The junior middleweight fight between titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico and Ryan Rhodes of England on June 18 in Guadalajara, Mexico, has been finalized, ESPN.com reported.
Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 knockouts) easily outpointed another Englishman, Matthew Hatton, on March 5 in Anaheim, Calif., to win the vacant WBC 154-pound title.
The 20-year-old lives on the outskirts of Guadalajara, where he is extremely popular.
"For me, it is so huge, but for my Mexican people, it's going to be even bigger," Alvarez told ESPN.com. "It was my dream to have my first defense in Mexico, and now the dream is reality. I am very happy."
The Alvarez-Rhodes fight will be televised by HBO as the main event of a "Boxing After Dark" show, according to Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. That's a change from an earlier plan to broadcast the fight on an HBOPay-Per-View show.
"After seeing the ratings Canelo had — the highest "Boxing After Dark" ratings in like three years — they obviously are very interested in having him back live on the network," Schaefer said. "To have Canelo live on HBO before he does his first pay-per-view is the right approach."
Alvarez is THE RING’s No. 9-rated 154-pounder. Rhodes (45-4, 31 KOs) is No. 4.
Dennis Tayloris editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com and co-host of The Ringside Boxing Show