The tradition of boxing’s biggest superstars fighting on Cinco De Mayo weekend continues. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is set to defend his status as undisputed super middleweight champion against John Ryder. The fight will take place on May 6 from Jalisco, Mexico, Alvarez’s hometown, Matchroom Boxing announced on Tuesday.
After closing out 2021 with a thrashing of Caleb Plant to become undisputed champion at 168 pounds, Alvarez had a rough 2022. First, Alvarez’s attempt to move back to light heavyweight for a second world title win at 175 pounds came up short as he was thoroughly outboxed by Dmitry Bivol.
Alvarez returned to super middleweight for his next bout, a trilogy bout with rival Gennady Golovkin. Alvarez managed the unanimous decision win but in far less impressive fashion than many expected. Alvarez revealed after the fight that he would require surgery on his wrist, an injury that had bothered him across multiple fights. That injury has kept him on the shelf for more than six months.
Ryder is making his second bid for a world title. In November 2019, Ryder lost a decision to then-WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith. Ryder appeared to have done more than enough to have deserved the win, but the controversial scorecards did not go his way.
Ryder has since rattled off four consecutive victories, most recently stopping Zach Parker to win the interim WBO championship, placing him as one of Alvarez’s mandatory challengers.
Alvarez has not fought in Mexico since November 2011, when he retained his WBC junior middleweight championship with a stoppage win over Kermit Cintron. A rematch with Bivol remains one of Alvarez’s primary targets for the end of the 2023 calendar.