Ryan Rhodes started slow, but he came back fast. In a thrilling war, Rhodes upset Jamie Moore in Bolton today to win the European junior middleweight title via seventh round stoppage.
Moore dominated the first three rounds, but was rocked at the end of the fourth by Rhodes, who seemed to be fighting Moore's fight, a bad move on the surface. But Rhodes came back to win the fifth round and shake Moore up again in the sixth. Moore, though, battled back and made the sixth a toss-up round.
In the seventh, though, the final momentum shift came. Rhodes put Moore on spaghetti legs with a huge right hand, and Moore crashed to the canvas early in the frame. Rhodes then put the charge on, but Moore's legs appeared to come back fast. It then appeared that Rhodes was shaken a bit, but suddenly he nailed Moore with an overhand right, sending the defending titleholder back into the ropes. Rhodes then unloaded, and referee Howard John Foster called for the bell at 2:35 of the seventh round.
It's a massive win for the 32-year old Rhodes (43-4, 29 KO) and a very, very tough loss for Moore (32-4, 23 KO). Rhodes is now the mandatory for WBC titlist Sergio Martinez, too, and that was a position he was fighting to get into last year when Vernon Forrest held the title.
For Moore, who was pretty much universally ranked in the top ten at 154 pounds, it's back to the drawing board. He appeared to gas pretty badly in this fight, but if he has to move up in weight, he'll find the going quite rough. At just 5'8", he would be a small middleweight, even with his tank-like build.
Congratulations to Ryan Rhodes for his amazingly tough performance, and hats off to both men for a Fight of the Year contender.
The Bad Left Hook Divisional Rankings have been updated accordingly, with previous No. 10 Moore falling out, and Rhodes moving into his spot.