Last November, John Ryder was lined up as a challenger for Callum Smith’s WBA super middleweight title in Liverpool. The big underdog, Ryder had a terrific night in the ring, and many felt the 31-year-old southpaw deserved the win.
He didn’t get it, though, as the cards went quite comfortably to the heavily favored, much more aggressively promoted titleholder. (Bad Left Hook had the fight 116-112 for Ryder, for what it’s worth.)
Ryder (28-5, 16 KO) still wants a rematch with the 30-year-old Smith (27-0, 19 KO), but knows he’s not likely to get one soon. With that in mind, he’s also not looking to rest on his laurels, and is willing to go through another name fighter to get a second crack at Callum.
“The fight that I really want is the rematch with Callum, but I know that [Fedor] Chudinov is now in the mandatory position,” Ryder said on Matchroom’s Lockdown Tapes. “In order to get myself back there, why not someone like Danny Jacobs in New York? He’s a great fighter and I want to test myself against the best.”
Jacobs (36-3, 30 KO) is a former titleholder at middleweight who is now testing the waters at 168. He made the jump to the division in December for a rather absurd win over the rather absurd Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, The 33-year-old Jacobs is currently looking toward another tune-up sort of matchup (in his mind, anyway) against Gabriel Rosado, New York doesn’t seem likely to open for boxing business any time soon, either.
But the idea is sound, even admirable. Ryder figures he has to impress to get another shot at Smith, because he still feels he clearly won the fight.
“It took me a couple of weeks to watch it back and when I did,m I still had it to myself by a few rounds, even being ultra favorable to Callum Smith in the close rounds. I still feel that at worst it was a draw,” he said.
“I don’t want to harp on about it and my problem isn’t with Callum or any of his brothers, they’re all lovely people, it’s the judges and the scorecards. It half makes a mockery of the sport. Sometimes you get a dodgy scorecard but I feel that three was a bit wrong.
“Are judges in the best position to score a fight? Should they be behind the scenes watching on a screen so they’re not influenced by the crowd?”
Ryder talked about the game plan he came in with, which proved plenty effective.
“Part of the plan was to build into the fight as we knew he would be dangerous early on so the plan was to take control in the second half. I thought we executed that plan perfectly,” he said. “The first round I hadn’t planned on throwing a shot but they were there so I ended up throwing a couple.”
He also feels that the television commentary was slanted toward Smith, which few not named “Smith” would disagree with if they’re being honest.
“Sometimes you can sense a script with commentary teams who are so pro for the puncher or the champion that even if the fight isn’t going a certain way, the challenger just gets neglected. I think I won, he thinks he won, but the scorecards don’t tell the story of the fight, which was close.”
More likely than anything else, we’ll probably see Ryder on a closed doors Matchroom show in the near future, likely in a tune-up. You can’t fly anyone in anywhere right now, so the opponent would have to be someone domestic.
As for the others, Smith has been trying to land a big fight — he was part of a whole they said, they said deal with Canelo recently — but he, too, will probably have to take a stay busy or not fight at all for the time being. Rosado is a fight that could be done behind closed doors, so that would still seem to be the option for Daniel Jacobs.