Undisputed: “Canelo” goes up against a “Gorilla” in Guadalajara
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (58-2-2, 39KO) defends his Undisputed super-middleweight crown to Briton John “The Gorilla” Ryder (32-5, 18KO) on May 6 – the famed Cinco de Mayo weekend – at the Akron Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico, live on DAZN.
This fight will not only serve as Canelo’s second undisputed defence but also as a homecoming for the local hero having last fought in Mexico in 2011 – over 11 years ago. The pound-for-pound superstar will be back home after well over a decade away and will be performing in front of a 48,000 capacity crowd in the home of footballing side C.D. Guadalajara, so this is going to be one of the biggest and most important events of his 18-year career.
His 63rd opponent is well known to British fight fans, and will also be familiar across the Atlantic too, having fought and won in America twice recently. The first time was Cinco de Mayo in 2019, where he spectacularly blasted unbeaten Aussie Bilal Akkawy away in three rounds to win the WBA Interim super-middleweight title on the Canelo vs Daniel Jacobs undercard. Then he fought on a Golovkin undercard in Florida in 2020, outpointing Cali combatant Mike Guy widely over 10-rounds. It was that fight that kickstarted his current four-fight win streak to take him into this 38th bout of his career.
34-year-old Ryder is a technically brilliant, pressure fighter that likes to box in close range using compact hooks while rolling under and dipping away fluidly. He is one of the best when it comes to fighting on the inside.
Against Callum Smith in 2019, the southpaw was aggressive and positive, taking the fight to the rangy world champion and sitting on his chest for the entire 12 rounds, which produced a career-best performance from him, but he was very unfortunate to be denied by blatantly biased hometown scorecards. The Londoner outlanded the Liverpudlian in eight of the 12 rounds, but one judge scored it 117-111 to Smith, which just shows the unfairness from ringside. To be given three rounds only after being busy and more accurate in eight rounds highlights the poor officiating that night.
Exactly three years later and it was Ryder on the other end of the partial scoring when he was given a split decision win against American Daniel Jacobs in his home city of London. The “Miracle Man” dominated the first half of the fight as Ryder struggled to get into his rhythm, who came back strongly, but Jacobs should have been given the nod.
Canelo is a hard-hitting counter-puncher who is a good all-rounder, able to fight in a variety of ways.
Two of Ryder’s recent foes have also shared the ring with Canelo and could provide some insight into how this next contest could play out.
When Canelo fought Jacobs in 2019, it was the Mexican that dominated the first half of the contest, who didn’t really start to get any success until the last quarter of the contest. Canelo won via UD but two judges only scored it two rounds apart. Canelo and Ryder both had close contests with Jacobs but Canelo was leading his fight while Ryder wasn’t.
Both Ryder and Canelo dominated Callum Smith in their separate fights, but Canelo’s was very one-sided whereas Ryder’s was a lot closer.
The pair also share Billy Joe Saunders as an opponent, who Canelo knocked out in eight rounds and Ryder narrowly lost on points to way back in 2013. Up until Saunders lost to Canelo, Ryder had been his toughest test to date.
Canelo has experienced a lot of different styles and is so good at adapting to what’s in front of him. However, he has struggled in previous fights with Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Gennaddiy Golovkin and Dmitry Bivol, all of whom have one attribute in common – excellent jabs.
Bivol using his straight shots and keeping Canelo away for 12 rounds is how he caused one of the biggest upsets of last year. Ryder doesn’t really have a jab, so this is one weakness of his opponent he likely won’t be able to exploit.
Instead of a jab, Ryder often reaches in from range to get close by throwing a feint up top followed by a body shot. Lunging in like this against a counter-puncher could be risky.
Canelo is the favourite to win at 1/12 with Betway, while Ryder is being given very little chance as a 13/2 outsider. Odds for a draw are quite high at 22/1, as it’s not a result to be expected.
As good as Ryder is, he doesn’t have the power to knock Canelo out. If the pair trade on the inside then I think it could be very nip and tuck but eventually the superiority and heavier hands of Canelo will eventually break Ryder down.
Ryder can only fight one way in this contest and that is to get up close on the inside where he can produce his best work. He could have success with his attacks when he steps in from out of range, which he does often, where he dips down low and steps in with shots to the body, then he needs to clinch. However, in doing this, Canelo is likely to predict the patterns and begin to land big counters, such as the successful uppercut, like he did against Billy Joe Saunders, another southpaw.
Verdict: Canelo to win via late KO.