Alvarez-Ryder fight week diary: Day Three

“The king is coming home,” read the backdrop at Guadalajara’s Degollado Theater, where Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and John Ryder participated in Friday’s ceremonial weigh-in ahead of Saturday’s fight. 

Degollado, incidentally, translates to “beheaded”, but the venue, almost disappointingly, looked much like numerous other old-fashioned theatres. What was most curious about staging it there was that both fighters had already weighed in earlier on Friday morning, behind closed doors. Ceremonial weigh-ins typically take place to help promote the relevant fight and therefore in front of the public. While there were members of the public present – a small contingent in town to support Ryder made themselves known – by staging it inside the theatre there was a limit to how many could attend. The theatre is also situated in a spacious town square; there were therefore more waiting outside to briefly glimpse the two fighters than there were inside, where there also weren’t any interviews conducted with the fighters, despite them by then having had a chance to rehydrate and recover.

Mauricio Sulaiman, perhaps unsurprisingly, spent more time on stage than either of the two fighters, and he also spoke. Perhaps most gallingly of all, he would have left believing most of those in attendance appeared fond of him, even if their response to him was a reflection of their anticipation of the arrival of “Canelo”, who he has long worked to associate himself with.

A mariachi band performed a set while that anticipation built – an anticipation in many ways captured by the presence of Julio Cesar Chavez Snr and Marco Antonio Barrera, both of whom were present in their separate roles as television pundits. 

When Ryder was introduced to the stage, amid, inevitably, some boos, he stripped down to his underwear and socks, unaware of how long it would take Alvarez to join him and that he would be stood there waiting. In Guadalajara, even more so than in Las Vegas, what was unfolding was the “Canelo” show. 

As though the master of ceremonies, David Diamante, wasn’t already straining every sinew to make the occasion as grandiose as he could, a Mexican singer then appeared on stage to sing before Alvarez’s introduction – all while the relaxed Ryder was made to wait. When the undisputed super middleweight champion was then finally introduced to the relatively dark setting of the theatre room, he was wearing sunglasses that felt as appropriate as the kimono worn by midlife crisis’ Eddie Hearn.

A lengthy stare down between the two fighters followed, as, eventually, did a pro-Alvarez, Latin American chant. Almost predictably, before he could tear himself away from the stage, Sulaiman then oversaw goodies being thrown into the small crowd.