Alan Dawson – London
Ricky Hatton’s stock as a trainer was enhanced on Saturday, June 16 as his junior middleweight from Minsk by way of Manchester - Sergey Rabchenko (21-0-0, 16ko) – showed a penchant for pressure, an ability to absorb a shot and an eye for a counter-punch as the undefeated 26-year-old out-powered former world title challenger Ryan Rhodes at the Velodrome in Manchester, halting the Spice Boy in round seven.
Official verdict: Rabchenko by way of 7th Rd TKO, collects EBU junior middleweight title.
“Listen, anybody… it doesn’t matter how many abs you do, if you get caught with a brilliant body shot it’s over,” said Rhodes (46-6-0, 31ko) to Sky Sports Two after the official announcement of his defeat. “I felt good, I knew he was strong, I felt like I was making him miss and pay. I wobbled him in the third round [sic: second round]. He has a good chin… I just got told I was 6-1 up on the scorecards but it was one of those things, it was the body shot. He’s got ten years on me [sic: nine years] but it’s nothing to do with age as I’ve been training with 23-year-olds in the gym.”
Nine years Rhodes’ junior, Rabchenko began the 12 round contest in positive fashion, occupying an aggressive stance, position and style while Rhodes boxed around the ropes, sending out southpaw jabs. The punches of the round, though, were all dispatched from the man from Minsk as Sergey cracked the Englishman’s jaw with a short-range uppercut at the midway point. This, punctuated with half jabs that set up the straight and flush left hands, saw Rabchenko collect the opening round.
Rhodes used his veteran experience to execute a swift turnaround and, by round three, he began to engage in what was shaping up to be a hot contest filled with heavy-handed blows. The difference between the two in the second and third sessions was that Rhodes’ punches were the cleaner while Rabchenko found the 35-year-old a frustrating opponent to pin down.
A wily counter-puncher with good punch resistance, Rabchenko was unfazed by Rhodes’ bigger shots in round five and was able to walk through them while setting up his own moves. Rhodes’ effectiveness had waned somewhat and the Russian found his ‘in’ and, in the subsequent stanza, Rab landed uppercuts, targeted the older man’s body and backed his man onto the ropes.
By the half-way point of the fight, Rhodes’ energy levels had lagged compared to what he had shown in the opener as Rabchenko’s unrelenting pressure had clearly taken effect. The pot-shotting from the home fighter was not on point as it had been and his fluidity was off.
With just moments left on the round clock and while Rhodes had landed a succession of clean shots, Rabchenko successfully countered Ryan and floored him for the first and only time in the bout. Rhodes was on his knees, grimacing in clear agony and, while he made it to a vertical position prior to the ten count, the referee refused to allow him to continue.
Considering his inability to establish himself at world level (losing out by way of late stoppage to Saul Alvarez) and now his failure to re-capture an EBU title in his favoured division, there will no doubt be question-marks over whether the road for Ryan has come to an end but the pugilist himself remains defiant: “Absolutely I’ll go on, this ain’t the end of Ryan Rhodes.”
On The Beak – Admin
Scott Quigg is shocked that bookmakers have him as favourite to beat Rendall Munroe on Saturday, June 16. Quigg challenges Munroe for the vacant interim WBA super bantamweight crown on Hatton Promotions ‘Road To Glory’ bill at Manchester Velodrome and, although Quigg is British champion and undefeated in 24 fights, the Leicester southpaw is a former European champion and challenged Toshiaki Nishioka for the WBC crown.
Bury’s Quigg, 23, said: “Bookies have me as favourite which is strange. I am the underdog. What Rendall has achieved and the level he has fought at is fantastic. It is a massive step up from where I have been fighting. I have only had two major championship fights and people are saying my opponents Jason Booth and Jamie Arthur had seen their best days.
“I am not disagreeing and realise how much I’ll be up against it. I haven’t even touched his level, but I know what I’m capable of doing. There is no pressure on me. The only pressure I have is the fear of losing.
“On paper he should turn up and win, but I am one million per-cent confident I will win.”
