THERE were positives to take from Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday night. John Ryder turned in the performance of his life. He fought brilliantly throughout his engrossing 12-rounder with local WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith. Pride should be oozing from every pore following that performance. Smith, to his credit, refused to buckle under incredible pressure and defiantly showed his class despite the awful night he was having at the office.
But it was only Ryder who truly impressed. His height and reach disadvantages, which looked borderline ridiculous before any punches were thrown, were turned into advantages. He implemented Tony Sims’ game plan to the letter. Simply, he gave it everything he had. Not only that, when Ryder had a mic under his nose after Smith was named a clear winner, he remained polite and respectful when inside the sickness from such horrible scorecards must have been swirling.
The Londoner would have been forgiven if he’d turned the air blue. Forgiven if he’d effed and ‘elled his way through a one-man protest live on Sky Sports. Because those cards that went against him must have left him questioning why he’s bothered dedicating so much of his life to the sport of boxing. One in particular, Terry O’Connor’s 117-111 in Smith’s favour, was completely unacceptable. The other two tallies of 116-112 cards weren’t much better.