John Ryder expects Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to have to come from behind to win Saturday’s fight against Jaime Munguia.

The 33-year-old Alvarez will defend his undisputed super middleweight title against his fellow Mexican on Cinco de Mayo weekend at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, in what Munguia’s co-promoter Oscar De La Hoya has already promised will prove a “changing of the guard.”

Alvarez – also once promoted by De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions – remains the significant favorite as he enters what could yet be one of the final fights of his decorated career, and Ryder, one of his most recent opponents, recognizes not only the appeal that exists in a fight between them but the threat that Munguia can pose.

Ryder retired in January after being stopped in nine rounds by Munguia, having, in his previous fight, so admirably gone the distance with Alvarez on Cinco de Mayo weekend 2023. His resilience – Alvarez fought desperately to stop him – contributed to growing suggestions related to the speed of Alvarez’s decline and also enhanced Ryder’s reputation. But it came at a cost against Munguia seven months on.

Only Jermell Charlo – a less convincing challenger – has fought Alvarez more recently than has Ryder, and none has more recently fought Munguia, and the Briton said: “The improvements [Munguia] made from the [Sergiy] Derevyanchenko fight, with Freddie Roach, to then fighting me was very good. I do think the Canelo fight took a lot out of me – and more than I realized at the time – but I still felt I was going in there in great nick and was going to do a job. Munguia took that away from me and put me down more than I’ve ever been put down, and ultimately stopped me.

“The accumulation of punches he throws is very high. He’s got a high work rate, a high punch output. Canelo’s not – he’s very sensible. He picks his shots well, he doesn’t waste nothing. What he throws, he knows he’s going to land, whereas Munguia’s more volume, but he’s got more snap in his than Canelo. Canelo’s a real thudding puncher, whereas Munguia’s got that pop-bang.

“[Canelo’s] punch accuracy is very good. He’ll give you the sign that he’s gonna throw the shot and you think, ‘Right, I can see this coming,’ and you evade a few, but he’s going to hit you and he’s going to land and it’s going to be hard. Everything’s going to be behind that shot. He does take his toll on people down the line.

“It was a close fight [between Munguia and Derevyanchenko]. It was down to the last round, pretty much, and Munguia done it for me.

“It’s a great opportunity. Obviously there’s a bit of needle there with De La Hoya and Canelo, so that might be the more interesting sell on the fight week. Munguia’s a willing participant. He done a number on me; he truly deserves his crack.

“I think Canelo wins. I think it’ll be close. Munguia will get off to a good start – might even go three, four rounds up, maybe. But I think Canelo will come on strong the second half of the fight and make it his own. He’s too accurate and he’s got the lasting effect in his shots. He’ll grind Munguia down, and I don’t think he’ll stop him, but I think he’ll beat him on points.”

Ryder, who in retirement is assisting his long-term trainer, Tony Sims, recovered from a knockdown against Alvarez – at altitude in Guadalajara – to remain consistently competitive, but he was knocked down four times by Munguia, 27, before being stopped.

“My victory over Danny Jacobs was a tough fight,” he said. “Not the toughest I’ve had, but it was very nip and tuck; it was very close. Danny Jacobs has had a 12-rounder with Canelo and a 12-rounder with [Gennady] Golovkin, and also the defeat to Dmitry Pirog. Not realizing this at the time, going back now, in hindsight, these fights take a lot out of you.

“I don’t feel like I was the same after the Canelo defeat. I didn’t realize it at the time, but time tells. You get into a fight, and it’s not there. I thought to myself, ‘Look at the likes of Danny Jacobs.’ He’s not only gone in with Canelo, but Golovkin, and he had that brutal defeat to Pirog. These are really telling fights.

“[Dmitry] Bivol beating Canelo was not in everyone’s plans, but it was a fair result, and I think boxing needed to see that. It has now, and I hope it’ll be the same [fair judging] for Canelo-Munguia.”