The ‘Road To Glory’ bill also features a vacant European light-middleweight title fight between Ryan Rhodes and Sergey Rabchenko, Martin Murray is in championship action and Richard Towers faces Michael Wallisch for the vacant EU heavyweight crown.
On The Beak – Admin
Undefeated heavyweight Richard Towers is up for winning his first professional title at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday, June 16. Sheffield’s big man faces German Michael Wallisch for the vacant EBU-EU heavyweight crown on the title-stacked Hatton Promotions card. The ‘Road To Glory’ bill also features a vacant interim WBA super bantamweight title fight between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe, Martin Murray in championship action and Towers’ fellow steel city fighter Ryan Rhodes facing Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant European light-middleweight crown.
Towers, 32, said: “This is the biggest fight of my life and when I get in the ring I will do my job. I have already been to Gran Canaria for warm weather training earlier this year and I am training three times a day. I am already feeling the direct benefit from these sessions and the Wallisch fight cannot come quick enough.”
Wallisch, 26, stands 6ft 5in tall and won all eight of his professional contests with five of his victories coming inside the distance. However, he will be dwarfed by 6ft 8in Towers who is rapidly closing in on compatriots Dereck Chisora, Tyson Fury and David Price.
Towers (13-0-0, 10ko) added: “I am blessed to have a brilliant team around me and all I have to do is be dedicated and live the life. I will fight anybody and I am getting closer to fighting guys like Fury and Price, but only when my team tell me it is right.
“I have only been boxing four-and-a-half years, but I have picked up this sport quickly. I have already sparred with Chisora and Fury. They are men I respect, but when I meet them they will discover I am unorthodox and different.”
There will be a talent stacked undercard that will include former Commonwealth welterweight champion Craig Watson, as well as unbeaten hopefuls Adam Etches, Scott Jenkins, Ryan Doyle and Jimmy Kelly.
Tommy Barber – London
Reigning WBC super welterweight world champion Saul Alvarez, defends the green belt against Alfonso Gomez on Saturday, September 17 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the popular Mexican – who recently secured a late stoppage win over Ryan Rhodes – described the Englishman as one of the toughest tests he has experienced thus far in his 38-fight professional career.
“There are three guys that I consider [to be my toughest tests],” Alvarez (37-0-1, 27ko) explained during a recent conference call aimed to help stir up interest in his upcoming bout – his third of 2011 – against Gomez. Alvarez decisioned Matthew Hatton in May to win the then-vacant WBC title before successfully defending it for the first time against Rhodes in his native Guadalajara in June.
Prior to that, Alvarez – dubbed Canelo due to the cinnamon colour of his hair – enjoyed a phenom-like breakout year in 2010 as he won all five of his fights – four by way of knockout, including scalping notable veterans such as Lovemore N’Dou, Carlos Baldomir and Jose Miguel Cotto.
Not one of those three, though, are deemed to be Alvarez’s most arduous of examinations as he considers the first and second defences of his NABF and WBO Latino welterweight titles in 2009, together with his 12th round knockout over Rhodes, to be tougher. He confirmed: “Euri Gonzalez, Michael Rosales and Ryan Rhodes [were tough fights]. I might have made it look a little easy with Rhodes but it wasn’t easy in there. These guys were tough guys, they were able to take my punch and they kept coming.”
His opponent, Alfonso Gomez – a former participant on The Contender programme – has notable victories on his resume over Peter Manfredo Jr, Jesse Brinkley, Arturo Gatti, Jesus Soto Karass and Jose Luis Castillo. While modest when speaking of where he ranks his boxing skills, Gomez (22-4-2, 11ko) proclaimed his determination to be superior to the British opposition that Alvarez has faced.
“I don’t consider myself a great fighter,” said the 30-year-old who, like Canelo is from Jalisco in Mexico. “I might not have the power that other fighters have, the speed, the knockouts but I do give 100 percent and I feel that I work hard, maybe harder than anybody else. I train hard in the gym, I give everything of myself in every fight and I throw many, many punches and that’s always been very successful for me. And that’s all I can do and that’s the type of fighter I am.”
