By Sean Jones: WBO interim super middleweight champion John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder believes he’s catching undisputed champ Canelo Alvarez at the right time in his career, with him coming off a bad 2022.
Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) says negotiations with Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) are progressing for a potential fight in May at the 60,000+ Emirates Stadium [AKA Arsenal Stadium] in London, England.
For Ryder, it would be a dream come true for him to challenge the four-belt 168-lb champion Canelo in the massive Emirates Stadium in front of a vast crowd of his British boxing fans in May to pull off an upset against the struggling Mexican star possibly.
Canelo, 32, looked awful last year, losing to Dmitry Bivol in May and then squeaking out a close 12 round unanimous decision against the badly faded 40-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin last September.
It was lucky for Canelo that Golovkin fought passively in the first six rounds because he would have won that fight if he’d fought with a sense of urgency as he’d done in the first two fights.
U.S boxing fans aren’t pleased that Canelo is planning to fight the little-known Ryder because they want to see him face one of ‘The Big Three’ at super middleweight in May:
- David Benavidez
- David Morrell
- Caleb Plant
That’s not to take anything away from Ryder because he’s a fine contender, but he’s not in the same league as Benavidez, Plant, or Morrell. Those guys would be like a team of T-Rex dinosaurs at feeding time if Ryder entered the squared circle against them.
“They’re in talks. The last I heard, they were looking for a site for the fight. That’s progression, in my eyes. Fingers crossed, we can get something sorted down the line in the next couple of weeks,” said John Ryder to Matchroom Boxing when asked about negotiations with Canelo Alvarez for a fight in May.
“If that’s at the Emirates, that’s a dream come true, but I think the Emirates is really the place, or Vegas or Mexico for Cinco de Mayo weekend would be better. I’ll go with what they tell me,” said Ryder.
Canelo’s promoter Eddie Hearn would like for him to fight in London for the Ryder fight to broaden his fanbase overseas, as well as to draw a huge crowd.
There’s no chance that a fight between Canelo and Ryder would attract a crowd of 60,000 if it took place in the U.S. For Canelo to bring in a considerable audience that size in America, he would need to fight Benavidez (26-o, 23 KOs), and he’s shown no desire to do that.
“It’s what dreams are made of, really,” said Ryder about potentially getting the fight with mega-star Canelo next. “I’ve had my ups and downs in the sport and my bits of disappointment.
“I think in the whole grand scheme of things, it’s all led to now for a reason. What a better fighter to be in front of me.
“Yeah, he’s had a couple of years where he’s been so very active. I don’t know if that’s burned him out a bit,” said Ryder about Canelo coming off of two less-than-impressive performances in 2022 against Dmitry Bivol and Gennadiy Golovkin.
“Last year, he lost to Bivol, which is no disgrace. I’d say a lackluster performance against Golovkin. Listen, who knows how bad it was, but he is coming off potentially his worst year in his career, and I’m coming off my best,” Ryder said about Canelo. It’s a great time for me to get him, for sure.
“I’ve been looking at the stars at night, and they’re aligned, and I know now this is the time. I’ve earned my shot. This has not been handed to me. I’ve done it the hard way. I’ve built myself up again and again and again, and I got in this position to take on the best in the division,” said Ryder.