John Ryder is well aware of the negative reaction to the announcement of his fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez but insists it will drive him during training camp.
It was finally confirmed last week that WBO interim super-middleweight champion and mandatory challenger Ryder will face Canelo for all four 168lbs belts on May 6 in Guadalajara.
Many people criticized Canelo’s decision to face the Englishman instead of vacating the belt and pursuing a rematch with Dmitry Bivol or a clash with one of the bigger names in the division.
Ryder admits he has noticed the backlash but is adamant it will have no negative impact on him whatsoever.
He said: “Look, I know there has been a lot of negativity towards me as the choice of opponent. Let’s be fair, people just want to see him fight Benavidez or do the Bivol rematch.
“But in his words, he’s coming back from injury and he wants to test everything out - and I’m that test.
“But listen, I’ve got other plans, why would I care what people think? I don’t really care what people say about me or what they think about the fight. If anything it will push me on.
“I have a job to do so now it is about me making sure I do that to the best of my ability, not worry about what people say about the fight. It means I will be proving a lot of people wrong doesn’t it?
“Since I’ve been back in England I’ve had a lot of well wishers. Nobody has called me a wanker yet but there’s still time for that.
"Nobody has told me I’m going to get smashed yet - obviously on social media they have, many times. But out and about people have been wishing me luck and it’s been nice.”
It has been suggested that underdog Ryder, 32-5, will need Canelo to have an off night for him to have any chance of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in British boxing history.
But the man known as ‘the Gorilla’ is not expecting any complacency from the Mexican icon.
“I imagine it won’t be a factor here,” he adds. “He dropped the ball massively with the Bivol defeat, and didn’t look vintage in the Golovkin fight. Everything was expecting him to go in there and blast Golovkin away but that didn’t happen. He’s coming off an injury as well so it all remains to be seen if he has still got it as well but it’s not about complacency.
“People have asked me if I feel the pressure. The pressure is on him - he’s back home for the first time in 12 years, he needs to make a statement after the injury and the Bivol loss. He wants to prove he has plenty left if he is hoping to rematch Bivol so he needs to be dealing with me handily doesn’t he?”
This fight has been in the works since Ryder became interim champion by virtue of beating Zach Parker in November but it took months to rubber stamp.
In the end it meant that the fight was only formally announced, with a press tour in Guadalajara and San Diego, seven weeks out from the Cinco de Mayo date.
Ryder said: “We got the first draft through three weeks ago and that got changed, a few amendments which got handled pretty quickly. We signed it early in March and then we did the press tour.
“I know there was an issue with Mexican broadcast rights and DAZN which held things up a bit. But it’s full steam ahead for us now, Eddie has a part in the promotion albeit as a co-promotion with Canelo, and I’m set on making history.
“I’m happy with it, we’re both getting paid. It’s good for everyone. There’s a rematch clause, on his side obviously, not mine. But that’s the plan; beat him May 6 and then ask him ‘when do you want the rematch?’ I’m thinking bring it back to the UK or go to Vegas for that one.”
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