Canelo Álvarez made a victorious return to Mexican soil after an 12-year absence on Saturday night, winning a wide decision over a bloodied but unbowed John Ryder to successfully defend his WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF titles at 168lbs before a rollicking hometown crowd.
The 32-year-old four-division champion from Guadalajara busted Ryder’s nose in the third round, scored a heavy knockdown in the fifth and poured on the punishment in the later stages as the gulf in skill and class between the super middleweights became painfully evident. The durable Londoner refused to quit and conjured his best moments in the final stretch but was left to settle for an ennobling defeat after finishing the bout on his feet before more than 50,000 rollicking spectators at the Estadio Akron.
One of the ringside judges was harsh to score it a 120-107 shutout while the other two handed down cards of 118-109. (The Guardian had it 117-110.)
Ryder, the 34-year-old Islington southpaw nicknamed the Gorilla, fought gamely from start to finish and showed his best against the fatigued champion in the final rounds, an almost unthinkable outcome during the fifth when he was badly hurt and nearly counted out.
“It’s a historic moment for me,” Álvarez said afterward in English. “I’m blessed to be here with my people who have supported me from the beginning. I’m glad to be here and thankful (to be here) with my people.”
More to follow.