Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s top star, will defend his undisputed super middleweight championship vs. John Ryder on May 6 in Jalisco, Mexico, the fighter announced on Tuesday.
Canelo-Ryder will take place at Akron Stadium, a soccer venue with a capacity of nearly 50,000.
The bout will be Canelo’s first in Mexico since 2011, when he defeated Kermit Cintron to retain his 154-pound title. That bout was in Mexico City. Alvarez hasn’t competed in Guadalajara since 2010, before he won his first championship.
Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) will step inside the ropes for the first time since he underwent left wrist surgery in October. The procedure followed Canelo’s win over Gennadiy Golovkin in September to close out the trilogy.
“I feel really happy to be coming back in May because following my surgery, I was unsure of when I’d be coming back,” said Alvarez, ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer. “Returning to the ring and coming back to fight in Jalisco, where I’m from, makes me especially happy. And in John Ryder, I’m facing a very competitive fighter.”
The injury also hampered him in an upset loss to Dmitry Bivol in May at 175 pounds, Alvarez’s first defeat since he was routed by Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
Ryder, a 34-year-old Londoner, will be a major underdog in his second world-title opportunity. He was on the wrong end of a controversial decision when he challenged Callum Smith for his 168-pound title in 2019.
Since the defeat, Ryder has won four straight. His most-recent two victories came against Daniel Jacobs and Zach Parker last year, in February and November, respectively. The victory over Jacobs was a tight decision, while Parker retired on his stool with a broken hand following Round 4.
Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) won the vacant WBO interim title when he defeated Parker, so Canelo could be in position to fulfill one of the obligations for the four 168-pound titles he possesses. Ryder, a pressure-fighting southpaw, is ESPN’s No. 4 super middleweight.
“There’s no denying that Canelo is one of the greats and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s achieved in the sport, but I fully believe this is my time [to] fulfil my dream of becoming a world champion,” said Ryder.
“I’m not going over there for a holiday. For me this is purely business and my full focus is on going into his backyard in Guadalajara on May 6 and bringing those belts back with me to the U.K.”
Alvarez, meanwhile, could face Bivol in a September rematch, but this time at 168 pounds for his undisputed championship. Bivol has expressed a willingness to drop down in weight, so the bout could materialize once Alvarez pushes past Ryder as expected.
Canelo is a promotional and network free agent, but he’ll be fighting for Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing on DAZN for the third consecutive outing.