Canelo Alvarez John Ryder
Boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was fighting at home in his native Mexico Saturday night for the first time in a decade defending his undisputed super middleweight titles against interim WBO champion, John Ryder of Britain. The site was the sold-out, 55,000-seat Estadio Akron in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.
Canelo needed a victory if he was going to secure a rematch with Dmitry Bivol, who got the better of him in his last fight. He even said before the fight that he would retire if he lost. Probably to make sure he was motivated, he was indeed putting pressure on himself. The question was, did “The Gorilla” have enough hot sauce to upset Canelo and squash his Bivol rematch plans?
Speed, power, and big fight (see: opposition) experience were all in Canelo’s favor going in, so most figured that would be more than enough to get the “W” and look to a bigger fight next time.
Most were right – though a stoppage didn’t occur. Alvarez broke Ryder’s nose and floored him in round five, but the gritty Brit still managed to last the 12-round distance.
Scores were 120-107, 118-109, and 118-109 all for Alvarez.
Ryder had some height and reach on Canelo (as many opponents have) and he could try to play the awkward card and make it ugly, but would that keep the hard-punching Mexican star off him? He also had a couple of name wins (Daniel Jacobs and Callum Smith) on his resume, but he didn’t have anything close to the big fight experience of Alvarez. A key piece for Ryder was not to get overwhelmed by the event, fighting boxing’s biggest star in this Canelo-crazed country; just focus on the fight at hand.
Canelo (59-2-2, 39 KOs) came into a sold-out, Super Bowl-like stadium wearing a regal poncho and a crown on his head. All he had to do was look good in winning to remind his faithful that he was indeed boxing’s very best fighter, not just its biggest draw. While the fight did go the distance, Canelo looked good against a game and an incredibly tough opponent in Ryder.
And, while Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs) didn’t win the fight, or even many rounds, he did win over the Mexican crowd, which can be the harshest of critics to fighters who don’t give it their all – Ryder did that and more. All credit to an iron-tough Ryder.
Ryder goes back to Britain with the respect of everyone in boxing. As for Canelo, he will more than likely seek a Dmitry Bivol rematch.
After the fight, Canelo indicated he was happy with the result, despite not getting the KO, and was looking ahead to bigger fights.
“He’s a very strong fighter,” Canelo said of Ryder. “It was more difficult than usual. I’ve been in this position for a long time and I know my opponents are coming for everything. I’m happy with the fight”, he said.
And, as to what is next?
“Everybody knows we want Bivol,” Canelo said. “If the fight with Bivol doesn’t happen, we’ll see. (I want Bivol), same rules, same terms, same everything.”
Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (20-2, 14 KOs) TKO 11 Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KOs) to retain his WBC title
Super lightweight Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela (27-3-1, 16 KOs) SD 10 Steve Spark (16-3, 14 KOs)
Light heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk (19-1, 15 KOs) TKO 6 Ricards Bolotniks (19-7-1, 8 KOs).
Featherweight Nathan Rodriguez (11-0, 7 KOs) MD 10 Alexander “Popeye” Mejia (19-6, 8 KOs)