Debate Continues As Critics Hoot At Canelo Foe Choice
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has received criticism for the caliber of his next opponent, with many critics not accepting the fact that John Ryder is a mandatory challenger.
The undisputed super middleweight world champion will defend his title against England’s Ryder in the main event of a May 6 DAZN Pay-Per-View event from Estadio Akron in Alvarez’s home state of Jalisco, Mexico.
It will mark the first time the four-division titlist will box in his native homeland since his fifth-round TKO of Kermit Cintron in November 2011.
Some in the industry, however, are still jaded by the matchup. Among those is the superstar’s ex-promoter.
Hall of Fame former six-division titleholder Oscar De La Hoya provided his thoughts while attending a charitable event in Duarte, California, ahead of the Zurdo Ramirez-Gabriel Rosado 12-round light heavyweight bout in Long Beach.
“I think it’s great that Canelo Alvarez is going back to his roots,” De La Hoya told Fight Hub. “He’s going back to his hometown. I think it’s a special thing. We at Golden Boy were the last promoter to promote him in his hometown, I believe, 12 years ago.
“It makes me happy that he’s doing that for his people in Guadalajara. In terms of his opposition, I’m not sure in what direction he wants to go. It seems like he’s regressing inside the ring. He’s regressing in picking these opponents. He’s fighting all these British fighters that does nothing (for) his legacy.”
The comments were viewed by some as hypocritical as Alvarez has fought seven British fighters, five of which were in events promoted by De La Hoya himself.
De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions worked with Alvarez from January 2010 through November 2020. Their relationship, which had been souring for about five years, finally took a turn for the worse during the COVID-19 pandemic that left many big-name stars on the shelf, including Alvarez.
He subsequently sued Golden Boy, De La Hoya, and broadcast partner DAZN in United States federal court for the Central District of California. Canelo sought damages of at least $280 million, including breach of contract, intentional interference with a contract, negligent interference with a contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty related to the five-year, 11-fight deal worth a then-athlete record $365 million Alvarez signed with DAZN in October 2018.
Since the bitter split, Alvarez has worked with Matchroom Boxing for six of his last seven fights, with the exception of his 11th-round knockout of then-undefeated IBF 168-pound titlist Caleb Plant in November 2021 to become the undisputed champion. That fight occurred on Showtime as part of a one-fight deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Alvarez (58-2-2. 39 KOs) is coming off an up-and-down year. He suffered his first loss since 2013 when he was dominated by WBA “Super” light heavyweight beltholder Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) last May 7 in Las Vegas. He returned four months later to hand bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin a second loss in their trilogy last September 17, also in Las Vegas. This time, however, they fought for the undisputed super middleweight crown. Their first two bouts were contested at the middleweight limit of 160-pounds, where Golovkin long-reigned as a champion.
The first bout, in September 2017, was a highly-controversial draw that most ringside observers believe Golovkin clearly won. The September 2018 rematch, which Alvarez won via majority decision, was an instant classic that begged for a third fight to determine a conclusive winner to boxing’s biggest rivalry of the era. It took four years for the trilogy to materialize, and to the chagrin of the fans, the fight was a dud until the final slate of rounds.
But Alvarez is ready to attack 2023 and his critics with a head of steam, especially those who believe the 32-year-old has lost a step.
London’s Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) has an opportunity to knock Alvarez off his pedestal. The 34-year-old southpaw earned his shot after a fifth-round knockout of then-unbeaten countryman Zach Parker last November to claim the interim WBO super middleweight belt.
However, many fans aren’t too enthusiastic about the fight. Most would rather see Alvarez square off against former two-time WBC 168-pound titleholder David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs). The Arizona native, who holds the interim title at the weight, however, is fighting the aforementioned Plant on March 25 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
There is also controversy surrounding the sanctioning bodies and how they determine when they want their champions to fulfill their mandatory obligations. De La Hoya, on the other hand, feels that Alvarez should take more of a lead to take on stiffer opposition.
“I don’t know whose fault that is. I don’t want to mention anything,” noted De La Hoya. “I think Canelo should really analyze carefully who he wants to fight next, whether it’s Bivol, whether it’s [Jaime] Munguia. But he has to step up and fight the tough opposition.
“The tough guys who are out there who can give him a fight. It’s not the John Ryders of this world.”