By Miguel Rivera and James Blears
Arena VFG, Jalisco, Mexico - Saul Alvarez (37-0, 27KOs) retained his WBC junior middleweight title with a twelfth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Ryan Rhodes (45-5, 31KOs). Alvarez dominated the entire fight.
The first round was slow paced. Neither fighter did much in the round, but a few quick combinations in the final minute were the difference for Alvarez. The quick combinations of Alvarez were once again the difference in the second. Rhodes was being busy enough or throwing anything of worth to gain the respect of Alvarez. The third round saw a more active Rhodes. He was started to throw more punches, but not enough to outwork Alvarez who was active and throwing eye-catching combinations.
In the fourth round, Alvarez was letting the hands fly. He caught Rhodes with a right hand that sent the British boxer down. Rhodes wasn't hurt when he got to his feet. Alvarez continued to work hard until the round ended. Alvarez dominated the fifth round from start to finish. He was throwing and landing combinations with nearly nothing coming in return from Rhodes. Nothing different in the sixth round. Alvarez outworking Rhodes for the full three minutes and opening a cut under the right eye of the British challenger.
Avarez in full control of the seventh round. Rhodes' corner was threatening to stop the fight if their man didn't pick up the pace in the eight round. No difference in the eight. Alvarez dominated Rhodes with hard punches. Rhodes was hurt to the body and started protecting his left side until the bell. Alvarez continued to punish Rhodes in the ninth and tenth rounds. Rhodes' corner threatened to stop the fight for a second time before the start of the eleventh.
Rhodes probably did his best work in the eleventh, but Alvarez started the twelfth with big punches coming from both directions. The referee had seen enough and stopped the contest when Alvarez hurt Rhodes with a combination.