Alex Steedman can see Brian Rose beating Joachim Alcine this Saturday, but he thinks it'll go the distance...
Fighters are used to dealing with pain, strife and difficulty but Brian Rose has suffered more than most. Given his journey, Rose is a winner already but as the headline act on a Sky Sports' bill, he's on the brink of even better things.
Rose 1.282/7 is rated among the top 20 light-middleweights in the world according to Boxrec and importantly, he's just outside the top 10 in the WBO rankings. In other words, Rose is knocking on the door of world class and if he can beat former WBA champion Joachim Alcine 3.259/4 that door will move ajar. That itself is extraordinary given events the Brummy-born Blackpool hero has had to overcome.
Rose spent more than a year out of the gym because of a freak injury suffered during his winning debut in 2005 and most of the time away from his family training in Manchester on recovery. All of that seemed behind Rose when he claimed his first professional title in 2009, stopping Jason Rushton for the English belt. But celebrations were short lived as Rushton collapsed leaving the ring and fell into a coma. Rose visited him in hospital in the aftermath and was left rocked, emotionally and psychologically. Unsurprisingly, Rose was all over the place returning to the ring seven months later when he lost in six rounds to Max Maxwell. Rose was a lost soul and retirement was on his mind.
Step forward sports' psychologist Emma James who worked extensively with Rose during that difficult period and essentially saved his career. The steady recovery of Rushton no doubt helped and Rose has blossomed, winning eight successive fights since. That run includes a British title which Rose has defended three times, including an important return win against Maxwell, earning him a coveted Lonsdale belt in the process. Rose has moved above his domestic peers and this foray against International competition is the next, logical step. He looks ready in every respect.
So what of opponent Alcine? Let us say that three, four or five years ago the market would be on its head completely. Alcine won a world title in this division in 2007, losing it at the first attempt but he's mixed in much better company than Rose and you could even make him favourite on his defeat of puncher David Lemieux in late 2011. At the age of 37 and on the back of a 1st round blowout at the hands of Matthew Macklin, Alcine is perceived as past it. I'm not so sure.
The YouTube footage of Alcine's victory over Lemieux is revealing and if he can repeat that performance he's not just a challenge for Rose, he's a big price to beat him. Alcine used movement in the early stages to diffuse Lemieux's pressure, stood his ground with the jab through the middle rounds and fought with confidence down the stretch. That was a big Canadian derby and Lemieux, stopped for the first time previously, might not be as good as we thought but Alcine outboxed and outfought the younger man. If the Macklin defeat hasn't left its mark, he's a massive test for Rose.
It may be a hindrance to Alcine stepping back down in weight at his age though he did weigh in between divisions last time and he probably only has to drop a few pounds. He's also a big, rangy light-middleweight and has the style and variety to make this interesting. It certainly helps Rose that this is likely to be a boxing match rather than a brawl and Rose is a good technician with an excellent amateur background. The fight looks destined to go the full distance.
Rose did stop former world champion Vivian Harris in October but he's not as 'vicious' as he once was having lost seven successive fights previously. That was a good name on the record and a smart match but it served only to whet Rose's appetite for international competition. Rose has just six stoppages from 22 wins and is accurate rather than hard punching. Alcine has been stopped every time he's been beaten but heavy handed Alfredo Angulo and two-time world champion Daniel Santos are the names on the record alongside Macklin so he's been beaten only by good ones. The judges ought to be doing some work here.
I must admit to being tempted by the 3.259/4 for Alcine because he's a decent boxer with the style and game plan to prevail away from home. If he's still confident in himself he can spoil the party but timing is vital in boxing and this might be perfect matchmaking for Rose. I don't think that Rose will be winning a world title anytime soon but he's smart, confident and has the skill set to find the required answers. I know plenty of boxing fans looking forward to the next chapter in the life of Brian.
Back Brian Rose to win by Dec/TD @ around 3.259/4