Ryan Rhodes Convinced He’ll KO Saul Alvarez, Looking Ahead To Even Bigger Fights

By James Slater: Though he is a considerable underdog going into this Saturday’s challenge of WBC light-middleweight champ Saul Alvarez, veteran Ryan Rhodes is as confident as can be. Keenly aware that this will be his last chance to finally realize the massive potential that saw his emerging performances earn him the nickname of “Spice Boy,” Rhodes is absolutely chomping at the bit as he counts down the hours to Saturday night.

And though there have been precious few British fighters who have been able to travel to Mexico and come home with a world title - John H. Stracey is the only exception to the rule that immediately springs to mind - southpaw Rhodes says he is sure he will not only beat “Canelo,” but that he will score a KO.

Speaking with The Guardian recently, the 34-year-old switch-hitter said the prospect of him being booed by a stadium full of rabid Alvarez fans both excites him and motivates him. Rhodes said he hopes that security will be top-notch, so that when he scores the upset his safety will be in no danger.

“It’s going to be amazing - I just hope there’s a tunnel to get us out of there safely,” Rhodes said. “Walking into 15,000 screaming Mexicans booing will excite me. I think I’ll knock him out. I really do.”

Feeling, as the away fighter, that a points win is unlikely, the two-time British light-middleweight champ sounds like a fighter willing to put it all on the line against his 20-year-old, highly-touted foe. And most fans feel the 45-4(31) operator will need to give it the fight of his career if he’s to win. Rhodes will certainly be upsetting a whole load of big plans if he does burst the bubble of “The New Oscar De La Hoya.”

Priced in some places as a 6-1 underdog, Rhodes has the right to feel slighted. Possessing underrated punching power, slick hand speed and the ability to fire in hurtful shots from unpredictable angles, Rhodes is also a hard man to nail flush. And we must remember, Alvarez is still young; still a work in progress. Hit plenty of times by the much smaller Matthew Hatton in winning the vacant belt he now looks to retain against another British fighter, Alvarez’ March performance has been studied again and again by Team-Rhodes.

Often before a fight, you get a gut feeling that a big upset is approaching. I get this feeling with regards to this fight. Yes, Alvarez has looked great in training, yes he is so much the younger man, and yes, he is fighting at home. But simply due to the tricky style Rhodes has, I think “Canelo” will have a nightmare of a fight. If Rhodes can cope with the high altitude he will experience in Jalisco and as long as he has allowed himself sufficient time in which to acclimatise, those odds will be made to look thoroughly unrealistic.

Rhodes is on the verge of at last becoming a world champion, and the time at which this this fight has arrived might just be perfect for him: to have got hold of Alvarez before he’s had time to mature into the great fighter many good judges believe he will become. But don’t think Rhodes will be content merely with a win on Saturday - the Sheffield stylist says he will push for even bigger fights if he defeats the 36-0-1(26) Alvarez.

“I want them big fights,” he said in the South Yorkshire accent that is so familiar to his fans. “I want Cotto, Margarito.”

If he can upset one of Golden Boy Promotion’s most heavily hyped fighters from recent years, Rhodes will be in a place he could scarcely have dreamt of three or four years ago!

Article posted on 13.06.2011

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