Canelo Alvarez applauded John Ryder for his toughness after Ryder surprisingly went the distance with him Saturday night.

London’s Ryder lost by large margins on all three scorecards, but Alvarez assumed Ryder recorded a moral victory of sorts by lasting all 12 rounds in their fight for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles. It appeared as if Alvarez would knock out Ryder when his left-right combination hurt and dropped the British southpaw almost halfway through the fifth round.

Ryder bled badly from his damaged nose for nine-plus rounds. The courageous challenger still took Alvarez’s best shots after suffering that fifth-round knockdown and made it to the final bell.

“For them, it’s a win [to] not get knocked out, right?,” Alvarez said during his post-fight press conference. “But look, we need to give [Ryder] his credit. He [came] to fight. His preparation was very good and I respect the fight he did.”

Judge Jeremy Hayes scored their fight a shutout, 120-107, for Alvarez. Judges Gerardo Martinez and Joseph Pasquale scored the action the same, 118-109 for Alvarez, as Ryder won two rounds apiece on each of their cards.

The 34-year-old Ryder’s conditioning nevertheless served him well. He threw only two fewer punches overall than Alvarez (459 to 457), despite the fact that Ryder couldn’t breathe through his nose for most of their bout.

The resilient Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs) also effectively smothered Alvarez at times in a tiny ring that didn’t afford them much room to operate at a sold-out Akron Stadium in Zapopan, Mexico, just outside of Alvarez’s hometown of Guadalajara.

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

Ryder has been knocked out only once in his 12-year, 38-fight professional career.

England’s Nick Blackwell stopped him in the seventh round of their May 2015 bout at O2 Arena in London. He has since gone the distance with such current and former champions as Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs and Callum Smith.

Alvarez, meanwhile, was as pleased with the event as his performance. The four-division champion’s first fight on Mexican soil since November 2011 attracted a capacity crowd of approximately 51,000 to a soccer stadium near his hometown.

“I’m just proud about fighting here with my people and bringing this kind of fight for them,” Alvarez said. “They deserve it. And it [was] more than I expect.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.