Rhodes banks on experience in title duel

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RYAN Rhodes believes the experience earned during his long struggle to reach the top will help him become world champion in June.

At 34, the Sheffielder can rely on 16 years of history in the ring, in his pursuit of the WBC light middleweight belt.

And that craft, he hopes, will give him the edge over his forthcoming opponent, Saul Alvarez, aged 20.

“At his age, well, he’s a baby,” said Rhodes.

“Some people will see his youth as a possible advantage. But he’s not been in boxing long and he has boxed no one of my calibre.

“Look at his record and you won’t see anybody that has what I have.

“My experience is a big asset and it will tell on the night.”

Rhodes takes nothing away from Mexican Alvarez’s achievement, beating Matthew Hatton on March 5, to land the vacant title.

“He is a good fighter and I am working on the things he does well,” he said.

“For instance, he puts his shots together well and he is accurate - he caught Matthew a few times.

“But I won’t be available to hit - he won’t know how to handle me.”

Ecclesfield-based Rhodes said that negotiations were ongoing on as “to who stages it and where” but, if there’s no agreement, it will go to purse bids.

“If it’s in Mexico, or the USA, that won’t bother me,” he said. “I will have done enough to persuade the judges - if it goes that far.”

Former Sheffield world champion Clinton Woods believes Rhodes can deliver the title.

Woods admitted: “I am very pleased for Ryan, he hasn’t lost at light middleweight, it’s his best weight, and he has the experience needed at that level.

“If he fights overseas there won’t be any pressure on him, he can just go out there and perform.

“Ryan has fought world class fighters and in the middle of his career took time away from the ring so I think he will be relatively fresh.”