Sheffield's Ryan Rhodes to fight Saul Alvarez in June

Ryan Rhodes
Southpaw Rhodes turned pro in 1995

Sheffield's Ryan Rhodes will get a second world title shot 14 years after his first when he fights Saul Alvarez in Guadalajara, Mexico on 18 June.

Rhodes, 34, was outpointed by Otis Grant when challenging for the vacant WBO middleweight title in 1997.

And this time round he will be fighting for the WBC light-middleweight belt.

The hard-hitting Mexican Alvarez, 20, will be making the first defence of the title he won by beating Rhodes' fellow Englishman Matthew Hatton in March.

When Rhodes was overlooked for a shot at the vacant WBC title in March, his trainer Dave Coldwell called it "boxing politics at its worst".

Rhodes, who has won his last 10 fights, was ranked number four by the WBC and neither Alvarez nor Hatton had fought at 154lb before.

But Rhodes, who was one of Britain's most exciting prospects when he emerged in the mid-1990s, is determined to make the most of his second chance.

"I have waited a long time for this opportunity and I intend to take it with both hands," said Rhodes, the European champion.

"I respect Alvarez as a fighter and I know he is an exciting prospect, but I fully intend to bring the belt back to England."

The redheaded, freckle-faced champion became the youngest man to win a light-middleweight world title when he dominated Hatton in Anaheim, California.

And next Alvarez - known as El Canelo - Spanish for cinnamon -will be returning to his homeland where he is wildly popular.

"I am very excited that my first world title defence will be in Guadalajara," said Alvarez. "I promise I will work extremely hard to give all my fans a great performance."

The unbeaten Alvarez, who has 36 wins including 26 knockouts and one draw from 37 fights, is a protege of Oscar de la Hoya, who has high hopes his charge will blossom into a superstar of the sport.

"One of the first things Canelo told me after he won his world title was that he didn't want to sit around waiting," said former six-weight world champion De la Hoya, who also handles Britain's Amir Khan.

"He wants to fight, he wants to be an active champion, and we're going to give him every opportunity to do that."

Alvarez turned professional when he was only 15, and had 20 fights under his belt by the time he became a legal adult.

His most notable victories include a knockout of Jose Miguel Cotto - the brother of WBA light-middleweight champ Miguel Angel Cotto - and over former title-holders Carlos Baldomir and Lovermore N'dou.

"I know that Ryan will be coming to seize the opportunity to win a world title, but I have every confidence that Canelo has what it takes to not only win on 18 June, but also to reign as a world champion for many years to come," added De la Hoya.

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