By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez returned home on Saturday night. In front of a massive Guadalajara audience, the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world defended his crown in the city of his birth and upbringing. Canelo’s opponent was the 32-5 Londoner John Ryder. The night, however, belonged to the 58-2-2 hometown hero.
Looking lean and confident, the defending champion kept a high guard and kept Ryder form landing effectively in the first. Canelo also tapped a bit to the midsection with his famed body shots during the opening chapter. The defending champion continued to work the body in the second. Ryder, for his part, focused on finding openings. A Canelo shot early in the third led to blood flowing from the nose of Ryder. The Englishman was game, but didn’t appear strong enough to hurt his man.
With that being said, Ryder had a better fourth. He was active and employed good foot movement. A beautiful straight right put Ryder down in the fifth. His face a bloody mess, the challenger managed to beat the count. To his credit, Ryder then fired away aggressively at the powerful Canelo. Tellingly, Canelo didn’t bother taking to his stool in between rounds.
Ryder fought aggressively in the sixth, but his punches appeared to have no effect. Still, the man was able to land clean shots on Canelo. Ryder was, however, VERY beaten up – and Canelo was landing clean shots on him. Ryder fought ferociously in the seventh, but his equilibrium seemed off. Perhaps he had suffered a concussion.
It was clear in the eighth that Canelo was going for the knockout. Every punch was loaded with bad intentions. It looked, however, like Ryder would have to be temporarily removed from his consciousness if the fight was to be stopped early. True, Ryder hit the canvas again at the end of the round, but that was merely a slip.
Canelo beat Ryder into having wobbly legs in the ninth. The fighter was literally stumbling about, but still throwing punches. What’s more, Ryder survived the round. Ryder then went on and landed some sharp shots in the tenth, which at that point of the fight was extremely impressive. Even while beaten to a pulp, the man was determined to try to win.
Ryder moved well in the eleventh while Canelo decided to be patient with his man. Was Canelo running out of energy or simply picking his shots with more discernment? The twelfth and final round saw a slower Canelo and a still game Ryder trading shots. Had Ryder had more power in his punches, it would have been interesting to see how the fight might have gone.
Regardless, Canelo was rewarded a unanimous decision win after the final bell, courtesy of the judges.
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