John Ryder is confident he will be ready to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in September and believes he can be a ‘cheaper alternative’ for the Mexican with the cost of the coronavirus pandemic hitting boxing.
Pound-for-pound great Canelo is currently considering opponents for September 14 in Las Vegas with the four-weight world champion and current WBA ‘regular’ super-middleweight champion ready to fight behind closed doors.
WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders recently insisted he will no longer consider taking the fight on two months’ notice but Golden Boy president Eric Gomez this week named Ryder and WBA ‘Super’ champion Callum Smith as two names firmly in the running if travel restrictions permit the Brits to make the trip to the US.
Ryder and promoter Eddie Hearn have been in contact with Golden Boy to inform them of the Londoner’s availability with the 31-year-old ready to take the chance of a lifetime.
“Eddie contacted them and said I was ready and named a figure,” Ryder told Standard Sport. “I know they are keeping their cards very close to their chest to try catch people off guard I suppose. I think it might be something they put out there last minute to surprise a few people.”
Since confirming his decision to return to super-middleweight after a successful stint at light-heavyweight, Canelo’s camp have discussed Japanese star Ryota Murata and Gennady Golovkin as possible next options in addition to Saunders, Smith and Ryder.
But with Golden Boy admitting even Canelo, boxing’s most lucrative star, will have to take a ‘significant’ pay cut for the behind-closed-doors fight, Ryder hopes his offer is the most attractive one on the table.
“I read Canelo is taking a cut for his next fight. People have got to respect that and expect to take lesser pay for this.”
He added: “Callum is taking titles into the ring, I’ve got the people's champion title as such and you can't put a price on that. So I think I would be the cheaper alternative at the minute.”
Ryder admits a unification fight with Saunders or Smith is the better option for Canelo on paper but the unique circumstances boxing is currently faced with places him firmly in the running.
“I know they [Canelo] want the title. That’s more attractive to them than just fighting someone like me. But the way it is now with finances being cut, it going to be hard to get a champion over there.
“It’s about being in the right place at the right time. And with that performance last time out, it’s holding me in high regard. I was always after a big fight next. I was calling out Danny Jacobs but this could trump them all.
“He [Canelo] is a legend and has been in there with the best. To get a fight with him would be a dream come true.”
Ryder suffered the fifth defeat of his career last November against Smith in Liverpool, a highly controversial unanimous decision loss the Islington fighter and many others firmly believe was the wrong call.
Should he miss out on the Canelo fight, the Smith rematch is next on his list with a rematch with Saunders, who handed him his first professional defeat on a narrow points decision in 2013, also in his thoughts.
Ryder understands Saunders’ decision to withdraw from the running for the Canelo fight, but says him and trainer Tony Sims will have no issue taking it on shorter notice than usual.
“A 10-week camp for me would be ideal. There's been fights in the past when we’ve had eight weeks’ notice so 10 weeks is optimal really. Fingers crossed we can get it over the line with not too much red tape in the way, get to the States and have a big fight.”
Travel restrictions may play a key role in the decision and Ryder admits a US-based fighter could ultimately be the easiest option for the Mexican and his team.
But with an offer of sorts on the table, he says the ball is in their court.
“Eddie has stated my availability. You expect them to come back and haggle a bit, but they know what we want and what we are aiming for. It is down to them now.”