Canelo Alvarez may not have given his fans the explosive knockout they were hoping for, but he still managed to take a step forward in his boxing career.
In his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, Alvarez faced off against John Ryder in a fight that ended with a unanimous decision victory for the champion. The official scores were 120-107, 118-109, and 118-109, with Boxing Junkie scoring it 117-110 for Alvarez.
Alvarez, who is the undisputed 168-pound champion, acknowledged the added pressure he felt fighting in his hometown for the first time since 2011. He also had to overcome an injury to his left wrist, which required surgery late last year. Despite these challenges, Alvarez was determined to put on a show for the 50,000 fans in attendance at Estadio Akron.
From the opening bell, Alvarez began pressuring Ryder, relentlessly pounding him to the body with his left and to the head with his right. Ryder tried to match Alvarez's output and avoid any big bombs, but he was eventually put down by the champion in round 5. Ryder managed to survive the count and gutted out the rest of the round, demonstrating that he had no intention of quitting.
Despite some decent rounds from Ryder, Alvarez continued to dominate the fight. He rocked Ryder with a right hand to the head in round 9, and the referee considered stopping the fight. But once again, Ryder managed to survive and continue fighting back with stunning determination.
Although Alvarez tried to finish the job in the 12th and final round, he couldn't put Ryder away. Nevertheless, Alvarez was happy with his performance and ecstatic that he could perform in front of his devoted fans.
“This was a historic moment for me,” he said. “I’m blessed to be here with my people. Like I always said, the people who have supported me from the beginning. I’m glad to be here. I’m very thankful to my people.”
Looking ahead, Alvarez is only two fights removed from one of the most disappointing nights of his career, a unanimous decision loss to Dmitry Bivol in May of last year. He has made it clear that he wants the opportunity to avenge the setback in September, but he and the Russian star will have to work out some details. Alvarez wants to fight again at 175 pounds so he can reverse the earlier outcome, while Bivol wants to move down in weight and fight for the undisputed 168-pound championship.
Despite the uncertainty, Alvarez remains confident in his abilities and is happy to fight anyone under the same rules and terms. His determination to continue improving and challenging himself is a testament to his greatness as a boxer.