Canelo Alvarez defends super-middleweight belts with wide points win over brave John Ryder
Canelo Alvarez was taken the full 12 rounds by John Ryder, but enjoyed a successful return to Mexico as he defended his undisputed super-middleweight crown with a wide points victory.
Fighting on home soil for the first time in over a decade, Canelo entered the ring looking to respond to a relatively poor 2022 by his lofty standards, a year that saw him lose to Dmitry Bivol and win a largely uneventful bout with Gennady Golovkin on the cards before undergoing surgery on his left hand.
Ryder meanwhile came into this bout with five defeats on his record, three of those to fighters comfortably beaten by Canelo, and so the pressure was on the home favourite to deliver a statement display in front of almost 50,000 fans in Guadalajara. Canelo was well on course to do just that when he dropped Ryder in the fifth round with a sharp right hand, with the blood already streaming from the British man’s nose.
Ryder was remarkably brave though and continued to fire back as Canelo relentlessly marched forward and pushed for the stoppage win, and the sound of the final bell served as a moral victory against arguably the biggest name in the sport.
The result was never in doubt, one judge scoring it 120-107 in the Mexican’s favour and the other two cards having him 118-109 ahead, leaving Ryder as the eighth entry to the list of British fighters defeated by Canelo, who keeps a firm hold of his WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine belts.
“It felt different, it’s a lot of responsibility with my people who support me,” Canelo said of fighting in front of his home fans.
“He’s a very strong fighter. I’m in this position a long time. I respect my opponents because I know they’re coming for everything.”
When asked if he was entirely confident with his hand heading into the fight, he responded: “Not at the beginning. I needed a couple of rounds to start punching and know I am good with that hand. Now I know.”
He is now expected to turn his focus to a rematch with Bivol, a bout that Canelo has insisted must take place at 175lbs once again as he looks to step up to light-heavyweight and avenge last year’s points defeat to the Russin.
The sense that this was going to be an almost impossible night for Ryder was cemented from the moment he stepped out into the Estadio Akron and was greeted with a chorus of boos, before he spent the next 15 minutes finding out exactly where the ring walk budget had gone.
His simple stroll to the ring was somewhat undermined by the festival that followed, as fireworks, dancers and a 150-strong Mariachi band greeted Canelo and gave the impression that the boxing element of the night was a slight inconvenience.
Reluctantly the music stopped, Canelo removed his crown and the focus turned to matters in the ring, with Ryder appearing to be deep in trouble early on as blood began to pour from his nose, broken with the final punch of the second round, and offer an increasingly messy and appealing target for the Mexican.
Ryder did not just look to defend though, landing a number of uppercuts on the inside as he looked to get to work at close-range, but he was sent toppling to the canvas in the fifth as a perfectly-timed one-two resulted in a slightly delayed fall, and he did well to first beat the count and then make it back to his corner.
The right hand from Canelo continued to snap Ryder’s head back, but the British man began to steady the ship and enjoyed a fine eighth round, despite a brief scare as he was dropped but the referee declared it a slip. By this point he was option to stand between rounds, even with the punishment he was taking and the clean-up job being undertaken by his corner on the bloodied nose.
Another flurry of huge right hands badly rocked Ryder in the ninth, though again the finishing punch did not arrive. Canelo’s pace slowed heading into the final round, where he cut a frustrated figure as he slapped his gloves together almost willing the stoppage into existence, but the fireworks supply had run dry.