Ryder ready for Canelo and ultimate test of his endurance

The stamina that is among John Ryder’s biggest strengths will face its greatest test when on Saturday in Guadalajara he challenges Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

In both the Mexican heat and amid the passionate support for Alvarez at the Akron Stadium, the 34-year-old Ryder will be fighting the undisputed super middleweight champion 1,566 metres above sea level.

There already exists the risk of allowing one of the world’s most educated and intelligent of fighters to develop a sense of momentum and rhythm should Ryder, as he typically does, seek to grow in strength as the rounds progress.

Alvarez, 32, being so accomplished a body puncher similarly poses a threat to his admired engine, but he and his team are convinced that after preparing with oxygen chambers in the UK before relocating to Los Angeles to adjust to the timezone, the altitude they are fighting at needn’t be a concern.

“We’re 1,500 metres above sea level; 5,500ft in Guadalajara,” his conditioner Dan Lawrence told ProBox TV. “So it’s not as crazy as some may think – it’s certainly not Mexico City altitude. We have been simulating altitude training for a long while at home in a chamber. We’ve prepared for this. 

“We were in LA for a week to get acclimatised to the timezone. We came here on Sunday, ahead of the Saturday night fight night, and have been mindful to do a few low-end sessions outside, just to get used to it. The air is definitely a little bit thinner, but John feels absolutely fine.

“John uses his strengths and qualities and manages his conditioning well. He doesn’t overcommit and throw a high volume of shots unnecessarily; he’s quite tactile and very accurate in his shots, so he conserves energy. His feints are good as well, to conserve energy. There’s no concern of him going 12 rounds.”

Lawrence, of Perform 365, has worked with Ryder since before his stoppage of Jamie Cox in 2018. In addition to George Groves, Josh Taylor and Joe Cordina, he has also worked closely with Tony Sims and Ben Davison, and asked if Alvarez – having grown up in Guadalajara, though a fighter who has thrown fewer punches since moving to 168lbs – could be even better adjusted to the conditions, he responded: “You can get physiological changes in terms of red blood cell count. An ability to do the work at higher altitudes, but that does subside over time if you haven’t had that repeated exposure.

“People do respond differently. If you do go too hard, too early – we went outside to do low-end work [when we first arrived], so we got a nice team run in the morning, and it was a little bit harder. You’re struggling a little bit more to get the oxygen in. We’d done a day’s travel so we can’t definitely say it was the altitude. It wasn’t taxing, and John’s [since] been doing more high-intensity training as part of tapering down. He’s felt fine.

“I’ve not – relatively – seen someone with greater strength characteristics in the gym than John Ryder.”