Regarding the training that he has undertaken during his current camp, Gomez – a campaigner from the welterweight division – claimed there was “no change” in preparing for a super welterweight contest: “I’m just training hard, harder than ever. The weight’s not going to be an issue. I’m probably four pounds over the weight limit right now so that’s not an issue. I have been training with bigger guys because he is a bigger fighter, guys that are heavier than me so that when I fight the night of the fight I won’t feel that much of a difference.”
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer expressed his delight in bringing Alvarez back to Los Angeles; a city he hopes will continue to embrace the popular and talented youngster: “The language barrier is not a barrier if you can entertain the crowds and the people with the way you fight, what you stand for and how humble you are.
“Let’s not forget the ladies… if you can bring in the ladies because of your looks then I think that’s a great step to really make a mark, of course not just in Mexico but here in the United States as well. The American public, Hispanic or not, male or female; they are all embracing Canelo.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 20, will return to the ring in September, according to the popular Mexican prizefighter himself, who is riding on the high of a 12th round technical knockout over Britain’s best super welterweight, Ryan Rhodes, on Saturday, June 18 in Mexico. Ricardo Mayorga, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Alfredo Angulo have all been mooted as future opponents for Saul.
“Whatever comes next I have to talk to my promoter to see what follows,” Canelo (37-0-1, 27ko) explained to Boxing Scene. “I stand by what I previously said – I want a big fight this year. My next fight is going to be in September.”
Rhodes, who had a number 3 world rank by the WBC when he was heading into his world title shot last weekend, was mandatory challenger to Alvarez’s title. Saul produced a body-punching clinic and the experienced Rhodes never once looked like he was in the fight.
On The Beak gave Canelo every single round before Alvarez was eventually awarded a technical knockout victory when the referee stopped the fight at the same time Rhodes’ corner threw in the towel.
“I would make Canelo vs Chavez Jr anytime at 154lbs” Oscar de la Hoya, of Golden Boy Promotions – Canelo’s promoter, said on his official Twitter account after Saul’s impressive triumph.
Chavez Jr, though, would unlikely ever be able to drop down to the super welterweight limit as he is naturally a middleweight and, following the weigh-in of his recent bout against Sebastian Zbik, Chavez Jr rehydrated to an unofficial weight of 180lbs.
De la Hoya added: “Okay let’s say I do throw him in with Angulo and beats him, whoever comes up with the best excuse of why Angulo lost gets a Golden Boy tee-shirt.”
Other opponents who could be aligned with Canelo include Ricardo Mayorga, a wild power puncher who was recently defeated by Miguel Cotto, and also one of the Wildcard Boxing Club fighters – Vanes Martirosyan, who his trainer – Freddie Roach – believes would knockout Alvarez in just one round.
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
WBC world super welterweight Saul Alvarez (37-0-1, 27ko) dominated challenger Ryan Rhodes (45-5-0, 31ko) in every round and scored a 12th round technical knockout as Rhodes’ corner surrendered, prompting the referee Hector Afu to stop the fight before the scheduled distance on Saturday, June 18 in Guadalejara, Mexico. Alvarez’s credible win was punctuated with an astounding body-punching performance.
Judges scores: N/a.
Round One: For large portions of the opening two minutes, the challenger Rhodes – wearing black trunks – boxed backwards and mainly attempted to wait for the champion, Canelo Alvarez, to launch some incoming shots that he could either evade or counter. Rhodes took a combination in the final 30 seconds from Alvarez, who again unleashed a volley of punching moments later. Canelo clinched the ten score by closing the round with a dominant display.
Round Two: Rhodes sought to utilise his jab more often in the second. Alvarez drew strong cheers from the partisan crowd with a well-worked body attack. Saul was the clear aggressor in the fight, landed the more powerful shots while also putting the more aesthetically-pleasing flurries together.
Round Three: Rhodes took control of the centre of the ring in the third. Canelo motioned around Rhodes, counter-punched when his opponent attacked and again unleashed the more eye-catching combinations. Rhodes was made to miss more in the third than he had in the previous two rounds. Rhodes looked to put his own combo together in the closing stages but Alvarez avoided full contact.
