John Ryder put in a wildly brave performance that ended in defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez in Mexico.
Challenging for Canelo’s undisputed super middleweight title, Ryder was on the end of an uppercut that broke his nose in the early stages of the fight.
It turned gladiatorial in Guadalajara, with blood down his throat and coating his face for the rest of the fight.
A heavy knockdown in round five had many thinking it was all over, but Ryder came back valiantly, perhaps not winning many rounds but keeping the champion honest and tiring him out towards the end of the contest.
Canelo took it by unanimous decision, but would go on to describe Ryder as the toughest Brit he’s faced out of eight. Speaking in the aftermath, Ryder told Matchroom that he took inspiration from one Nigel Benn.
“It’s funny, I got knocked down and I thought of all these Nigel Benn fights I’ve seen over the years, I thought ‘How would Nigel Benn come back?’ He’d come back having a tear up.
So I thought ‘you’re not going to go out like that, you’re going to come back. Do what Nigel Benn does.’
Obviously I didn’t, because he would’ve probably got him out of there, but, yeah, I had a go.”
🦍 "I thought how would @NigelGBenn come back now?" – @_John_Ryder_ reveals
Watch in full 👇https://t.co/rtCKgbnxbUpic.twitter.com/vHNZylbViO
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) May 7, 2023
Nigel Benn – or ‘The Dark Destroyer’ – was a two-weight world champion known for fearsome power and a non-stop aggression that got him over the line in many battles. He hung up the gloves with a record of 42-5-1 with 35 stoppages.
Ryder trains with Benn’s son, Conor, and was supported by him on the night.
The Londoner was one half of Canelo’s homecoming, and had he not had the attitude he did, the fans perhaps wouldn’t have had a night to remember. It’s this – plus the sheer grit he showed – that has won him plenty of Mexican fans.