The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Matthews-Rhodes Report

Rhodes to Ruin? 

By Alan Taylor

17th July 1999 - Doncaster, England

Once again the WBO prove that all governing bodies are as bad as each other. This good British domestic contest was unjustly elevated to the status of 'World Title' by the stripping of champion Bert Schenk.  Schenk flaunted the WBOs strict rulebook which states - "any fighter who develops lumbago will immediately lose his claim to the title especially if he is German" (I'm sure it's in there somewhere!!).  It's a sorry state of affairs when injury to a champion results in the loss of his title rather than a postponement.  Schenk is now mandatory challenger which I am sure is of great consolation to him.

If, as it appears to me, the deal was done to allow glamour boy Ryan Rhodes to follow friend and former gym-mate Naseem Hamed to a WBO title at least justice was done.  Like Hamed, indeed like most products of Brendan Ingle's gym, Rhodes is a flashy switch-hitting fighter who, while he does hit with impressive power, holds his hands low and his chin high.  Rhodes 'defence' consists of pulling back from punches.  Unfortunately Ali (or even Hamed) he ain't!

Taking the fight at just five days notice, British Commonwealth Middleweight champion, Jason Matthews took the fight straight to Rhodes.  There was no feeling out in the first round - just fast exciting punching from both men.  Matthew's chin was doubted by some before the fight but he held his hands high peekaboo style and allowed Ryan little chance to test it.  Conversely Rhodes seemed to lift his chin higher the more Matthews pressured him.  With 18 seconds left in the first a right uppercut from Matthews stunned Rhodes.  Jason followed up with three heavy clubbing rights which put Rhodes down.  He rose but looked shaken at the bell.

Matthews went for the finish straight away in the second.  Rhodes gamely fired back but a jab followed by another heavy right put him down for the count.  It was Rhodes second loss - the first in another title challenge against Otis Grant.  His record falls to 19-2-0 (16 KOs).

Matthews, who improves to 21-1-0 (18 KOs), dedicated the fight to his late mother who died just five weeks earlier.

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