Round Four: Rhodes continued to exhibit his stringent defensive posturing in the fourth, while also remaining relatively tentative in attack. Canelo combo’d Rhodes twice in the second minute of the fourth and, with one minute remaining, Saul seemed to score a flash knockdown – only the sixth time Rhodes had been dropped in his 46-fight career – which brought a huge reaction from the 12,000 in attendance. Rhodes was immediately on his feet, though, and replays showed that while Rhodes backed up from Alvarez’s right and a double jab, he may have slipped rather than be on the receiving end of a genuine knockdown
Round Five: Rhodes’ main cornerman – trainer Dave Coldwell, who is associated with the Hayemaker set-up – calmed Rhodes in between rounds, instructing his fighter that dropping five points in the first four rounds did not matter; an indication that the gameplan all along was to win by knockout. Rhodes, though, did not box like a headhunter in the fifth and again Rhodes took the ten score due to his superior boxing ability, combination work to the body and for being the one initiating the fight.
Round Six: Rhodes was the first to score big in the sixth with a hook shot that landed flush on Saul’s chin. Canelo then worked the challenger over with a series of blows, scattering them over Rhodes’ head and body. Rhodes threw one of his best shots of the night as he landed the straight right. Canelo caught Rhodes with a hard body punch. The sixth was a slightly more competitive round but was still very much in the champion’s favour.
Round Seven: Alvarez opened up a cut below Rhodes’ right eye in the seventh. The accumulative-effect of so much clinical punching on Canelo’s part had begun to take toll on Rhodes’ 34-year-old body. Midway through the round Rhodes was on his back but it was correctly ruled a push by Alvarez – no knockdown. Saul targeted the Englishman’s body as the fight approached it’s third minute. Rhodes had Alvarez fighting off the ropes in the final seconds but the champion was never troubled.
Round Eight: Rhodes’ chances worsened in the eighth as he withstood a systematic battering. Rhodes was caught with a left body shot when Saul switched his stance. When Canelo sensed danger he increased his punch output and his success rate was strong. Rhodes’ gameplan pre-fight was to knockout Alvarez but there was nothing evident in his boxing arsenal to suggest he had the power or skills to achieve such a result.
Round Nine: Alvarez focused some of his shots on Rhodes’ cut; looking to agitate and open up the wound. Rhodes took command of the centre of the ring while Alvarez boxed around him. Rhodes, though, never cut off the ring or trapped Alvarez. Neither was he throwing enough punches to score even one round.
Round Ten: Rhodes retreated into a defensive shell when Alvarez continued to torture his adversary’s body with hard-hitting combinations. Rhodes’ trainer Coldwell, had given his charge a pep talk regarding a late stoppage but it was Alvarez who showed greater intent in obtaining a technical knockout victory.
Round Eleven: Alvarez forced Rhodes back a step with a strong straight right in the opening minute of the eleventh. There was almost a minute of inactivity from both fighters before Rhodes landed two good combinations in succession on Alvarez. Going into the final round, Rhodes’ face was considerably marked up. The cut below his right eye had opened and his left eye had blackened.
Round Twelve: It was Rhodes who needed a knockout to win but, like he had done throughout the fight, it was Alvarez who showed all the intuition. Alvarez was punching without reply… setting up astute combination work while all Rhodes could do was attempt to keep his gloves up. Canelo landed body shots, right hooks, one-twos, right uppercuts, right hands and jabs in the final move that forced Coldwell to concede defeat for his fighter and throw in the white towel.
“I had it in my head I had to knock this kid out. I probably underestimated his power; he’s a strong kid,” Rhodes admitted to HBO: Boxing After Dark following his teekayo loss. “He caught me with body shots in every round… the kid’s a fantastic body-puncher.
“I was catching him more orthodox. Every time I switched to southpaw he caught me a lot more. I was beaten by a superstar of world boxing. He’s a superstar,” Rhodes reiterated.
