John Ryder survived a fifth-round knockdown to lose wide on points to Canelo Alvarez at the Estadio Akron in Jalisco, Guadalajara in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Despite a respectable showing in front of the raucous Mexican crowd, it was the guile and strength of Canelo that proved all too much for Islington’s Ryder who suffered his sixth professional defeat.
The three judges ringside all scored in favour of the Mexican by scores of 118-109 twice and a harsh 120-107 from the third.
Canelo immediately targeted the body of the Briton with the left hook as he looked to secure a marquee finish in front of his adoring home crowd.
The third round saw the Mexican’s first breakthrough as a stinging right hand left Ryder’s face bloodied and bruised.
The Mexican’s accuracy continued to grow as the fight approached the halfway point and a ramrod jab followed by an arrow-like right pinned Ryder back before planting him on the canvas midway through the fifth.
A stoppage looked to be on the cards as anticipation grew around the Estadio Akron but Ryder defiantly dug his heels in and instinctively threw back at the Mexican.
The Brit survived the round but was wobbled again by a right in the sixth as Canelo’s dominance continued to grow into the second half of the fight.
Ryder regrouped and enjoyed a solid showing in the seventh, finding the target often although nothing appeared to seriously trouble the champion.
Another Canelo right hand looked to trouble Ryder in the ninth as his shots continued to have more impact than those of the challenger.
The final three rounds saw an impressive showing from Ryder who refused to budge and appeared the busier with the right hand but again Canelo continued to hold his feet, applying constant pressure on the London man.
Ryder no doubt exceeded many expectations but there was little doubt that the belts would be leaving Mexico upon the sounding of the final bell.
Both men embraced post-fight before Canelo’s attention turned to a rematch with light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol following the Russian’s victory in Las Vegas last year.
Ryder meanwhile returns to London disappointed with the result but surely not his performance which affirmed his ability to compete at world level.
The fight was the 34-year-old’s second shot at world honours following his controversial defeat to Callum Smith for the WBA super-middleweight crown in 2019.
The undercard saw Mexico’s Julio Cesar Martinez successfully defended his WBC flyweight crown with an eleventh-round stoppage of Ronal Batista in the chief support.
Martinez floored the Panamanian in the seventh though the knockdown was initially ruled a slip by the referee.
Instant replay however revealed that the knockdown was legit and so it was retrospectively awarded as Martinez made the seventh defence of his title.
Potential fights with WBO champion Jesse Rodriguez and IBF champion Sunny Edwards, both of whom are also promoted by Hearn and Matchroom, lie in wait for later in the year.
Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela floored Australia’s Steve Spark with a sixth-round body shot before running out a controversial split-decision winner on the scorecards.
Two of the ringside judges awarded for the Mexican with scores of 96-93 and 95-94 while the third ruled for Spark (94-95).
Ukraine light-heavyweight and former world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk also halted Latvia’s Ricards Bolotniks with a seventh-round stoppage.
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