A great deal has been said about Ryan ‘Spice Boy’ Rhodes over the years, he’s been touted as the best around and written off in equal measure. What Rhodes has done though is prove all the doubters wrong and at 33 he is in the form of his life and on the verge of a world title shot.
With 48 fight and 44 wins, Rhodes has many a mile on the clock – he has campaigned at light middleweight since his debut in 1995, and became the youngest British champion at that weight. His career went through up and downs though, periods of poor performances had him written off as a spent force.
Then along came Jamie Moore. In Moore Rhodes found his domestic rival, another fighter seemingly on the up and up and on the cusp of a word title too. That fight was an epic, a war in every sense. Rhodes did the impossible he took the fight to Moore – a fighter known for his brutal infighting and pressure. Rhodes stood in the lion’s den and took Moore best shots and kept on coming. He broke Moore’s heart that night and then used his heavy hands to destroy what was left. That fight ended Moore’s career (he failed a brain scan soon after and retired) leaving Ryan the European champion and in line for a crack at a world title.
Ryan Rhodes’ next fight came last weekend against highly regarded Italian Luca Messi. What the fans saw that night in Sheffield (Rhodes’ home town) was a masterclass. Gone are the super quick reflexes of Rhodes’ earlier career but he has plenty left and brutal power to match. The performance was decisive. It was wonderful to watch.
The future is bright for Rhodes, now promoted by Ricky Hatton and in the apparent form of his life, a crack at a world title could happen this year. At 33 Rhodes hasn’t got time to waste but for now he is proving the old adage that there is life in the old dog yet.Follow @ispyer