We knew it was coming and now it’s here. Matchroom Boxing has officially announced that Canelo Alvarez will defend his undisputed super middleweight title against John Ryder on May 6th at Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico’s Estadio Akron. This marks Alvarez’s (58-2-2, 29 KO) first appearance in his native Jalisco since stopping Ryan Rhodes in 2011 and his first time in Mexico since Kermit Cintron in Mexico City five months later.
The press release says it will air on “DAZN and DAZN PPV” in the USA and Canada. I’m guessing that means “respectively.”
This is a fight that should have happened in 2020 after “The Gorilla’s” (32-5, 18 KO) impressive performance against then-WBA champion Callum Smith, but some questionable judging left Ryder empty-handed and allowed Alvarez to claim his first super middleweight belts at “Mundo’s” expense.
Alvarez went on to dispatch Avni Yildirim, Billy Joe Saunders, and Caleb Plant to complete his collection, which he defended last September against old rival Gennadiy Golovkin after an unsuccessful bid for Dmitry Bivol’s light heavyweight crown.
Ryder, meanwhile, puttered along with meh wins over Mike Guy and Jozef Jurko before edging out Daniel Jacobs to reignite his career. Though proposed matchups with Bivol and Jaime Munguia never got off the ground, he did find his way into an interim WBO title fight against Zach Parker, who broke his hand after four.
As Scott said, Ryder’s exactly the sort of comeback opponent Alvarez was looking for, credible but not overly dangerous while still fulfilling his duties as undisputed champion. It is, however, nice to see Ryder finally get the opportunity that was arguably stolen from him a few years back.
We can expect Canelo to angle for a rematch with Bivol later this year if the latter’s Artur Beterbiev unification, which seems to be on shaky ground, falls through.
“I feel really happy to be coming back in May because following my surgery, I was unsure of when I’d be coming back,” said Canelo. “Returning to the ring and coming back to fight in Jalisco, where I’m from, makes me especially happy. And in John Ryder, I’m facing a very competitive fighter.”
“There’s no denying that Canelo is one of the greats and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s achieved in the sport but I fully believe this is my time fulfil my dream of becoming a World champion,” said Ryder.
“I’m not going over there for a holiday. For me this is purely business and my full focus is on going into his backyard in Guadalajara on May 6 and bringing those belts back with me to the UK. I want to thank the team, Tony and Charlie Sims and Matchroom Boxing for making this happen.”