Most of the debate concerning Friday night’s pay-per-view offering between Michael Grant and Tye Fields has not been centered around who the winner will be, but an even more fundamental question instead.
Why is this happening at all?
Even after the 6’7” Grant took a hard-fought unanimous decision loss against Tomasz Adamek, the prospect of seeing him stare slightly upward at 6’8” Tye Fields is unappealing to many.
Throughout the years, the boxing public has become far less enamored with the supersized heavyweight. In 1932, a six round clash between 6’7” Primo Carnera and 6’9” Santa Camarao was one of the main attractions on a Madison Square Garden. Many more skyscrapers have made a living in the squared circle, but the pallet of the North America boxing enthusiast would refine over the years and start to favor quicker fighters, often in smaller weight divisions, while unusually tall fighters, such as Marcellus Brown or Julius Long, who may have been ticket-sellers to earlier, more naive audiences became sideshow opponents.
However, while educated boxing fans roll their eyes at the technical flaws or incapabilities of humongous heavyweights, even the most bumbling of giants (see: Long) can be awe-inducing to the casual fan, if only for sheer girth.
But Grant-Fields is not just a sideshow. The reality is that gargantuan fighters still pose real threats, and are pleasing to promoters as they can rope in the aforementioned casual audience that the everyday chiseled boxer simply cannot.
“There’s interest on both levels,” said Nick Garone, Grant’s promoter. “Guys that don’t like Michael want to see a big, tall heavyweight get beat, and the guys that do like Michael would want to see him in against another giant.”
That’s why according to both camps, the winner of Friday’s clash is rumored to be in line for a bout against former title challenger Chris Arreola, a local draw and television network darling in his own right.
In fact, this fight is only happening because an even more significant one fell through.
“I got an offer to fight Samuel Peter,” revealed Fields (pictured above), who has relocated from Las Vegas to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “That fell through, and the opportunity came to fight Michael Grant, so we took it.”
After the Peter bout fell through, Fields knocked out Ray Olubowale in Ontario, Canada. That same weekend, Fields and his manager Billy Baxter agreed to face Grant.
“They’re pretty much the same height and weight, they’re both very technical fighters,” said Fields of Olubowale and Grant. “It was like Olubowale was a tune up. It certainly wasn’t meant to be that way, but I understand how you could see it that way now.”
While Fields, a former title hopeful prior to getting steamrolled by Monte Barrett in 2008, is looking to get one more crack at the big stage, Grant has already had his second chance, taking Tomasz Adamek the distance last year.
“Adamek is being considered as a possible opponent for Klitschko, and making a good account for himself against a top four heavyweight really showed people, hey, we’re not dead here,” said Garone.
Unfortunately, a loss to Fields would indeed be his burial.
As for the transplanted Canadian, his successful promotional company, run alongside his wife Jennifer, would afford him the freedom to fight lesser competition and make money for years to come. However, even fighting on pay per view again would be nothing more than content in the “past experience” column in his resume.
Ultimately, if Fields and Grant are willing to wager their futures on Friday night, and the winner is looking to challenge himself in a very dangerous manner afterward, then there’s really only one relevant question after all.