Former light welterweight contender Lydell Rhodes is looking to continue his move down in weight and is hoping in 2017 that he can compete for a super featherweight title. Rhodes currently has a record of 25-2-1 (12KOs) and is coming off a year that saw him lose a controversial decision to Edner Cherry, but ended with two straight wins. If Rhodes can successfully drop to 130lbs he will find himself in one of the most talent stacked divisions in the sport.
In part 1 of my interview with Lydell Rhodes I discuss with him his plans to move down in weight and talk to him about how he feels fighting lighter. Lydell also talks about the 130lb division and some of the fighters he would like to face at that weight. Additionally, Rhodes shares his thoughts on Pacquiao vs. Horn and talks about facing Pacquiao in the ring. Here is what Lydell Rhodes had to say.
Jenna J: Lydell, you have fought at 140, 147 and as low as 133lbs, can you talk a little bit about what weight you plan to complete at going forward?
Lydell Rhodes: Yeah, I’m going to be going around super featherweight and lightweight, whatever weight I can get the big fight at. The last couple of fights were just fights to get back some wins in the win column and I just fought at whatever I walked around at. It was just to get back in the ring instead of having this long layoff before I have another big fight. We got a few little tune up fights in there.
Jenna J: Being that your goal is to complete at 130lbs, how do you feel after getting around that weight?
Lydell Rhodes: It pretty much feels the same. I just feel in a lot better shape because whenever I fight heavy, it’s due to the fact that I never diet, so that’s the hardest part of boxing for me. When I actually go on a real diet and do everything the way you’re supposed to do it — drinking lots of fluid, eating the right foods — it pretty much just comes off and it’s a natural weight for me.
People at the gym they say, “Man you need to go down to 126lbs” because I’m short. I’m just bulky but whenever I get on a diet, the weight just goes right off me and I start walking around at 138lbs. It’s easy for me to cut the weight right. I weighed in at 132lbs in the fight with Edner Cherry and I was walking around at 133lbs two days before weigh ins, it was easy for me to make that weight. That’s just the main thing, the diet.
I’m not going to make the mistake of trying to change up my style and trying to be a bulldog and try to be bigger than everyone at 130lbs. I’m going to still do what I do, use speed and movement even though the guys are going to be a lot smaller, I’m still keeping my same style.
Jenna J: The 130lb division is stacked, you have Vasyl Lomachenko, Francisco Vargas, Orlando Salido. What fight do you want in the junior lightweight division?
Lydell Rhodes: I want them all. If I had to say a perfect scenario, I would fight pretty much all the champions. The top tier of the champions is of course Lomachenko, I’m ready to fight everybody in the division, I think I even match up good with Lomachenko. I’d love to have that fight because he most of the time fights guys that are pressure fighters and just come forward, besides Gary Russell, but most of the guys are like that.
I’m probably the same height as Gary Russell but my arms are longer, and I feel I could get to Lomachenko with my jab. I have movement and I can stay on the outside enough where he can’t use all of those angles that he does against everybody else. He hasn’t fought an athlete like me, so I believe I match up well against Lomachenko.
I’m just ready to fight everybody in the division and get in there because it’s an action packed division with Lomachenko, Vargas, Walters. I’d like to fight any of those guys any day of the week. Any time I get on the phone with Haymon, I’m begging for a top fight. You name it, I’ll get in the ring with them.
Jenna J: You have had the experience of being in the ring and sparring Manny Pacquiao multiple times. He now has a fight coming up with Jeff Horn, what do you think of that fight?
Lydell Rhodes: It kind of came out of nowhere, I didn’t even see them talking about it or discussing it. I just remember they were trying to match him up with Terence Crawford. I can’t say I know too much about Jeff Horn, I think he was on the Olympic team for Australia in 2012 but I haven’t seen any of his fights. I looked him up on BoxRec and read about him but I haven’t seen him.
I read some articles where he said he matches up well with Pacquiao, but I feel anyone can do pretty good against Pacquiao for a few rounds but his class tells over time. Jeff may do good for a few rounds but I’m just going off of what I believe and what I know, and if he was on that level I would have heard about him. There are some diamonds in the rough out there in boxing but as far as the guy who no one really knows outside of Australia, I don’t believe that he can beat Manny, even at the age that Manny’s at right now.
Jenna J: When you are in the ring with Pacquiao, what do you see in terms of the fighter he is now?
Lydell Rhodes: When you’re in there with Manny, he’s boxing a lot better, he’s countering a lot more, he’s picked up on veteran stuff. He’s better at timing, boxing, jabbing, countering, defense, it has all gotten a lot better and I noticed that in the last camp. He was countering my jabs a lot more than he was the prior times that we had sparred.
Manny is still bringing that pace where you have to be in top elite level shape, where even Tim Bradley who is a work horse couldn’t keep up with Manny over twelve rounds. I don’t feel like a normal good fighter can last with him. You can last and survive with him but as far as beating him and being able to outwork him, I don’t see it happening. I would have to disagree with anyone who feels like Horn is going to win. But I could be wrong because I have never studied the guy or watched him. I may watch him on YouTube and change my opinion but as of right now, I have to go with Pacquiao.