Through various disappointments in the past three months, Eric "Danger" Fields still waits for his opportunity.
In January, the Ardmore cruiserweight was supposed to fight in Berlin against International Boxing Federation champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez. That match was canceled when Hernandez, a southpaw, broke a bone in his left hand in January, forcing his promoter, Saurland Event, to call off the fight.
The Fields' group and his promoters, Greg Cohen Productions, didn't want to waste any time booking Fields' next fight. So they got to work, first setting up a fight in late March, but finally coming to terms on a two-bout agreement that could have Fields in line for another title shot.
On his birthday, no less.
Fields is scheduled to face 26-year-old Cuban Pedro Rodriguez at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynex, Calif., on June 14 for the World Boxing Association Interim World Cruiserweight title. The winner of that fight will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the May 17 WBA title bout between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev.
Before his big bout in June, however, Fields must navigate through a fight against Terrance Smith (13-5) on April 27 in Tunica, Miss.
"The opportunity outweighed the money," Fields' advisor Jimmy Schaffer said. "You win the fight, you fight for the title.
"Sometimes, opportunities present themselves and sometimes things don't happen for the best all the time. But sometimes, there's hidden things that are a blessing. That's why when you get your opportunity, you have to be ready."
Fields has been in between training in Canada and Ardmore since the cancelation of the Hernandez fight. While Hernandez had the advantage of length and experience on his side at 6-foot-4 with numerous professional and amateur fights under his belt, Rodriguez comes in a little greener.
The 6-2 Rodriguez (14-1, 12 knockouts) is currently ranked No. 2 among Cuban cruiserweights, but has done most of his boxing in the heavyweight division. Fields enters this two-fight stretch 21-1 (15 KOs).
"I think the longer the fight goes, it favors Eric," Schaffer said of the bout with Rodriguez. "When you elevate in weight, then go down, elevate, then go down, I think it's too hard."
When informed that his biggest opportunity yet falls on his 31st birthday, Fields was estatic, according to Schaffer. The June 14 fight is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be broadcast on ESPN2 at a time to be determined.
Fields is 10-0 since his only loss in April of 2008.
"He has to perform when he goes in the ring; it's on him," Schaffer said. "But you want to put him in there where he is focused and he is ready.
"Eric wants to fight the best and that's what we're gonna try to do. He deserves his opportunity."
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