John Ryder expects Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to stop Jermell Charlo on Saturday – even though he believes that Charlo is “naturally bigger” and will never return to 154lbs.
Ryder tested Alvarez over 12 rounds in the Mexican’s home city of Guadalajara in May, and said post-fight that he detected in Alvarez signs of decline.
The 33-year-old Charlo represented an unexpected challenger for the undisputed super middleweight champion when their fight was announced – Charlo is the undisputed champion at 154lbs – but for all of his respect for the American and his expectation that he will improve, Ryder, Alvarez’s most recent opponent, cannot see how Charlo wins.
“It will be an interesting affair,” the 35-year-old told ProBox TV of the fight at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. “Charlo is probably the naturally bigger man in there; height-wise definitely. ‘Canelo’ having come from 147 [lbs], and Charlo being a 154 [lbs] fighter, he’s gonna be the naturally bigger man.
“This camp’s gonna be the best of his – he’s gonna be able to focus more on his game plan, and work on what he’s got to do as opposed to the diet. He’s gonna have a great camp. He’s probably going to want to stay up in weight when he’s finished, because getting back down to 154 after this will be a struggle for him. He’s a big lad. [But] I favour Canelo to get him out of there; I think mid-to-late rounds.
“[Alvarez is] obviously beatable. [Dmitrii] Bivol showed that. [But] he’s very technical; he lays feints; he sets traps. He’s very smart at what he does.
“[Charlo has] got that heart; he’s got that bit of range. If you take that route of Bivol – that’s the way to beat Canelo. If Charlo can summon that, he can do well in the fight.
“We’ve seen the performance with Tony Harrison – [Charlo’s] a big lad, and the way things are going at middleweight now, the door’s open. The Janibek [Alimkhanuly] fight – obviously he wouldn’t fight his brother [Jermall] – but there’s big fights at middleweight and if you’ve done it all at 154 [lbs], why not move on to 160? If you’re moving to 168 to try and do it, there’s the weight in the middle to try and conquer.”
Alvarez, also 33, has spoken of his desire for a rematch with Dmitrii Bivol, who so convincingly outboxed him in 2022. David Benavidez, regardless, increasingly appears the opponent most observers would like him to fight, and Ryder said: “Bivol is the one that sticks over him. They’ve said about doing it at 168 [lbs] and they’ve said ‘No, I wanna do it at 175’, and I think he’s really got the bit between his teeth to try and go out there and do a job on him.
“Bivol was exceptional that night. I know Canelo can probably go and change it up a bit – he might not have been at his best with the wrist injury and whatnot – but Bivol showed what a force that he is, and how hard he is to beat. He’s only getting better as well, so I think it’s a real tough ask for Canelo to go out there and beat Bivol if the fight happens again.
“I don’t really see the [David] Benavidez fight as the impossible fight. He’s got the work-rate, but I don’t think he’s got the power to put up with Canelo, as shown in the recent performance [against Caleb Plant]. If you look at the [Caleb] Plant fight, what Canelo did to Plant and what Benavidez had done…
“[Benavidez is] too big at the weight. He loses his natural attributes when he gets down to that weight, and I think he would be better off at 175.”