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Canelo Alvarez Fails To Put Down John Ryder In Mexican Homecoming

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ZAPOPAN, MEXICO - MAY 06: Canelo Alvarez celebrates after the fight for the Super Middleweight Championship against John Ryder at Akron Stadium on May 06, 2023 in Zapopan, Mexico. Alvarez defeated Ryder by unanimous decision. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Mexican undisputed Super Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez returned to fighting in Mexico after more than a decade of earning his pay in the USA, but the Super Middleweight champion’s first match back in his home region was devoid of the expected knockout or stoppage. Alvarez’ match with John Ryder was held at the Estadio Akron on Saturday, May 6th. The judges painted Canelo Alvarez as the clear winner with their scorecards of 120-107 and 118-109 twice.

John Ryder (32-6, 18 KO’s), 34, proved to be too tough for Canelo Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KO’s), 32, to take down even with the knockdown that he suffered during the match ― and the broken nose that he sustained in the second round of their match. Overall, Canelo Alvarez still showed himself to be a force in the Super Middleweight division but his inability to stop or knockout an opponent that he clearly had an advantage over might have had his performance considered as somewhat of a disappointment.

Though Canelo Alvarez’s power punches were not absent throughout the match, there seemed to be less of a tendency to throw combinations which may be linked to the surgery that he had for his left wrist last year. Throughout most of the rounds, Alvarez looked to be coasting to an easy victory but seemed to be clearly picking his shots rather than letting his hands go as usual.

John Ryder never lacked for effort; even in the rounds where he looked clearly outmatched. More impressively, it was revealed later in the match that Ryder could not breathe properly since he suffered from a broken nose in the second round, and the Brit went on to impressively go on another ten rounds even with his injury. However, that nose injury clearly left John Ryder unable to make much of an impact throughout as his breathing was severely affected.

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ZAPOPAN, MEXICO – MAY 06: Canelo Alvarez of Mexico throws a punch to John Ryder of Great Britain during the fight for the Super Middleweight Championship at Akron Stadium on May 06, 2023 in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

In the fifth round, Canelo Alvarez knocked Ryder down with a hard right, but that moment did not define the rest of the match as John Ryder continued to stand steadfast in the face of Alvarez’ onslaughts while occasionally launching barrages of his own.

The Londoner spurts of energy, which came especially in the latter rounds, seemed to work to his advantage as Canelo Alvarez dealt with a slight sense of fatigue. It was apparent, however, that John Ryder did not have the required explosiveness to truly endanger the Mexican which eventually led to his unanimous decision loss when the last bell rang to signal the end of the match.

Alvarez retained all his Super Middleweight titles as a result of his UD win, making his victory over Ryder the second time he successfully defended his status as the division’s undisputed champion.

The rest of the fight card saw WBC Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (20-2, 15 KO’s) successfully defend his title by stopping Panamanian contender Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KO’s) in the 11th round of their (12-round) match. Mexican Super Lightweight Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela (27-3-1, 16 KO’s) also scored somewhat of an upset narrow split-decision win over Steve Spark (16-3, 14 KO’s) who had previously defeated Montana Love (18-1-1, 9 KO’s) ― who himself had beaten Valenzuela almost exactly a year ago on May 7th.

The card also featured the second match of Oleksandr Gvodzyk (19-1, 15 KO’s) following a nearly four-year absence from the ring following his TKO loss to Artur Beterbiev (19-0 19 KO’s) in 2019. The Ukrainian fought against Latvian contender Ricards Bolotniks (19-7-1, 8 KO’s) ― who had also lost to Joshua Buatsi (17-0, 13 KO’s) two matches prior and coincidentally fought on the same night that day ― and managed to impress with a sixth-round stoppage win.

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ZAPOPAN, MEXICO – MAY 06: Ricards Bolontniks of Latvia and Oleksandr Gvozdyk of Ukraine in action during a light heavyweight fight prior the Super Middleweight Championship bout at Akron Stadium on May 06, 2023 in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

The match counts as Gvodzyk’s most significant ring in years given his last opponent, who he fought in February of this year, had a losing record and was nowhere close to the level of the likes of Bolotniks. Oleksandr Gvodzyk’s victory marks the return of perhaps a new dark horse in the division given the Ukrainian’s brief but dominant stint as the WBC champion of the division.

Gvodzyk’s most notable career win was his KO victory over Adonis Stevenson which forced the Canadian to retire from the sport after sustaining too much brain damage which had left him in a coma. Stevenson has since then made a near full recovery, but his boxing days seem all but over since his last loss.

Despite the completion of his 59th career win, Canelo Alvarez has not escaped his ability from being questioned following his failure to KO an injured John Ryder. In the post-match interview, a broken-nosed John Ryder himself suggested that Alvarez was declining as a fighter.

I still think he’s probably past his best but he still had enough in his tank tonight.” Ryder said.

When asked on why he felt that way, John Ryder offered his own perspective based on his recent in-ring experience with the Mexican champion.

He couldn’t get me outta there. His plan was to stop me; he didn’t.” Ryder stated. “I know I took a great shot in the fifth round but I came back swinging and probably had some good rounds after that.

In his own interview at the post-match press conference, Canelo Alvarez seemed amused once he caught wind of Ryder’s words.

For them, it’s a win not getting knocked out, right?” Alvarez cheekily replied in the post-match presser.

But look, we need to give him his credit. He came here to fight, his preparations were very good and I respect the way he fought.” Alvarez praised.