Big time boxing returns to Mexico this Saturday for the Cinco de Mayo weekend; a weekend synonymous with big time boxing to celebrate the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. And this weekends boxing extravaganza comes in the form of Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez vs John Ryder in Zapopan, Guadalajara; live from The Estadio Akron in front of 50,000 fans for the Undisputed Super-Middleweight World Titles (WBA Super, WBC, IBF, WBO & The Ring Magazine World Titles). Coming live on DAZN PPV Worldwide (Non-PPV for British Customers), May 06th.
It is unclear as to when exactly Boxing became the focal point of Cinco de Mayo weekend, however the first big example came in the form of Julio Cesar Chavez Vs Frankie Randall, (with Julio Cesar Chavez winning by technical decision), in their controversial rematch on May 7, 1994.
From here, we have consistently seen big time boxing land on the Mexican Holiday, with blockbuster fights coming thick and fast. Notable mentions include;
* May 7, 1994 – Julio Cesar Chavez Vs Frankie Randall (WBC Light Welterweight Title)
* May 3, 2003 – Oscar De La Hoya Vs Yori Boy Campas (WBA, WBC & Ring Junior Middleweight Titles)
* May 8, 2004 – Juan Manuel Marquez Vs Manny Pacquiao (IBF & WBA Featherweight Titles)
* May 5, 2007 – Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vs Oscar De La Hoya (WBC Light Middleweight Title)
* May 2, 2009 – Manny Pacquiao vs Ricky Hatton (The Ring Magazine Light-Welterweight Title)
* May 2, 2015 – Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather
Looking at that list, some of the most iconic fights of all time have appeared on Cinco de Mayo weekend, especially the biggest fight of all time in Floyd Mayweather Vs Manny Pacquiao. It really is the fight date of boxing.
And in more recent times, the Mexican great Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez has taken the mantle of fighting on Cinco de Mayo (which he has done five times from 2016). These great fights have included;
* May 7, 2016 – Amir Khan (WBC/Ring Magazine Light Middleweight Titles)
* May 6, 2017 – Julio César Chávez Jr.
* May 4, 2019 – Daniel Jacobs (WBA Super, WBC, IBF & Ring Magazine Middleware Titles)
* May 8, 2021 – Billy Joe Saunders (WBA Super, WBC, WBO & The Ring Magazine Middleweight World Titles)
* May 7, 2022 – Dmitry Bivol (WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title)
And these fights have just been Cinco de Mayo, and don’t include further incredible fights throughout the years (including the trilogy with GGG and fights with Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev and Caleb Plant to name a few).
It goes to show the sheer phenomenon that Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez has become in the world of boxing. He is the face of the sport and his reach is not just to Mexico, but the whole world. He is a superstar of sport.
Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez has fought the best of the best. Consistently. And he really has fought the best of the best in the form of Floyd Mayweather back in September 2013 (at the tender age of just 23). Alongside Dmitry Bivol, this is one of two defeats in his career. And although he can’t amend this defeat against Floyd Mayweather any time soon, he will be vying for revenge against Dmitry Bivol who handed him his second professional defeat at Light-Heavyweight back in May 2022. However, to get that opportunity again, he must face off against John Ryder on Saturday night.
John Ryders ascent to the pinnacle of boxing has been one of a humbling yet admirable journey. After hitting 15-0 between turning professional in 2010 up until a stoppage victory in 2013 over Yoann Bloyer, Ryder hit his first stumbling block in September 2013 with his first defeat coming in the form of a Points Decision against future two-weight WBO World Champion, Billy Joe Saunders (for the British & Commonwealth Middleweight Titles).
The British Title eluded John Ryder a further two times after the Billy Joe Saunders defeat, with defeats coming in the form of Nick Blackwell by KO in May 2015 (British Middleweight Title) and a Split Decision defeat to Rocky Fielding in April 2017 (British Super-Middleweight Title). In between these fights, a defeat to Jack Arnfield in September 2016 also added to onto the record.
At this point all hope of a World Title shot may have seemed doomed for John Ryder. To not win a British Title at this point could only mean that a World Title was light years away. However, persistence, hard work and dedication to the sport saw John Ryder dust off the Rocky Fielding defeat and go unbeaten from October 2017 to May 2019 defeating Patrick Nielsen, Jamie Cox, Andrey Sirotkin and Bilal Akkawy. These victories led Ryder to that World Title shot against Callum Smith in November 2019 for the WBA Super & Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight World Titles.
Many believe that John Ryder won that fight against Callum Smith in November 2019. Many believe that he should have been crowned the WBA Super World Champion at Super-Middleweight that night, but the decision went in favour of Callum Smith. In my honest opinion, the World Titles should have changed hands that night.
And after dusting himself off after this contentious defeat, John Ryder has set about getting himself this opportunity at Super Middleweight with victories over Mike Guy, Jozef Jurko, Daniel Jacobs and Zach Parker (where Ryder picked up the WBO Interim Super-Middleweight World Title).
Although worlds apart from their rise to the pinnacle of their weight classes, the one value that both Saúl Canelo Álvarez and John Ryder have in common is dedication. This has seen Canelo rise to the very summit of boxing, and John Ryder attempt to get there. All of the belts are on the line including WBA Super, IBF, WBO, WBC & The Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight World Titles.
It’s very difficult to look past a Canelo victory on Saturday night. The sheer experience, power and Ring IQ gives me great optimism of a stoppage victory in favour of the Mexican.
After the disappointment of losing to Dmitry Bivol and the Points Decision victory over GGG last time out, I feel that Canelo will have a point to prove in this fight, and will aim for a stoppage victory.
However, John Ryder arguable defeated Callum Smith, who did go the distance with Canelo. This is all swings and roundabouts in the build up to fight night, but is John Ryder durable enough to withstand the strong Mexican for 12 Rounds on Saturday? Only time will tell.
If I were to be pushed for a prediction, I believe Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez stops John Ryder between Rounds 1-6, and more specifically Rounds 4-6. It will be interesting to see just how long the fight lasts on Saturday night.
Three main fights stand out on the undercard of Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez Vs John Ryder, including;
* Cesar ‘El Rey’ Martinez Vs Ronal Batista (WBC Flyweight World Title)
* Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela Vs Steve Spark (WBA Inter-Continental Super Lightweight Title)
* Oleksandr Gvozdyk Vs Ričards Bolotņiks (Light Heavyweight)
Out of the three above, I am extremely excited to see how Oleksandr Gvozdyk performs against Ričards Bolotņiks. Gvozdyk is a former WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion, and the Ukrainian was tipped for the summit until Artur Beterbiev stopped him back in October 2019. With one victory under his belt after returning to the ring in February 2023, it will be interesting to see how he performs on Saturday night in a tough Light Heavyweight contest.
It doesn’t get much bigger than a Canelo fight night. Catch the action live on DAZN PPV across the World (Non PPV in the UK).
* Date: Saturday, May 6
* Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT / 12:00 a.m. BST (Sunday)
* Main event ringwalks (approx): 11:00 p.m. EDT / 4:00 a.m. BST (Sunday)
The main card is set to get underway at 5 p.m. ET local time in Guadalajara, which is 7 p.m. EDT / 12 a.m. BST / 1 a.m. CET, with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. BST / 5 a.m. CET.
By: Greg Cooke / @GC___123