Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Ryder is a possible Canelo opponent, Smith becomes number one challenger for Benavidez

Canelo Alvarez next fight
Canelo is not short of silverware Tom Hogan/Hogan photos/Golden Boy
John Ryder tells Canelo Alvarez he is ready to step up and face him, and Callum Smith and David Benavidez could unify their WBA and WBC titles

LAST week we discovered British light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde is being considered as a potential opponent for Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, while today another British boxer has emerged as a name on the Canelo shortlist.

John Ryder, last seen giving Callum Smith all he could handle in a WBA super-middleweight title fight, could apparently end up getting the plum role every fighter between middleweight and light-heavyweight yearns for, if Canelo’s coach, Eddy Reynoso, is to be believed.

When asked about potential opponents, Reynoso mentioned Ryder’s name alongside the likes of Smith, Gennady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders, and praised the Londoner’s spirited effort against Smith a couple of weeks ago. Ryder, meanwhile, when getting wind of this, wasted no time offering his services.

“It would be a pleasure to share the ring with Canelo and your team,” he wrote on social media. “Thank you for your recognition and believing I should be crowned world champion. This would be a real-life Rocky story, and a great fight.”

Perhaps the Smith defeat, in the end, will prove to be more of a help than a hindrance for John Ryder in the long run.

John Ryder has options (Mark Robinson)

Callum Smith, the man in possession of the WBA super-middleweight title, could have drawn the short straw, at least in terms of the race for Canelo.

Still, fear not. If ignored by the Mexican, Smith can make do with a unification fight against another of the champions at super-middleweight – albeit for far less money. It’s looking likely, too, that the champion Smith will end up meeting will not be fellow Brit Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO titleholder, but Mexican-American David Benavidez, holder of the WBC crown.

Today it was announced Smith had been made mandatory challenger for Benavidez’s WBC title on account of him previously owning and defending their WBC Diamond belt.

This is an unusual occurrence, seeing one champion made mandatory challenger for another, yet let’s not complain. If there’s one thing the ridiculous WBC Diamond belt is good for, it is this, bringing two champions closer together.

Before two belts can be unified, Benavidez must defend his against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim, the previous number one contender, on January 25. But should he get through that – and he should – there’s every chance a WBC and WBA unification between Benavidez and Smith is made for 2020. (Unlikely, though, that Smith fulfils his Anfield dream with such a fight. He’ll probably need a flame-haired Mexican for that.)

David benavidez
David Benavidez repping Mexico (Esther Lin/Showtime)

Boxing news – Newsletter

Current Issue