Too busy to care

Feeling the strain: Veteran fighter Ryan Rhodes hard at work during the build-up to his world title challenge.       Picture: Steve Parkin
Feeling the strain: Veteran fighter Ryan Rhodes hard at work during the build-up to his world title challenge. Picture: Steve Parkin
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WITH a decade more boxing experience under his belt, you’d expect Ryan Rhodes to boast a formidable ringcraft advantage - if not youth - over this month’s world title adversary.

When the veteran Sheffielder launched his pro career in 1995, opponent Saul Alvarez was a four year old. Yet Alvarez is an incredibly busy fighter who has made up for that lost time.

He has boxed a mere 10 fewer rounds than Rhodes ...despite the 10-year difference in career span!

Since 2009, the Mexican has been in 13 contests, while Rhodes has been in action just four times.

So at the tender aged of 20, Alvarez has plenty of experience - enough for him to win the WBC light-middleweight title now a target for Rhodes’ clutches. Rhodes will attempt to take the belt off him in Guadalajara on June 18.

Rhodes was surprised at the comparison of personal round statistics when The Star revaled them to him - but promised to use it to his advantage.

“Fighting 10 rounds fewer than me seems an astonishing stat” he said. “But it means that he has boxed too many rounds without being able to finish people off. I have not been as active, but that will help me because I haven’t been in as many tough fights lately. My defensive style means I won’t have been hit as often as him, too.”

Unbeaten Alvarez (W26 D1) has a superior KO percentage over Rhodes (W45 L4), is slightly taller and has boxed four of his wins on home soil; while 34-year-old Rhodes has never boxed as a professional abroad.

A third Sheffield boxer is to step in the ring with a fighter who has been of world champion experience.

The opportunity falls to virtual novice Wayne Reed, (W6 L2) - the Parson Cross light heavy is to face Robin Reid, on June 25 at Hillsborough Centre, on the undercard of Kell Brook’s WBA International title bout. Reid, at 40 years of age, maybe past his best, but he still held the WBC super middleweight title in 1996.

His 23-year-old opponent’s Sheffield trainer, Glyn Rhodes, said: “This will be a test for Wayne, but one I expect him to do well at. Wayne was robbed in March’s Prizefighter tournament, has come back to beat Dean Walker and is now ready to go again. We hope to see Wayne collect his biggest scalp.”

Also on the Hillsborough show next month will be Sheffield’s unbeaten heavyweight giant Richard Towers, looking for his 11th straight win.

The other two city boxers facing world title quality challengers are Rhodes and Brook, who takes on former world champion Lovemore N’Dou.