The challenge of a life time

Ouch: Ryan Rhodes takes a body shot from Saul Alvarez
Ouch: Ryan Rhodes takes a body shot from Saul Alvarez

Ex-world title challenger Ryan Rhodes knows what sort of night that Jamie McDonnell is in for.

Rhodes himself challenged for the world title against a brutal Mexican but had to do so in front of a crowd baying for his blood.

McDonnell will have home backing and this could make the difference, reckons the retired former Euro champ.

“A hometown decision is something that happens in boxing. His opponent will know that and will try to ensure it doesn’t go to scorecards” said Rhodes.

“I t will depend on what the judges like to see. I knew when I went to Mexico there’d be no chance I’d get a decision so if I was to win it would have to be by KO. Jamie won’t have that.”

Saul Alvarez beat Rhodes and is now one of the best in world boxing. McDonnell’s opponent Julio Ceja appears to be on a similar path but Rhodes has confidence the Doncaster bantam can inflict a first career defeat.

“Jamie puts opponents on the backfoot and you can’t throw power punches when you’re going backwards, that can take the Mexican’s rhythm away,” predicted Rhodes.

“He’s up against it because this guy can punch with both hands and his record speaks for itself but Jamie has a few advantages.

“Jamie has a terrific work-rate, he’s really fit and has a good boxing brain.

“He’ll have a stadium behind him which will give him a fantastic buzz and it’s his first world title shot.

“He deserves to be at this level because he cleared up at home and in Europe.”

Unbeaten Ceja has knocked out 22 of his 24 opponents.