Mike CoppingerESPN2 minutes to read
GUADALAGARA, Mexico — Against the backdrop of over 51,000 excited fans waiting nearly 12 years for their champion to return, Canelo Alvarez retained his undisputed middleweight championship with a unanimous decision victory over John Ryder of England on Saturday at Akron Arena.
Canelo, the number one boxing star, beat and bloodied Ryder and knocked him down in the fifth round but could not put the challenger down. Alvarez settled for winning the points by scores of 120-107, 118-109 and 118-109. The 32-year-old fired right-handed shots down the stretch, but Ryder, whose nose bled profusely through most of the fight, showed tremendous courage to hear the final buzzer.
Alvarez has not fought in Mexico since his November 2011 victory over Kermit Sintron in Mexico City.
“It’s a historic moment for me,” said Canelo, ESPN’s No. 5 boxer. “I am happy to be here with my people who have supported me from the beginning. I am so grateful to be here and so thankful to my people.” He’s a very strong fighter, man. And when he goes all in, they turn him on. [The opponents] Harder than usual, but I knew it. I’ve been in this position for a long time…and I respect my opponents because I know they’re coming for it all.”
The fight was Canelo’s first since he underwent surgery on his left wrist in October. Alvarez said he has gotten over the pain in his previous three fights (the most recent being a decision victory over Gennady Golovkin in September to seal their hat-trick) and that it hurts even to wear gloves in the locker room.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) plans to fight again on September 16 (he routinely makes headlines on Cinco De Mayo Weekend and weekend in Mexico) and there’s only one match he has in mind: a rematch with light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol.
When they met last May, Russia’s Bivol (21-0, 11 knockouts) scored an upset to give Canelo his second career defeat in defeat. That was Alvarez’s second fight at 175 pounds, after which he returned to defend his four titles at 168 pounds.
ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer Canelo said on Thursday he’s only interested in a rematch that takes place at 175 pounds, while Bivol told ESPN he’d only accept a rematch for Alvarez’s undisputed championship at 168.
“I want the same conditions, the same everything as the last fight,” said Canelo. “…I think I’m better than him – that’s it. If I see the first five rounds, six rounds, I’ve dominated the fight. But after that I get tired, of course, because I’m not training at 100%.”
Eddie Hearn, who promotes Alvarez and Bevol, told ESPN Thursday that he will begin negotiations for a rematch next week.
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