On Saturday night HBO's Boxing After Dark featured Mexico's brightest rising star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (36-0, 26KO's). The WBC Jr Middleweight champion took on dangerous englishman, Ryan Rhodes (45-4, 31KO's) in his hometown Guadalajara, Mexico. Canelo has swiftly earned attention in the boxing world with his huge punching power & toe-to-toe mentality.
A slow placed first round started with both men taking a good look at one another. Jabs and feelers were thrown until Canelo landed the only significant punches of the round with two shots to the body accompanied by an uppercut/left hook combo.
Rhodes came out stalking in the second behind a cautious jab until Canelo turned the tables on his opponent with a flashy but thudding combo to the body. Rhodes turned southpaw while Canelo began to land more body shots.
Canelo has shown vast improvement in his defense adding great head movement while he landed free flowing combos to Rhodes in the middle of the third. Action picked up in the fourth which saw Rhodes land a quick combo until Canelo pummeled the englishman with brutal combination that dropped him with almost a minute left in the round. Rhodes got to his feet but barely survived the round after taking a straight right that pushed him back. In the fifth and sixth Canelo dominated the action with lethal combinations as Rhodes began to look extremely tentative. Canelo slammed hooks to the body followed by quick uppercuts.
At this point Canelo took complete control of the fight. Suffering from Canelo's relentless body attack, Rhode's corner told him they'd stop the fight if he didn't begin to attack. Rhodes began to protect his body in the eighth but was punished for doing so. In the eleventh Rhodes won his first round of the fight but that was due more to Canelo taking a breather so he can explode in the twelfth..which is exactly what he did.
Canelo landed big left hooks and uppercuts to start the twelfth, clearly wanting to close the show for his fellow Mexicans. The Ref stopped the fight when Canelo ripped two huge lefts to the body as Rhodes shelled up.
Canelo Alvarez's status is rapidly growing as a bona-fide Mexican Superstar. Following in the footsteps of Julio Cesar Chavez , the ginger-haired warrior was asked in a post-fight interview who he wanted to face next and he simply replied with "If I have to fight the Devil, I will fight the Devil". Somehow, I believe him.
Photo Credit - AP