By Dan Ambrose: Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 KO’s) showed what he’s made of last Saturday night in first beating up and then taking out his number #3 WBC contender Ryan Rhodes (45-5, 31 KO’s) by a 12th round knockout at the Arena VFG, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, in Jalisco, Mexico. Alvarez wore the 34-year-old Rhodes down with a crushing body attack in the early rounds of the fight and by the 12th, Rhodes looked weak and ready to be taken out.
Alvarez flurried on him in the 12th with power shots until Rhodes’ corner threw in the towel and the fight was halted by referee Hector Aful at 0:48 of the round. With this win, Alvarez, when being interviewed by HBO after the fight, said he’s open to fighting anyone in the division next. Two specific names were floated, Alfredo Angulo and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and Alvarez said again that he would be willing to fight anyone. He didn’t specifically that he wanted to fight either of them in his next fight in September, but they’re both possibilities.
The 20-year-old Alvarez will be fighting on September 17th, the same night that Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Victor Ortiz. Alvarez’s fight will take place in Mexico but there is talk that it will be shown on the same telecast as Mayweather-Ortiz in a split site showing.
Chavez Jr. fights at middleweight and it would be unclear whether there would be a catchweight involved. There would almost have to be one, because the 6-foot Chavez Jr. is a lot bigger than the 5’9″ Alvarez and is struggling already just to make the 160 pound middleweight limit. It’s hard to imagine Chavez Jr. being able to drop down more than a few pounds without it possibly hurting him. He weighed 180 lbs the night of his last fight against Sebastian Zbik.
Angulo was on hand on Saturday night for the Alvarez-Rhodes fight and he really wants to fight Alvarez next. Angulo is ranked at the number #2 spot and this would be an excellent fight if Angulo isn’t rusty from inactivity. He hasn’t in over a year and it might be asking a lot of him to face Alvarez without a tune-up. Judging by how Angulo has looked in his last several fights, he might have problems with Alvarez because Angulo is a lot slower, easy to hit and doesn’t have nearly the same boxing skills that the 20-year-old Alvarez possesses. I can see Alvarez beating Angulo in a hard fight but one that is fairly one-sided.
Angulo would have his moments because of his big power but he’s so much slower than Alvarez and will be there to be hit. I’d be surprised if Alvarez’s promoters from Golden Boy Promotions put him in with a guy like Angulo next. With Alvarez beating the number #3 ranked Rhodes, the natural thing for Golden Boy to do is match Alvarez soft against a lower ranked fighter but against someone with a name. Ricardo Mayorga, a former two division world champion, has been someone that has been linked with a possible fight against Alvarez. That might be the way to go for September rather than taking on some of the bottom ranked contenders, who all good fighters, but don’t have the name value to interest boxing fans in the United States.