while the other continues his quest for a world Top 10 ranking and a shot at a piece of the fragmented title.

In terms of recent activity, they’re about equal.

For Fields, the Montana-born southpaw who relocated to Edmonton three years ago, this will be his third fight in five months, after being inactive for more than a year. He won the other two on third-round KOs.

Grant’s last action was a 12-round decision loss to No. 1-ranked Tomasz Adamek last August. Before that, he won two fights — KO 1 and UD 10 — in the previous 11 months.

Here’s how they measure up in other areas:

• Fields, who turned 36 two weeks ago, is 6-foot-8 and a chisled 280 pounds. Grant, who’s 38, stands 6-foot-7 and tips the scales at 275.

Fields has an 83-inch reach, while Grant’s wingspan is 86.

Advantage: Fields.

• Fields turned pro in 1999 and has a record of 45-2, with 41 KOs. Grant, who launched his punch-for-pay career in 1994, is 46-4 with 34 KOs.

The power edge goes to Fields in a big way. His KO percentage of 87.23 includes 38 knockouts in three rounds or less, while Grant, at 68%, has 19 stoppages inside that distance.

Advantage: Fields.

• The flip side of the impressive number of wins racked up by both men is that five of their six combined losses have been by KO — all but one of which came early.

Both of Fields’ losses were opening-round stoppages, to Monte Barrett (2008) and Jeff Ford (2001). In a return match with Ford seven months later, Fields won by KO.

Grant was starched in two rounds by world champion Lennox Lewis in 2000, and in his very next fight was stopped in the first round by Jameel McCline.

Grant was also KO’d (in seven) by Dominick Guinn in 2007, then reeled off nine straight wins before dropping the decision to Adamek last summer.

Advantage: None.

• When it comes to quality of opposition, Grant’s resume is clearly superior, with wins over the likes of fellow world-title challenger Andrew Golota (KO 10), Lou Savarese (UD 10) and Robert Davis (KO 3).

The biggest name on Fields’ hit list is former WBA world champion Bruce Seldon (KO 2, in 2005).

Advantage: Grant.

• Boxrec.com, which the sanctioning bodies utilize to compile their monthly ratings, ranks Grant No. 22 among 408 registered heavyweights in North America; Fields is No. 23. In the website’s global rankings, Grant is No. 53 out of 1,081; Fields is No. 55.

The fact Fields is ranked the No. 1 contender for Canadian champion Neven Pajkic’s title also puts him among the Top 10 challengers for the British Commonwealth crown — and Commonwealth champions historically have leapfrogged higher-ranked contenders when the sanctioning bodies go looking for title challengers.

Advantage: Fields.

• The big edge Fields enjoys in ending his fights early is offset by Grant’s vast experience against better opposition.

Although their bout totals are very close — Fields with 47, Grant with 50 — Fields has boxed just 113 professional rounds to Grant’s 257.

Fields has only been the 12-round championship distance once, when he defeated Sherman Williams for USBA title in 2003. On only one other occasion has he been taken as far as Round 10,

Grant has split two 12-round decisions and gone to the 10th seven times.

Advantage: Grant.

• If motivation turns out to be the main intangible in this fight, it favours Fields. Since moving to Edmonton he’s been singularly focused on winning the Canadian title, but that’s hard to do when the champion — first Greg Kielsa, now Pajkic — keeps ducking him.

The delays have made Fields hungry for bigger game, and he knows an impressive victory on March 11 could vault him into the world’s Top 20. From there, anything’s possible.

Fields will also have a pair of ring warriors that he trusts and respects working his corner: Ken Lakusta and Mike McCallum.

For Grant, this is his last shot at remaining a relevant potential title challenger — but does he have enough left in his tank?

He lost all but two rounds on every card in going the distance with Adamek (41-1), and when it was over he had the look of a guy who was just happy to have remained vertical.

This time, he won’t be so fortunate.

Prediction:

Fields by KO, inside of 6


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