On Saturday night in Mexico, hometown superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fought in his country for the first time in nearly 12 years.
He boxed his way to a wide twelve round unanimous decision win over mandatory challenger John Ryder. Judge Jeremy Hayes scored the bout 120-107, while judges Joe Pasquale and Gerardo Martino both saw it 118-109.
There were 50,000 at Akron Stadium, with the vast majority in attendance to see Canelo retain his undisputed super middleweight crown.
"It's a historic moment for me. I'm blessed to be here with my people who supported me from the beginning," Canelo said.
Canelo improved his record to 59-2-2 with 39 knockouts.
The 32-year-old controlled the majority of the action and dropped Ryder in the fifth round. Ryder, who was bleeding heavily from a broken nose since the early rounds, managed to survive after being badly hurt and stay competitive for the remainder of the contest.
Canelo was not shocked that he couldn't put Ryder away.
"He's strong. I'm not surprised about it," Canelo said. "I'm happy with the fight. I won and I'm happy that people had a great time."
Now he's focused on a September rematch with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
Back in May of last year, Bivol outboxed Canelo over twelve rounds for a dominant decision win. Canelo bounced back in September with a decision over Gennadiy Golovkin in their trilogy fight.
While Bivol would like to face Canelo at 168 for the undisputed crown, Canelo rejected that idea - he wants Bivol at 175.
"Everybody knows we want Bivol, the rematch with Bivol. 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," Canelo said.