British veteran and European champ Ryan Rhodes challenges WBC light middleweight champ Saul Alvarez Saturday, June 18 in another Mexico vs England title match, this time in Alvarez’s home environs, Arena VFG, Guadalajara, Mexico.
Last time out young Alvarez picked up his first ever world title against EBU welter champ and British veteran Matthew Hatton. It was a lopsided drubbing, though Hatton did have his moments and made Alvarez work every step of the way.
Rhodes is considerably older, age 34, but seems to be at the high point of his career and doubtless training his fanny off for this once of a career opportunity. He’s also naturally larger and stronger than Hatton with better power, fighting as high as supermiddleweight, so he represents a different type of threat for the 20 year old phenom, Canelo.
Rhodes comes into the bout sporting a higher Ring ranking than Alvarez, 4th as opposed to Alvarez’s #9 ranking. Rhodes technically has the edge in fight experience, 45-4, 31 KO in comparison to the perfect career of Alvarez thus far, currently at 36-0-1, 26 KO. That is a bit misleading since both have logged near identical professional rounds, 235 for Rhodes compared to 225 for Alvarez.
They won’t be fighting paper records, so what are the styles, strengths, and weakness contrasts between the fighters you might ask?
What I know about Rhodes is he’s a top quality European fighter with all around capability, so this bout looks like a competitive handful for Alvarez who has taken some stick for his form of late despite knocking out 4 of his last 6 opponents. All were very durable, capable, and experienced veterans of the ring, so in that regard, Rhodes is following in the same type of opponent mold for Alvarez.
Perhaps Canelo has let his recent fame as the biggest thing in Mexico get his machismo up since of late, he has generally neglected his all around skills to bull forward in straight lines while swinging for the fences. However, against the very stylistically difficult Lovemore N’dou, he boxed carefully, beautifully shutting down what could’ve been a very difficult bout.
Facts are that Canelo boxed well during his teenaged years through judicious use of applied skills and strategy, so it becomes a matter of what style Alvarez will chose rather than him being a limited fighter as so many boxing fans who don’t understand the history of his career are claiming.
A potential slip up for Alvarez is that Rhodes represents the first significant southpaw fighter he has faced, unbelievable given the explosion of southpaw fighters in the past few generations.
Perhaps that’s the reason Alvarez relocated his training camp to the Big Bear facilities that Oscar de la Hoya always favored. Reports are that he will be finishing up by sparring against lefthanders only, a significant departure from his traditional Mexican training camps.
Oscar de la Hoya may finally be starting to take the kid seriously now that Alvarez recently landed on the cover of Ring Magazine.
De La Hoya’s recently apologized to Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum, offering an olive branch of reconciliation for the promotion of future fights, so a Miguel Cotto fight against Saul Alvarez could be in the works. It certainly ticks the Puerto Rico vs Mexican rivalry boxes to go with Cotto attempting to avenge the knockout of his brother at the hands of Alvarez, not to mention both having the star power to pull the superfight PPV numbers that every promoter dreams of.
First things first, though, the baby fresh kid vs the crafty ol’ git, Mexico vs England, so who you gonna go with for all the marbles?