RYAN Rhodes is shedding blood, sweat and tears as he prepares for his date with world title destiny, this weekend.
But it is tears of laughter that is keeping the atmosphere light in the baking heat of Mexico as Sheffield’s light middleweight hero awaits his chance to take the WBC title off Saul Alvarez, in his opponent’s home territory, at the Arena VFG, Jalisco.
After intensive work outs in the gym, friends and family that have made the trip to south America are making the three week jaunt much more pleasurable. Trainer Dave Coldwell said: “It’s been a great atmosphere in camp, myself, Ryan, (conditoner) Mark Willie, Ryan’s brother Wesley and Ryan’s pal Johnny Atkinson make up the team that have been out from day one.
“The latter two have been a God-send with the laughs and joking around that has broken up the days.
“In training, it’s been very hard. Outside of training we’ve really had a great laugh.”
Rhodes has been sparring, running and exercising in sweltering conditions, but has adapted well to the altitude and heat, says Coldwell.
“It has been in the high 30s to 40s ever day. It is great weather: Ryan just loves the heat!
“Our hotel is fantastic, food is lovely, all fresh, the fruit, fish, organic vegetables and chicken is going down well.
“We’ve been tipping the waiters big time to make sure they are on our side! We have got on great with the locals and are being treated really well.”
Coldwell said the team decided to make their own arrangements in the run-up to the fight, rather than following those offered by rival promoters Golden Boy.
“I organised a boxing gym myself through a contact I have in the States, also sparring partners too rather than use the facilities the Mexicans and Golden Boy wanted us to use. His conditioner, Willie found a fitness gym for us so we’ve looked after ourselves on this. We prefer it that way.
“Willie has done a fantastic job, getting him in the best shape of his career.”
Rhodes has looked completely focussed on the task in hand. “We’ve just had a great session” said Coldwell. “Ryan was very sharp on the pads and bag. It’s bound to be difficult for him in the heat; but he’s done great.”
Alvarez, a flame haired bundle of energy, has been honed by the great Oscar De La Hoya. The 20-year-old has beaten quality fighters like Jose Miquel Cotto - brother of Miguel - and Lovemore N’dou, but may struggle with Rhodes’s technical skills and power.