By now, everyone has heard about the $65 million offer on the table for Manny Pacquiao to face Saul Alvarez next spring. What is not being talk about, though, is that the entire conversation regarding a Pacquiao versus Alvarez showdown may be moot if the Mexican cult hero cannot get past little-known fighter Ryan Rhodes in their scheduled match on June 18.
That’s right, one 34-year-old British brawler can potentially shock the unbeaten Alvarez -- plus, the entire boxing-watching world -- and effectively kill Pacquiao’s massive payday with a single victory in Guadalajara, Mexico in less than two weeks.
The wealthiest man in the world, Carlos Slim, has more or less already indicated that he views Rhodes as a nothing more than a speed bump on Alvarez’s road to prominence. That, obviously, is the main reason that he is already thinking ahead to a massive spectacle starring his fighter and the Filipino superstar who is regarded in some circles as the best pound-for-bound boxer in the world -- in front of a 95,000 person crowd in Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium.
Wait a second, you mean Pacquaio would be involved in a fight people actually want to see for once?
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For the 34-year-old Rhodes, this is a shot at redemption. In his only previous world title challenge, the Brit fell to Otis Grant 13 years ago. However, that loss is not a sore spot for Rhodes. He is quick to point out that he is now a much fiercer puncher at “light-middle,” something that he believes gives him a leg up on Alvarez.
His confidence, coupled with the desire to prove everyone wrong, would be motivation enough for any fighter, but there is even more on the line for Rhodes. A few unconfirmed reports are noting that if he were able to get by Alvarez, promoter Bob Arum may consider inserting Rhodes into a fight against the crown jewel of his Top Rank camp. That match may not end up resulting in an equally massive payday for the parties involved, but few come out of a battle with Pacquiao with empty pockets.
At this point, though, Rhodes is focused on the task ahead. His job remains the same as ever – knock out the fighter placed in front of him. And, if as a result, his foils the plans of Slim, Alvarez and Pacquiao, well, that would just be icing on the cake.