Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fights are always a major occasion but this weekend could provide a truly special spectacle. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
The Mexican has dominated the boxing landscape in recent years. He has seen and done everything the sport has to offer. But this weekend he gets to experience something a bit different. Performing in the centre of enormous stadiums has become second nature to Alvarez. But for the first time since 2011 the multi-weight world champion takes his show home to Mexico. 48,000 fans will pack the Estadio Akron in Zapopan to watch Canelo defend his undisputed super middleweight title against John Ryder.
Ryder will be getting a determined version of Canelo
If the fight was taking place anywhere other than Guadalajara the vague possibility of Canelo (58-2-2 39 KO’s) underestimating the Londoner would be a perfectly legitimate topic of conversation. But the frantic support the Mexican folk hero is certain to enjoy eliminates any possibility of that. Ryder will be getting a fiercely determined version of Canelo. The whole atmosphere may just provoke him into being more aggressive than usual.
Canelo – now 32 – had trouble with southpaw mover Erislandy Lara earlier in his career but calmly went about his business and tracked down Billy Joe Saunders before stopping the British fighter in nine rounds two years ago. He also destroyed the wild, heavy handed James Kirkland inside three rounds back in 2015.
It doesn’t take much for fighters to be written off these days. Some fans have begun to question whether Canelo is the same force these days. He was outboxed by Dmitry Bivol in their light heavyweight bout last May and wouldn’t – or couldn’t – up the tempo as a vulnerable looking Gennady Golovkin sauntered towards the finish line in their third and final meeting last September. It should be acknowledged that Golovkin has a fearsome reputation and Canelo may have been sensible not to take any unnecessary risks.
Canelo’s greatest strength may well be his patience
Canelo has become one of the most well-rounded fighters around. But although his punch picking, variety and phenomenal chin are all outstanding qualities, his greatest strength may well be his patience. The odds of 1/16 in his favour show just how heavily favoured he is to beat Ryder.
Ryder (32-5, 18 KO’s) deserves his shot at the undisputed super middleweight title. He followed his career best victory over Daniel Jacobs by winning the interim version of the WBO belt with an impressive beating of the undefeated Zach Parker in November. Ryder is a very good box fighter and will hope to apply clever pressure. ‘The Gorilla’ hits harder than his record suggests. But it would be a stunning result if he were to stop or even seriously hurt Canelo. Ryder, 34, will have to do this the hard way, closing the distance and looking to land clever counters in a high contact fight.
Ryder will be in the shape of his life and more motivated than ever. But he doesn’t have the level of movement that bought Saunders time and space and he doesn’t have the frightening power of Golovkin. He has come undone at British title level three times (to Billy Joe Saunders, Nick Blackwell and Rocky Fielding). Although he put in an outstanding display in his only other world title fight, he still lost a way too wide unanimous decision to Callum Smith in 2019. If everything were to come good on the biggest stage of all, it would be arguably the greatest ever result by a British fighter. Ryder is available on 32Red at 9/1.
It is hard to picture it happening.
Both fighters are at their best at super middleweight
For once in a big fight, weight isn’t a factor. Both fighters are at their best at super middleweight. The 168lb limit won’t be easy to make but we will get the best version of each man.
Ryder won’t be embarrassed and will make sure that Canelo has to earn his victory. He is a calm, level-headed fighter; it would be a surprise if he crumbled under the pressure of the occasion. Although it is impossible to predict how somebody will react to 48,000 hostile, screaming fans.
Canelo has been campaigning at the highest level of the sport for years. He may not be quite the fighter he was three years ago, but he’s still one of the leading fighters on the planet. The over under on the number of rounds the fight will last is 19/20 but Canelo has a habit of getting to fighters who aren’t quite world class reasonably quickly. Roared on by a wild crowd, the pick is for Canelo to win in round 7 or 8, priced at 18/5 on 32Red.