Super middleweight contender John Ryder believes last year's war with Callum Smith helped prepare his former foe for this Saturday's showdown with Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Back in November of 2019, Smith defeated Ryder with a controversial twelve round decision. Some felt Ryder had done enough to win.
This weekend, Smith will defend his WBA super middleweight strap against Canelo at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The WBC title will also be at stake.
Ryder had a lot of success in the fight, with getting inside and landing his punches. He was able to overcome the size and reach of the much bigger man.
Canelo, who has similar physical dimensions to Ryder, is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Ryder expects Smith to use their encounter as a key learning experience to make necessary adjustments in the fight with Canelo.
"Callum's going to have looked at me having success as a smaller guy. I think he's going to make himself smaller, drop his body down and get his full reach, rather than punching down all the time," Ryder told Sky Sports.
"He's going to try and really use that length of his arms to his advantage. Joe Gallagher (Callum's trainer) is meticulous in his approach and it will be interesting to see what style he comes out with. Whatever Callum does, he has to do well because Canelo is in a league of his own."
Ryder will return to the ring this Friday in Florida, when he faces Mike Guy on the undercard of Gennadiy Golovkin's mandatory defense of the IBF, IBO middleweight titles.
"For a long time, it seemed as though as we were getting dates around January 31st and I was having to have measly little Christmas dinners, saying 'no' to potatoes. But it will be nice get Christmas out of the way, get a fight date for February or March and get back into the gym for January 1st and crack on," Ryder said.