Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v John Ryder: Mexican champion sends fans into frenzy at weigh-in

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Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and John Ryder stand side-by-side at the weigh-in
Alvarez (left) will attempt to defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC titles against Ryder
Venue: Estadio Akron, Guadalajara Date: Saturday, 6 May
Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website & app from 04:00 BST on Sunday, 7 May

Saul ‘Canelo Alvarez sent thousands of fans in his home city into a frenzy at a spectacular weigh-in at Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara.

The Mexican defends his undisputed super-middleweight crown against Briton John Ryder on Saturday.

The champion weighed in at exactly the 12st (168lb) limit, with Ryder marginally under at 11.99st (167lb).

“I’m glad to be here with my people,” 32-year-old Alvarez said. “I love everybody, I love my fans.”

Ryder, 34, is a huge underdog against a four-weight world champion widely considered the face of boxing.

The Londoner said: “I feel good. It’s nice to get all this out of the way. Get back, rehydrated, replenish and get ready to go tomorrow night.”

‘I’ve never seen anything like it’ – Hearn

An official weigh-in – not open to the public or media – was hosted behind closed doors at a nearby hotel earlier on Friday.

Later that afternoon, a ceremonial weigh-in purely for show was, quite fittingly, held at the striking theatre.

With a capacity of just 800, only a select number – mainly local schoolchildren – were invited inside the lavish building, with its red and gold walls, classical artwork and murals of Greek mythology gods.

“I’m glad the kids can be motivated by me and look up to me. That’s amazing for me. I feel proud of it,” Alvarez said.

Before both men took to the scales, there was the watering of a tree which will later be planted in Guadalajara, the presentation of a golden olive wreath shaped crown which will be given to the winner and a mariachi band who played some crowd favourites.

Less than a dozen Ryder fans, one wearing a gorilla mark in homage to the fighter’s nickname, were drowned out by the boisterous Mexican fans.

Alvarez wore his trademark silk designer pyjamas and his daughter flew the Mexican flag in the front row as the theatre erupted.

The attendance outside, however, was a magnificent sight. Several thousand fans lined up on the plaza. Separated from Alvarez by railings and a huge police presence, they chanted ‘Vamos [let’s go], Canelo’.

Fans media surrounding Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's car following the weigh-in
Fans and media surrounded Alvarez’s car following the weigh-in

Photographers, broadcasters and some fans surrounded the champion’s car as he attempted to make a getaway.

“It’s madness. My neck has gone from the police escorts taking us through the streets of Guadalajara,” promoter Eddie Hearn said.

“There’s people hanging to get a glimpse of their hero. I’ve never seen anything like it. The city is going to erupt tomorrow night.

“This is going to be one of the greatest atmosphere’s you’ve ever seen in the history of boxing.”

‘Ryder is dangerous’

Ryder, who won the WBO interim title against Briton Zach Parker in November, is the mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s belt.

“I know he’s a good fighter, someone who’s wanted this opportunity for a long time,” Alvarez said. “He’s a dangerous fighter – a southpaw. But I’ve been in this position many times. I’m ready.”

Despite his accomplishments in the sport, there are some suggestions Alvarez may no longer be in his prime.

He moved up to light-heavyweight and was outclassed by champion Dimitry Bivol in May 2022.

Despite having won a world title at light-heavyweight, it is not Alvarez’s natural fighting weight, and Ryder does not feel his opponent is past his best.

“Not at all,” he said. “Bivol is an exceptional talent. I found the step up to 175lb from Canelo a bit odd. Bivol was bigger, younger, fresher.”

In September Alvarez beat rival Gennady Golovkin on points in their trilogy bout, but many expected him to win by stoppage. Following the bout, Alvarez had surgery on his left hand.

“The Golovkin fight was underwhelming – he didn’t get the knockout everyone was expecting. But he still beat him convincingly,” Ryder said.

“But we don’t know how Canelo is going to come out, what’s left in the tank and if there are any long-lasting issues with his recent wrist surgery.”

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