John Ryder couldn’t care less about critics that contend he doesn’t deserve a shot at Canelo Alvarez’s four super middleweight titles.
The British southpaw believes he has done more than enough, particularly over the past year, to warrant an opportunity to become boxing’s fully unified 168-pound champion May 6 in Zapopan, Mexico. London’s Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) defeated former IBF/WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (37-4, 30 KOs) by split decision and conquered previously unbeaten Brit Zach Parker (22-1, 16 KOs) by technical knockout in his two fights that took place in 2022.
His narrow win against Jacobs, which occurred in February 2022 at Alexandra Palace in London, is the most noteworthy victory of Ryder’s 12-year professional career. Ryder’s fifth-round stoppage of Parker, who couldn’t continue due to a fractured right hand November 26 at O2 Arena in London, earned him the WBO interim super middleweight title and made him a mandatory challenger for one of Alvarez’s four championships.
The 34-year-old Ryder discussed battling Alvarez during an interview that debuted on promoter Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel Tuesday, the same day his fight against Alvarez was officially announced.
“It seemed like a lifetime away months and years ago,” Ryder said. “But I’m finally here now and I feel like I really do deserve to be here. I’ve paid my dues in this sport and I’ve earned this shot three times over for me. So, yeah, I feel like I really deserve to be here and deserve this shot.”
Ryder has won four fights in a row since his controversial 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), who was the unbeaten WBA super middleweight champion when he edged Ryder in November 2019 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, Smith’s hometown. Alvarez easily out-pointed Smith almost 13 months later at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Despite Ryder’s success in recent years, Caesars Sportsbook listed Alvarez as a 12-1 favorite to win a 12-round fight DAZN will offer as a pay-per-view main event in the United States and Canada. Ryder won’t pay much mind to detractors that don’t give him a chance to upset Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) in the Mexican icon’s first fight in his native country since November 2011.
Alvarez and Ryder will square off at Akron Stadium, a soccer venue located just outside of Alvarez’s hometown of Guadalajara.
“Don’t shoot me down,” Ryder said. “I’m still dreaming, so let me live my dream. And listen, keep your opinions to yourself. I’m not reading them, don’t care. I’m doing this for me. I’m not doing it for you. Go about your business. Life can’t be that bad that you gotta worry about me too much.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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