Saul Alvarez defends his WBC Light-Middleweight title this Saturday in Guadalajara, Mexico against British fighter Ryan Rhodes.
With the exception of Carlos Baldomir, Mexican boxer Alvarez has been protected from dangerous fighters on his way to the lower elite of world boxing.
This is not uncommon in boxing, but Golden Boy Promotions appear to have been cautious in choosing opposition for their young protege.
It could be argued that the last opponent for Alvarez, Matthew Hatton, was a relatively safe option in order for Alvarez to win his first title. To be fair to Hatton, there was weight issues prior to the fight in favour of Alvarez and Hatton did give a good account of himself.
This cautiousness has resulted in the selection of Alvarez's latest opponent, the tough journeyman Ryan Rhodes.
Rhodes has a reasonable record and is a former British and European Light-Middleweight Champion. Surprisingly, Rhodes is also rated number four in The Ring Magazine's top ten light-middleweight pound for pound fighters.
Rhodes has generally fought against domestic opposition. In 1997, Rhodes fought Otis Grant for the vacant WBO Middleweight title and lost via a unanimous points decision. It's been almost fourteen years since Rhodes had his first title shot and the latest attempt may have come too late for him.
As a result, it is unlikely that Rhodes will provide Canelo a tough challenge. The fight is also at altitude in Guadalajara which will be to the advantage of Alvarez. Rhodes has only recently arrived in Mexico and may find it difficult to adapt quickly to the change.
The fight appears to be a homecoming for the new Mexican champion, a chance to defend his new title in a fan friendly environment.
But how long will it be before Golden Boy Promotions allow him to take on more dangerous opposition that are at his level of ability or above?
Manny Pacquiao has been suggested as a future opponent. Rumours are rife that billionaire Carlos Slim has offered to stage the contest for $65 million.
Fighting Pacquiao now would be a big mistake and would result in a no holds barred beat-down for the young boxer.
What Alvarez needs is unification fights against the likes of IBF Champion Cornelius Bunderage and WBO Champion Sergiy Dzinziruk. This would allow for Alvarez to gain genuine recognition as one of the best new fighters in boxing but also prepare him for the likes of Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams and possibly Sergio Martinez.
Maybe it's time to see how good Saul Alvarez really is.
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