By Daniel Cann
Awesome Alvarez to much for Brave Rhodes
Saul Alvarez v Ryan Rhodes
18 June Arena VFG, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco, Mexico
It was always going to be a tough task and even though there was a glimmer of hope for springing an upset for challenger Ryan Rhodes (34) in the event he was simply outclassed, outgunned and overpowered in twelve one-sided rounds. For WBC world light middleweight champion Saul Alvarez (20) it was an excellent exhibition of his controlled accurate aggression as he patiently dismantled Rhodes.
Cheered on by his adoring fellow countrymen, Mexico’s Alvarez took control from the opening bell. His defence looked tighter and everything about his work had an economy and finesse to it. By contrast Rhodes never looked to be in with a chance. He moved and looked for openings but all the decent work and aggression came from the champion. Nothing Rhodes tried worked.
Photo: Manuel Chavez – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the fourth round the Sheffield man was badly stunned and floored doing well to get back up. After that the contest was effectively over as apart from a decent sixth and ninth round all Rhodes could offer was the ability to soak up some hurtful looking head and body shots. After the seventh round his corner threatened to pull him out but he insisted that he be allowed to continue which is a mark of the man, but sadly courage and doggedness do not alone win world titles.
He managed to hang in there until the twelfth when he was under more heavy fire and the towel from his corner signaled their surrender at more or less the same time that the referee jumped in to stop it at 48 seconds of the round. It was all academic anyway as Rhodes was clearly behind on all three judges scorecards. He had perhaps managed to take a share of the third and the sixth rounds and even won the ninth when Alvarez seemed to step off the gas for a while. But apart from that it was all Alvarez.
The young champion has now comprehensively defeated two highly rated European boxers in Matthew Hatton and now Rhodes and can look ahead to far bigger things. He looked incredibly sharp and disciplined. He will still need to iron out a few things before he hits the big leagues and talk of a contest with Manny Pacquiao seem a little premature and overly optimistic. Maybe that match-up won’t seem so outlandish in another eighteen months and after more wins, but he’s not there yet.
Afterwards Rhodes said ‘I had underestimated his strength and power. He’s a strong young kid. I was beaten tonight by a superstar of world boxing.’
Rhodes further commented ‘His body shots took their toll on me through the fight. Then he caught me with a couple of good body shots in the final round.’ That about summed it all up, Rhodes Was brave and defiant to the end but he simply had no answer or antidote to the punishment Alvarez was dishing out.
Trainer Dave Coldwell said ‘I’m so proud of Ryan. It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the past six years. Who would have thought we would have got this far.’
So although disappointed, Team Rhodes were in philosophical mood and to be honest what Coldwell has achieved in taking a former middleweight who many thought was finished into a world light middleweight challenger is a terrific achievement. It’s just a shame that someone of the calibre of Alvarez was in the opposite corner.
The young Mexican is getting better with each fight and he has amazingly already been a pro for five years. He seems to listen and learn and is dedicated. While he is still driven and has goals he will be a very hard man to beat. Mexico may have its next superstar of the future in him.
Rhodes must now decide if he should continue perhaps at European level before going after one of the other world champions, or if it’s now time to quit. He is a young 34 and probably still has a lot to offer and a few more miles left on the clock, but whether he can motivate himself again is another question. It was a valiant effort whatever he does.