Ryan Rhodes remains in defiant mood in the wake of his thumping by rising star Saul Alvarez over the weekend, insisting he is still the best junior middleweight in Europe. He plans to fight on.
"I’m still not finished. I’ve still got plenty of good years in me yet. I’m still loving the game, "said the 34-year-old from Sheffield as he dismissed all talk of retirement upon his return from Guadalajara, Mexico.
"I never lost my European title or gave it up. So I’m still No. 1 in Europe. I could fight for that and see where we go from there.”
Rhodes (45-5, 31 Knockouts) was stopped in the 12th round of a one-sided contest against the 20-year-old WBC titleholder. As a result, he loses his European belt.
And though he is optimistic about the future, others back in the UK are not so sure. Johnny Nelson, the former cruiserweight titleholder, is great friends with Rhodes and is loathe to start dishing out career advice to his fellow Yorkshireman.
But, in his position as a Sky Sports pundit, Nelson admitted he expected Rhodes to seriously consider hanging up his gloves after 15 rollercoaster years in the ring.
“He’s had a great career. He was the youngest holder of the Lonsdale belt," said Nelson. "He has done everything that’s been asked of him … bar win the ultimate prize of a world title. It’s not for me to say, ‘walk away’ or ‘stay’ to Ryan Rhodes. I think he is sensible enough, and his family are sensible enough, to say, ‘let’s think seriously about this’.
“And I think he’ll probably say, ’you know what, I have given it my all, that’s my goal, that’s all I wanted, so maybe it’s time.’”