'Canelo' Alvarez wants Bivol rematch after seeing off 'best' British challenger

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has targeted a rematch with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitrii Bivol after defending his undisputed super middleweight title against John Ryder in his homecoming fight.

Alvarez was awarded scores of 120-107, 118-109 and 118-109 after 12 relatively one-sided rounds at Guadalajara’s Akron Stadium on the occasion of not only his first fight in his home city for 12 years, but on Cinco de Mayo weekend.

He appeared to break the 34-year-old Ryder’s nose in the second round, dropped him heavily in the fifth, and cut him over his left eye in the seventh. Ryder regardless proved both his bravery and toughness by remaining competitive, and to the extent that by the final round Alvarez – they fought at 1,566 metres above sea level – also looked tired, and had stopped attempting to force the knockout.

Ryder even said, post-fight, that he believed Alvarez’s inability to stop him was further proof that at 32 the Mexican is in decline, but in Russia’s Bivol and above his natural weight division after having lost so convincingly to him last year, Alvarez is targeting his most difficult potential fight. 

“Everybody knows we want Bivol, the rematch with Bivol,” Alvarez said, post-fight. “If the fight with Bivol don’t happen, then we’ll see [about fighting someone else]. 

“I’m able to fight everybody. Yeah, [I want it at] 175. Same rules; same terms; same everything. I just want it that way.”

Asked if the homecoming fight he had long wanted had fulfilled his expectations, he then responded: “Yes. More than I expect. I’m just proud about fighting here with my people and bringing this kind of fight for them. They deserve it, and it’s more than I expected.

“[The Bivol rematch is] my goal this year. But you know, if that fight don’t happen – we’ll see – but that’s my goal this year.”

Ryder represented Alvarez’s eighth British opponent. The last time he had fought in Guadalajara he stopped Ryan Rhodes. Before then he had beaten Matthew Hatton, starting a run that has since led to victories over Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Rocky Fielding, Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders.

Khan had been outboxing Alvarez in 2016 when they fought in Las Vegas until the explosive stoppage ended his challenge, but Alvarez said that Ryder – a significant underdog – had just proved the best of the eight, and after Ryder’s press conference, which the Briton attended with his nose still bleeding, Alvarez wanted to spend some time with him in a show of respect. 

“For them it’s a win not getting knocked out, right?” the Mexican responded when told what Ryder had said about his potential decline. “But we need to give him credit. He came to fight. His preparation was very good, and I respect the fight he did.

“He’s strong. He did everything in the ring, and that’s what I expect. I saw him fighting with the other guys, and he’s tough.

“I think so, yeah [he’s the best British fighter I’ve faced].”