Alvarez vs. Rhodes on 6/18: Saul makes his first defense
By William Mackay: In his first of what he hopes to be many title defenses WBC junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KO’s) will be facing his mandatory contender Ryan Rhodes (45-4, 31 KO’s) in a 12 round bout at the Arena VFG in Guadalajara, Mexico. Alvarez, still only 20, has got a big power advantage in this fight but will be facing a slick fighter in the 34-year-old Rhodes, who can also punch a little. Alvarez has proven in his last five fights that he can adapt to fighters that try to be slick with him.
Alvarez’s power makes him the type of fighter that can make up for mistakes that he makes in the ring. Rhodes is going to have to be extra special to beat Alvarez. It’s hard to imagine that Rhodes will be able to take the kind of punishment that Matthew Hatton did in his lopsided 12 round decision loss to Alvarez in March. Hatton never stood a chance in the fight and merely hung around for 12 rounds absorbing an enormous amount of shots. The fight probably should have been stopped by the 6th, because Hatton just wasn’t competitive but he was allowed to serve as a punching bag for the second half of the fight.
Rhodes has a nice looking record but he is really lacking in quality opposition. He has a win over an older Jamie Moore but that’s about it. He had problems against the only big puncher he ever faced before in his career Gary Lockett, and was beaten by a 12 round decision in 2006 by him. Since then, it’s been pretty much smooth sailing for Rhodes because he’s been fighting on the Euro level capturing and defending a EBU junior middleweight title.
Alvarez should take Rhodes out of there fairly early. The only way I can see Rhodes surviving is if he runs around and tries to escape from Alvarez’s big shots like he did in the Lockett loss. In that case, I see Rhodes losing a lopsided decision to Alvarez. But if he elects to trade with the 20-year-old Alvarez, Rhodes will get quickly destroyed.
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