RYAN RHODES knows just how difficult it is to fight Canelo Alvarez. He fought the Mexican as far back as 2011 in what was only Canelo’s first world title defence. A talented and seasoned European champion then, Rhodes thought he would outbox Alvarez. But he miscalculated.

“He was just so accurate, he was just so sharp,” Ryan told Boxing News. “His movement was good, his defence was good. He didn’t waste anything. He’d throw a punch and if he was going to throw a punch you’d know he was throwing it to land. Not just a range finder, he was throwing it with intention.”

“His fight before that was Matthew Hatton and all he did was walk through Matthew Hatton. I thought if he was just going to do that it would work in my favour because I’m a boxer, I’m a counter-puncher, I’ll pick him off, I’ll move. And I just thought I’d use my boxing brain and I’ll outscore him, outpoint him. But he never did that with me. He held the centre of the ring,” Rhodes continued. “I thought this wasn’t the Canelo that boxed Matthew Hatton. So obviously the first round I had to change my gameplan and try and pressure him a little bit because he used a different gameplan to what we thought.

“He can box, he can fight, he can stand on the inside, he can move on the outside. He’s got a very good boxing and fight game.”

As a former opponent Rhodes was outraged at Canelo failing a drug test this year, for traces of clenbuterol attributed to contaminated meat, and only getting a six month suspension from boxing. “The six month ban was just shameful,” he said. “Six months is basically a slap on the wrist, it was ridiculous. Because he only fights twice a year anyway, so what he’s done is just move the fight. That’s all he’s done. It wasn’t a punishment.”

“To me it should have been a life time ban,” he maintained. “Anybody taking enhancing drugs in boxing should be banned for life in my opinion. You’re going in the ring to hurt someone to try to win, that’s what boxing is, the be all and end all of it. But when you’re taking stuff to improve that or make you stronger, boxing’s dangerous as it is, without taking performance enhancing drugs. I just thought it was horrible. It’s dangerous enough without taking drugs.”

Canelo Alvarez

When it comes to Canelo’s fight on Saturday, Rhodes does tip Gennady Golovkin to win. “You have to slightly favour Triple G in this one,” he said. “I think it could be a late stoppage by Triple GGG. That’s how I see this fight going.”

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