Advertisement
Advertisement

Ryan Rhodes Sees Saul Alvarez as The Big Career Shot

By Mark Staniforth

Later this month in Guadalajara, Ryan Rhodes will attempt to join an illustrious cast of British boxers who have won world titles abroad and fulfil an odyssey which was earmarked for him more than 15 years ago.

Rhodes fights the heavy home favourite Saul Alvarez for the WBC light-middleweight title, his first world title fight since his shocking early stoppage by Jason Matthews for the interim WBO crown in Doncaster in 1999.

That night, it seemed Rhodes had had his chance and blown it. Having grown up in the diverted spotlight of his then best friend Naseem Hamed in Sheffield, his big shot at glory came a little too soon.

There was no disgrace in Rhodes' first title defeat on points to the accomplished Canadian Otis Grant in Sheffield in 1997, but his juddering second round knockout loss to Matthews suggested his top-level career may be over.

As much as anything, Rhodes' fight with Alvarez is a reward for extraordinary persistence. For seven years after losing to Matthews, Rhodes was cast out into the domestic hinterland and was even stopped again, by Lee Blundell.

When Rhodes was narrowly and controversially beaten by Gary Lockett in Cardiff in 2006, the favourable reaction paved the way for a return to the top via the traditional British and European route.

A stunning stoppage win over all-action Jamie Moore in Bolton in 2009 finally put him back in the world title frame - and top of the list of opponents for Alvarez, who won the WBC title with a March win over Matthew Hatton.

The size of the challenge facing Rhodes in Guadalajara will ensure his place in the pantheon of British boxing greats if he pulls it off, alongside stars like John H Stracey, Lloyd Honeyghan and Ken Buchanan.

Stracey also went to Mexico, to the altitude of the capital city in 1975 for the seemingly thankless task of trying to dethrone the excellent, three-year champion Jose Napoles.

Despite being floored in the opening round, Stracey got up and pulled off one of the sport's greatest upsets with a sixth-round stoppage win.

"I knew it was my one and only chance and absolutely nothing was going to deter me," said Stracey. I was still not detered when Napoles put me down in the first round, and I knew I just had to keep on focusing."

Honeyghan went to Atlantic City in 1986 to stun the lavishly gifted welterweight champion Donald Curry, also winning over six rounds. "I was just some bum they brought over to lose," said Honeyghan. "But I battered him like I said I would."

Other famous British wins abroad include Ken Buchanan's sensational split decision win over Ismael Laguna in the 100 degree heat of San Juan in 1970, and Danny Williams' non-title clubbing of Mike Tyson in Louisville.

Make no mistake, Rhodes will richly deserve a place amongst them if he returns from Mexico with the belt. But he will be buoyed by the knowledge that Alvarez is no Napoles or Laguna; he possesses neither the skills of Curry nor the power of Tyson.

There are some who will point to Alvarez's unblemished 36-fight record and tell you different. But the fact is Alvarez looked rather less than impressive in chiselling out victory over Hatton, a game but limited fighter who is not in Rhodes' class.

The best victim on Alvarez's record is Jose Miguel Cotto, whom he stopped in nine rounds in Las Vegas earlier last year. But prior to beating Hatton, Alvarez had also failed to put away the ancient Lovemore N'Dou.

It would somehow seem fitting if Rhodes' remarkable path to redemption reached its peak thousands of miles away from home in Guadalajara. The history is there to tell us Rhodes' challenge is an eminently winnable one.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by chiguy91 on 06-02-2011

let's hope alvarez can take care of this guy....he needs to start showing that he is worthy of holding that green belt, this is a step in the right direction imo....hopefully we some better conditioning and defense from canelo...can't wait…

Comment by ukalltheway on 06-02-2011

if rhodes is on form he is gonna give saul hell. war rhodes bring the belt home :boxing:

Comment by GRANDSLAM on 06-01-2011

Ryan Rhodes is a good fighter, I worry about his inactivity though. I hope he's had plenty of sparring

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines DiBella: Wilder vs. Joshua is Inevitable in Future, But Not Now Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith is NOT a Bad Fight, Explains Hearn Haye: Bellew Fight Must Be at Heavyweight, He Must Add Weight Anthony Mundine Back in Talks For Danny Green Rematch Knockout CP Freshmart Decisions Rojas In A Stinker Ganigan Lopez vs. Jonathan Taconing Will Be a War, Says WBC Joseph Parker Ready To Take November Date For Anthony Joshua Amir Imam, Guillermo Jones Return on Pittsburgh Card Arum: After Ramirez Beats Golovkin, He Will Be a Big PPV Star! Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia: The Fight, Right Now Photos: Mayweather Takes Part in BET Celebrity Basketball Game Ramirez's Adviser: Golovkin One-Dimensional, He's No '85 Bears! Mike Tyson Will Back Trump at Republican National Convention Edner Cherry Snags Debatable Decision Over Lydell Rhodes Antonio Margarito vs. Ramon Alvarez Pushed Back To August 13 Photos: Jose Benavidez Putting in Work For Francisco Santana Rolando Garza Inks Promotional With Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Gilberto Ramirez: Canelo Has No Pride, His Actions Disappointing Denis Lebedev Backs Glowacki To Retain, Beat Oleksandr Usyk Anthony Joshua Must Face Joseph Parker By January 9, Says IBF Jarico O'Quinn Inks Promotional With Salita Promotions Photos: Gilberto Ramirez Continues Hard Grind For First Defense Malignaggi-Bracero, Farmer-Redkach, Harrison-Rabchenko Set Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand Officially Revealed By Roc Nation Jessie Magdaleno Leaves Joel Diaz, Jumps To Manuel Robles David Benavidez Targets Big Names, Champions at 168-Pounds Povetkin's Promoter: Lawsuits Won't Prevent Deontay Wilder Fight Mykey Williams Inks Promotional Pact With Lou DiBella Terry Flanagan-Mzonke Fana Added To July 16 Cardiff Card Jason Sosa's Promoter Eyes Francisco Vargas, Orlando Salido Scott Fitzgerald Added To July 30 Leeds Card Fury-Klitschko II Could Land in Late September, Early October Sergey Kovalev Discusses Training Camp For Isaac Chilemba Antonio Orozco, Joseph Diaz, Jr. Return on HBO Latino Bill, 7/30 Santa Cruz Says Frampton's 'Weak Chin' Will Crack From Pressure Terence Crawford, Brian McIntyre on Being Avoided at 140 DiBella on Derevyanchenko-Soliman, Wants Golovkin Fight Klitschko on Fury: This is Not About Titles, This is About Revenge! Chris Eubank Jr: I Can Knock Gennady Golovkin Out! Froch Cautions Joshua Not To Rush, Picks Fury To Beat Klitschko
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement