Home Boxing News John Ryder is playing for all the marbles – and he says...

John Ryder is playing for all the marbles – and he says he is ready for it

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and John 'The Gorilla' Ryder. Photo credit: Melina Pizano

John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder 32-5 (18) insists he will not be overawed when he challenges unsidputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 58-2-2 (39) at Estadio Akron in Zapopan, Jalisco in Mexico on Saturday night.

The 34-year-old British southpaw will face a hostile reception from local fans who have not seen Mexican superstar Alvarez, 32, fight on home soil in almost a dozen years.

But Ryder says he won’t be daunted and is up for the task.

“Every night I lay there, sit there, visualise it – speaking it into existence,” Ryder told BBC Sport. “It would be an amazing feeling. Especially being in his home town on such a prestigious event.

“This is perfect timing for me. I feel like I’m mature in myself. My boxing ability is probably the best it’s ever been.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn is expecting a large and vocal crowd in support of Alvarez. That will be something that Ryder will have to learn adjust to and block out early in the fight.

“I think, and I’ve said it before, I think you may see one of the best atmospheres you’ve ever seen in boxing,” Hearn said on Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel on Tuesday.

“I mean, Dallas Cowboys, 74,000, Billy Joe Saunders, that’s gonna be tough to break. But this is different. This is home. This is his people. And the atmosphere they will create on Saturday night will be one of the most special you’ve ever seen in boxing.”

Some fans may see the five losses on Ryder’s ledger and think he will be out of his depth, but a closer look at his victories and recent form tell a different story, with back-to-back wins over former world champion Daniel Jacobs and contender Zach Parker.

“I do think it’s misleading,” said Ryder, who has been stopped just once in his career. “A lot of the British fans see the work I’ve done but other fans are not looking at these and watching them, they’re just seeing the results.

“I get it but that’s why I’ve got to win their hearts and show them what I’m all about.”

In fact, it was his competitive loss to then-WBA champion Callum Smith in 2019 that really boosted his credentials.

“In hindsight, it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me,” Ryder said.

“If I had won that night my career probably would have been over by now. For me it extended my career.

“I’m here now for all of the marbles. That was only for one belt. I’m here now for all four belts and to become undisputed.”

It will be a night to remember, according to Hearn.

“It will be super special on Saturday night,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said. “It will be an occasion that, you know, this country will never forget.”