For the first time in more than one decade, boxing superstar, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, fights in his native Mexico TONIGHT (Sat., May 6, 2023) when he defends his undisputed Super Middleweight titles against interim WBO champion, John Ryder.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of the Canelo vs. Ryder main event right here. The pay-per-view (PPV) main card broadcast kicks off on DAZN at 7 p.m. ET (watch it here), while Canelo and Ryder are expected to make their ring walks around 10 p.m. ET.
WBC Flyweight titlist, Julio Cesar Martinez — a fixture on Canelo’s shows — defends his belt against Ronal Batista in the co-main event. Other main card action includes Super Lightweight prospect Stevie Spark’s battle with upset artist Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela and former Light Heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk’s return to the big leagues opposite Ricards Bolotniks.
Canelo’s got his sights set on a rematch with recent conqueror, Dmitry Bivol, but does “The Gorilla” have what it takes to ruin his plans with an improbable upset?
Let’s dig in and find out ...
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez
Record: 58-2-2 (39 KO)
Last Five Fights: Gennadiy Golovkin (UD), Dmitry Bivol (UD Loss), Caleb Plant (TKO-11), Billy Joe Saunders (RTD-8), Avni Yildirim (TKO-3)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout
John “The Gorilla” Ryder
Record: 32-5 (18 KO)
Last Five Fights: Zach Parker (RTD-4), Daniel Jacobs (SD), Jozef Jurko (TKO-5), Mike Guy (UD), Callum Smith (UD Loss)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Bilal Akkawy, Andrey Sirotkin
On one level, I’m glad this fight is happening. Ryder — red-hot on the heels of four consecutive knockout wins — decisively beat then-WBA champion Callum Smith in 2019 before running afoul of quintessentially British judging. Smith went on to battle Canelo the following year, leaving Ryder to pick up the pieces.
“The Gorilla” initially struggled to cobble together any momentum. Indeed, his win over Mike Guy was an unwatchable mess, his stoppage of journeyman Jozef Jurko did nothing to advance his career, and potential clashes with champions David Morrell Jr. and Dmitry Bivol never got off the ground. Then his sails slowly found the wind again, starting with his narrow split decision over Daniel Jacobs that set up an interim title fight against Zach Parker.
Ryder entered his clash with the younger, bigger, unbeaten Parker as an underdog, only to walk away with the win and the belt after Parker injured his hand.
It should have been Ryder against Canelo in Dec. 2020, and part of me appreciates the way Ryder ping-ponged his way into a position to right that wrong. On the other hand, this just isn’t a compelling match up, especially when monsters like Morrell and David Benavidez are waiting in the wings.
Ryder’s close-quarters bruising was a perfect foil for Smith. “Mundo” is 6’3” hardware running 5’10” software, unable to keep a dedicated swarmer like Ryder at bay even with six-inch height and reach advantages. There’s no such fortuitous style clash against a superior in-fighter in Canelo; unless you’re a Golovkin-tier slugger, you can’t hit him head-on and expect to come out on top.
Power, speed and technique are all on Canelo’s side. Ryder has a bit of height, a bit of reach, and not a whole lot else unless you count a willingness to make the fight ugly. Even if you subscribe to the plausible theory that Canelo’s punishing schedule and physical style kicked off a chronologically premature decline, Ryder just has so little to offer. He’s going to go right into Canelo’s wheelhouse, give it everything he’s got, and get his butt kicked.
Prediction: Alvarez def. Ryder via tenth round technical knockout
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