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John Ryder lists Saunders as Plan-B option if no Canelo Alvarez

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Dan Ambrose: John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder is using the shotgun approach to making sure he gets a big fight by targeting SIX different guys for his next contest. First off, Canelo Alvarez is Ryder’s Plan-A opponent and the one that he wants most of all. Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs).

If Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs) can’t get the fight with Alvarez, then his Plan-B option is WBO super middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders.

Ryders-Saunders would be the loser’s bracket in terms of fighters that tried and failed to land the much-desired fight against ‘The Face of Boxing’ Canelo. In September 2013, Ryder lost a razor-thin 12 round unanimous decision to Saunders in London, England. The scores were 115-114, 115-113, and 115-113.

The Gorilla Ryder wants Saunders rematch

Ryder has wanted a rematch all these years with Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs), but it just hasn’t materialized for him. ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder probably would have gotten the rematch if he didn’t get beaten by Nick Blackwell, Rocky Fielding, Jack Arnfield, and Callum Smith.

Until Ryder’s controversial 12 round decision loss to Callum Smith last November, he’d won four fights in a row and looking good. The judges went with Callum in giving him a decision over Ryder. Callum’s bigger shots impressed the judges more than the pitty-pat punches that Ryder was landing.

Those defeats by Ryder put him in the domestic level category, and that’s not the type of fighter that Saunders has been interested in facing.

Saunders has been trying to get Canelo and Gennadiy Golovkin to face him, but with no luck. What’s undermined Saunder’s case for getting those two stars is the fact that he’s been facing a lot of mediocre contenders since winning a close 12 round majority decision over Andy Lee in 2014.

Ryder’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, has already spoken to Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions to let them know about his interest in Alvarez’s September 12 fight. Saunders was in the running for the Canelo fight, but he pulled out after Golden Boy reduced the offer they made to him.

Ryder with a lot of targets

“I want to right all these wrongs,” Ryder said to skysports.com. “The Billy Joe fight was close. I believe I nicked it. He believes he nicked it.

“We get on well and the rematch didn’t materialize with rival promoters, but now we’re under the same promotional banner, these fights will be easy to make.

“Ideally get the rematch with Billy Joe or Callum Smith, the likes of [David] Benavidez and [Caleb] Plant. I just want the best fights out there,” said Ryder.

It’s difficult to know for sure whether Ryder will get the Canelo fight. What Ryder has in his favor is he’s reportedly willing to be reasonable in his purse request. Golden Boy wants a cheap opponent, and Ryder would seem to be the perfect option for them to achieve that goal.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Saunders is going to need someone to fight, and Ryder would be the right choice. However, Saunders wants a big money fight, and he’s been talking about wanting to face Callum Smith. Saunders could fight almost anyone and make the same kind of money he’d get against Ryder, and he wouldn’t need to worry about being potentially outworked like last time they fought.

It’s bad timing for Ryder

If Ryder doesn’t get Canelo or Saunders, then he can go after Callum Smith in a rematch. However, Callum barely squeaked by with a decision last November, and he may elect to play it safe by going in another direction.

Benavidez, Caleb Plant, and Daniel Jacobs would be good options as well for Ryder. He’d prefer to fight for a world title against Benavidez or Plant rather than contender Jacobs.

It’s terrible timing for Ryder to be looking to get a fight against Canelo because he’s coming off of a loss to Smith. That hurts his chances of getting the match. It would be difficult for Golden Boy to market a fight between Canelo and the recently beaten Ryder.


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