Alvarez, who made a successful first defence of the WBC world super welterweight title he was awarded due to his decision win over Rhodes’ countryman Matthew Hatton earlier in the year, said: “I could really feel him flinch when I hit him [with body shots],” before adding: “I am ready for anyone.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Adrien Broner (21-0-0, 17ko) cemented his status as the best super featherweight in the US as he scored a sensational first round stoppage against domestic rival Jason Litzau (28-3-0, 21ko), the ‘Problem’ Broner became the new USNBC super featherweight titlist as a result. The two Americans battled on the undercard of WBC world super welterweight champion Saul Alvarez’s first defence against Ryan Rhodes in Guadelajara, Mexico on Saturday, June 18.
Judges scores: N/a.
Round One: There was little action in the first minute of the opening round. Both Broner and Litzau shared a common problem fighting in humid conditions, but it was only Broner, a counter-punching boxer-mover, who could feel hindered by the small ring. When Litzau attempted to pick up the pace midway through the round, Broner immediately went on the backfoot.
In the closing seconds of the first, though, Broner stunned both Litzau and those in attendance by staggering his opponent with a straight right before unleashing relentless power punches, some missing wildly but straight rights, uppercuts and left hands all landed on Litzau. When he eventually slumped to the canvas, referee Curtis Thrasher waved the fight off; awarding a sensational first round technical knockout victory to Broner.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has given an indication that the match-up between WBC world super welterweight champion Saul Alvarez and challenger Ryan Rhodes is the toughest fight Saul has had in his career thus far as he admitted he is “nervous”. Alvarez, nicknamed Canelo due to his hair colour, fights Rhodes on Saturday, June 18 at the Arena VFG, Tlajomulco de Zuniga in Guadelajara. It will be broadcast on HBO.
“I’m very nervous,” Schaefer, who represents Alvarez, is quoted to have said by Boxing Scene. The tear-up against Rhodes (45-4-0, 31ko) is Canelo’s first defence of the world title he was awarded due to his decision win over Matthew Hatton, brother of former two-weight world champion Ricky, earlier this year.
Hatton, though, was more of a welterweight campaigner and lobbied for the fight to be booked at a catchweight of 150lbs – four pounds below the full super welterweight limit. Conversely, Hatton’s countryman Rhodes has experience fighting at the full middleweight limit of 160lbs and only returned to the division below in the past four years.
“You look at a fighter like Ryan Rhodes… he’s a veteran, he has a punch and he’s a skilled fighter,” Schaefer added. “He has everything to gain and nothing to lose. That is what makes any fighter dangerous.”
Rhodes has achieved his greatest work at 154lbs. He is a two-time British title holder at that weight class and his most notable victory to date was a highly-lauded war against Jamie Moore in 2009. Rhodes was triumphant due to a seventh-round technical knockout.
He has fought for world titles before, but has not once been successful. His last attempt was for the lightly-regarded WBU middleweight belt in 2006 but he dropped a decision to Gary Lockett. The experience, however, could be key for Rhodes.
Despite spending his entire career fighting within the confines of the United Kingdom, Rhodes, an Englishman, fought Lockett’s own backyard in Wales, in front of a predominantly partisan crowd that exceeded 10,000. On Saturday there will be a similar atmosphere as every punch Alvarez (36-0-1, 26ko) lands will be wildly cheered by the Mexican supporters in attendance.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Both Saul Alvarez and Ryan Rhodes are confident ahead of their clash on Saturday, June 18 at Arena VFG, Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. Alvarez’s WBC super welterweight title is on the line and Canelo is hoping to secure a knockout victory in his first defence of the green belt. Rhodes, meanwhile, believes a win over the Mexican will land him a shot at Miguel Cotto and/or Antonio Margarito.
“Rhodes is a very good fighter,” noted Alvarez (36-0-1, 26ko) to Boxing Scene. “He’s very strong and puts his punches together well. When I watched his fights I could see that he was a strong fighter. We have a good strategy worked out for the fight [and] I’m going to be in the best shape of my career.”
Canelo added that Rhodes (45-4-0, 31ko) will not need to go looking for him when they share a ring this weekend as Alvarez will box right in front of the English challenger. He said: “I won’t run from him. I know what I have to do and if I see an opening I will go for the knockout.”
