LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez is completely confident that he will perform much better Saturday night, even against an undoubtedly better opponent than John Ryder.
Unlike the entire time he spent preparing to battle England’s Ryder on May 6, Alvarez has had full use of his left hand throughout his recently completed training camp for his showdown with Jermell Charlo. Alvarez informed BoxingScene.com after their press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand that he couldn’t throw hard left hands at any point during camp for the Ryder bout because he underwent rehabilitation on his surgically repaired left wrist right up until fight night.
The Mexican icon had surgery to fix his troublesome left wrist last October, the month after the undisputed super middleweight champion defeated rival Gennadiy Golovkin by unanimous decision in their third 12-round fight at T-Mobile Arena. He dropped Ryder in the fifth round and defeated the British southpaw soundly on the scorecards (120-107, 120-107, 118-109), yet Alvarez wasn’t at all pleased with how he fought before a sellout crowd at Akron Stadium in Zapopan, Mexico, near his hometown of Guadalajara.
“It’s not one of my best performances for sure,” Alvarez told BoxingScene.com. “I’m not able to do my best in the ring because I [had] the injury. I was in rehab and I [wasn’t] able to do my best. And that’s the truth. But right now, I’m happy because I feel great.”
There wasn’t a moment during his 12-round fight with Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs) when Alvarez unloaded a left hand without caution because he was worried about reinjuring his wrist.
“I don’t feel confident to throw my [left] hand really good,” Alvarez recalled. “Not at any point [in that fight], because in that camp I don’t throw my hand that hard. But right now, I feel I can hit with my hand hard in the sparring, on the pads, everything, so that made me feel confident.”
Alvarez, 33, initially injured his wrist while training for his 11th-round knockout of Caleb Plant in November 2021 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. He trained and fought through the pain for three fights – victories over Plant and Golovkin and a unanimous-decision defeat to unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol in between – before Alvarez realized he couldn’t compete again until he had surgery.
Despite that Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t looked like the top pound-for-pound fighter he once was in the three abovementioned bouts, oddsmakers have installed him as a 4-1 favorite to conquer Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs). Houston’s Charlo is boxing’s undisputed 154-pound champion, but he has moved up two weight classes to challenge Alvarez for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound championships in the main event of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast from T-Mobile Arena (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).
Alvarez’s proper preparation to face Charlo encouraged him to predict that skeptical fans and media will see the elite-level fighter Saturday night that became boxing’s first fully unified super middleweight champion of the four-belt era by knocking out Plant.
“I was training happy and confident and working with Eddy on the pads, and everything,” Alvarez told a group of reporters after the press conference. “Because before I can’t throw my hand hard. I just tried to get conditioned as much as I can, but I don’t hit that hard. And when you go in the fight and try to hit hard and everything, you get tired, right? And right now, I feel a hundred percent. Just wait for Saturday.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.