Michael Rosenthal

Alvarez and Rhodes in talks for fight on June 18

Junior middleweight titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Mexico is in negotiations to fight mandatory challenger Ryan Rhodes of England on June 18 in Gudalajara, Mexico.

“It’s not a done deal,” said Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez’s promoter. “We’re in conversations with them and hoping to put it together.”

Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 knockouts) is coming off a one-sided decision over another Briton – Matthew Hatton – on March 5, which gave him the WBC 154-pound belt.

Rhodes (45-4, 31 knockouts) should pose a stiffer challenge.

One, Hatton, a natural welterweight, said after his defeat that Alvarez was simply too big for him. Rhodes, 34, has fought between junior middleweight and light heavyweight his entire career.

And, two, while he has never fought for a major title, he has dominated his European opponents for years. He has won 10 consecutive fights since he was outpointed by Gary Lockett in a middleweight bout in 2006.

Rhodes is THE RING’s No. 4-rated junior middleweight and has been on the list for 74 weeks. Alvarez is No. 9.

That said, he hasn’t beaten – or even fought – a big-name opponent. He also isn’t well known outside the United Kingdom, which could hinder the promotion.

At least Hatton had a well-known last name.

“Just because he’s not well known, doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous,” Schaefer said. “There are many, many examples in recent memory in which fighters we don’t know come over here and make a good first impression. Marcos Maidana and Dmitry Pirog are just two examples.

“This would be without a doubt the single more-important and most-difficult fight in Canelo’s career if we can make it.”

Golden Boy wants to rotate Alvarez’s fights between the U.S and Mexico to build his following in both countries.

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