Rhodes is in his prime despite appearing to be in his twilight years at 34-years-old. Since switching trainers to Dave Coldwell, of Hayemaker fame, six years ago, Rhodes’ professional career has been resurgent. In 2006, Rhodes was hit by a setback as he dropped a unanimous decision verdict to Gary Lockett in the hostile Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, when challenging for the Welshman’s WBU world middleweight strap.
Rhodes is a different fighter at super welterweight, though, and when he dropped down a weight class to the 154lb weight limit, he picked up the British belt, the WBC International title and the EBU (European) championship due to a successful war against countryman Jamie Moore; Rhodes won by way of seventh round technical knockout.
Having moved down from the 160lb weight limit, to box at 154lb, Rhodes may well represent Alvarez’s biggest opponent to date. Alvarez won the then-vacant WBC super welterweight title recently when he decisioned Matthew Hatton; a natural welterweight.
Rhodes has spoken confidently of victory in the past and his trainer, Coldwell, has oft stated on his official Twitter page that he will be instructing his ward to seek the stoppage win. Rhodes is determined to cause the upset victory as it will help ensure he secures the big fights in the future, perhaps even landing pay-per-view deals on American television.
“I want them big fights,” Rhodes said, looking ahead. “I want the Cotto’s [and] the Margarito’s. It might – at last – be time for Old Spice.”
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
British fight fans will be hoping to see their sixth current world champion crowned on Saturday, June 18 as Ryan Rhodes challenges popular Saul Alvarez for his WBC world super welterweight title in Mexico and the Englishman’s trainer, Dave Coldwell, is predicting a knockout victory for his ward. Alvarez, meanwhile, is featured in the video below shadowboxing at Westside Boxing Gym, Los Angeles yesterday (Friday).
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, Joes182)
Alvarez (36-0-1, 26ko) is the fancied fighter. He is the prized prospect turned champion in the stable of Golden Boy Promotions, he has the skillset and also has the looks, however, Coldwell believes he and Rhodes (45-4-0, 31ko) are facing the phenom dubbed Canelo (due to his cinnamon-coloured hair) at the opportune moment as Alvarez is not yet at his peak while Ryan has never boxed better.
“I have watched hours and hours of fight tapes of him and we have wanted the fight for a long time, Ryan wanted the fight and we know we can win this,” Coldwell explained to British Boxers. “Alvarez is not the finished article, he is a very good fighter and could be go on to be a future great, but at the moment he is a very very good prospect and I’d rather be facing him now, than in two years time.
“He hasn’t proven himself yet… I’m here in Mexico and his own Mexican people are telling me that they are excited about this fight, because it is Canelo’s first fight where he is fighting a proper world class light-middleweight fighter.”
Coldwell did note that Alvarez’s greatest fistic weapon is his left hook and will presumably be working with Rhodes on a gameplan to negate the home fighter’s strengths and neutralising a largely partisan crowd – the bout is staged at Guadalajara’s Arena VFG – and, to put in perspective, Coldwell compared the adulation that Alvarez receives in his home country to that of David Beckham in Britain.
Coldwell believes Ryan’s experience and improvements since they have been training together will help ensure a knockout victory. Should that be the case, then it will be considered another chapter in the growing book of upset victories in 2011 and will rank alongside Nubohiro Ishida’s first round kayo over James Kirkland and Marco Antonio Rubio’s stoppage win against David Lemieux.
“During the last six years he [Rhodes] has won the British and European titles, [the] WBC International belt [and] he is now ranked number 3 by the WBC and IBF. Rhodes before never had a world ranking like that, he is also ranked number 4 by The Ring Magazine.
“I think it’s time people gave Ryan credit for the successes he has done over the past six years, since getting his career back on track, when many believed he was finished and we had seen the last of him. Part two of Ryan’s career has been more successful than part one and there is more substance to him now as a fighter.”
Coldwell continued: “If you look back at Ryan as British champion at 20 and now as British champion in his 30′s, he is now physically in better shape, better muscle definition than he was as a kid and a lot of that credit goes to the conditioning coach [Mark] Willie.
“Every fight, every training session is an education. For this fight we have been drilling into him the tactics different moves and punches, fitness work and if he follows the game plan, I cannot see Alvarez not getting knocked out!”