Ryan Rhodes travelled to Mexico for a meeting with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez six years ago
Ahead of Saul Alvarez’s super fight with Gennady Golovkin, we asked Ryan Rhodes to relive his own clash with ‘Canelo’.
The Mexican star will battle Golovkin in a long-awaited Las Vegas showdown, with the the WBC, WBA ‘super’ and IBF middleweights belts at stake.
Back in 2011, Rhodes was enjoying a successful spell in the latter stages of his career when he received the call to face Alvarez for the WBC super-welterweight title.
Alvarez is days away from his massive middleweight fight with Gennady Golovkin
‘Spice Boy’ would suffer a brave stoppage defeat in the final round and shares his memories of that meeting with Alvarez in Mexico.
What were your first impressions of Alvarez?
Rhodes was shocked by Alvarez’s increased size after the weigh-in
Just before the bell rang, when he entered the ring, he was absolutely huge. It was like another opponent from the weigh-in. I went into the fight at 11st 9lbs, while he went into the ring at 12st 8lbs. Nearly a stone heavier than me.
We both made the weight, but you could not control how much weight he was going to put on.
Did he use that size advantage?
When the bell went, he did not attack me like we anticipated. Alvarez tried boxing me and tried to counter me, so I had to change my game plan straight away.
Alvarez has packed on even more muscle in recent years
When you look at Golovkin, you know what you are going to get, he’s going to be in front of you, chucking bombs, but ‘Canelo’ is a little bit different. He can box, he can have a fight, he can counter punch. Alvarez has got a little bit of everything and that’s what you need to beat Golovkin.
What was Alvarez’s hand speed like?
He’s pretty fast. A good counter puncher. He does not waste anything, he’s very accurate with his punches.
Alvarez does not throw single shots. Everything is three and four, four and five shot combinations together, and everyone is a power shot.
How hard did ‘Canelo’ punch?
Rhodes felt the force of Alvarez’s punches for almost 12 rounds
I don’t think he is the biggest puncher I have been in with. He’s definitely up there, but not the biggest. Don’t forget I fought him five or six years ago. He has matured a lot since then, he’s bigger now, and probably hits even harder. When he hits ‘GGG’, he will know about it.
Probably Jason Matthews was the biggest puncher that I faced.
Can he take a big punch?
A great chin. I hit him with some big shots, it didn’t seem to faze him. Alvarez had good head movement and really good reflexes. He’s not your typical aggressive Mexican, he doesn’t get hit much, and has great movement.
Does he have any weaknesses?
Alvarez celebrates after the fight was waved off
I couldn’t find any. He seems to have got the full package.
Over the last few years, he seems to save a lot of energy and play it safe. Whether he does that with this fight, I’m not sure. He will be super fit and there until the very end.
What was he like outside the ring?
‘Canelo’ is a hugely popular figure in the world of boxing
Obviously, he doesn’t speak much English, but he is polite, very respectful.
We were out there three weeks before the fight and were treated brilliantly. I was in the newspapers, on posters, on TV every day. The Mexican people love this kid.
Would you have done anything differently?
I would l have liked the fight when I was a lot younger. I had a lot more energy.