John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder is flying out to potentially fill in as a replacement opponent on Saturday night to face Canelo Alvarez in case Billy Joe Saunders pulls out of the fight due to the ring not being adjusted to 22 feet for him to move around.
Ryder (29-5, 16 KOs) is ranked #6 WBA, #7 WBC, and is coming off a victory over Mike Guy last December. He lost a controversial decision to Callum Smith in 2019 in a fight that many in the boxing world felt he deserved to win.
Ryder was already training for a fight next month in June, so he’s in shape and reportedly ready to step in if need be to face Canelo in front of 70,000 fans on Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas.
Although there are better options than the light-hitting Ryder for Canelo to use as a replacement, this might be the best he can get on short notice.
Carlos Gongora would be a far better option than Ryder, but it might be too risky for Canelo to fight on short notice. You can make a strong argument that Gongora would beat Saunders with little problems if the two fought.
When Canelo was told that Billy Joe was threatening to pull out, he said on Tuesday, “He has to fight on Saturday.” It would obviously cost Saunders a fortune if he pulls out of the fight over the ring size issue, and Canelo clearly doesn’t see him willing to lose the money over this small issue.
It would be a massive career risk for Saunders to pull out of the fight over the ring size because it would likely result in him being shunned by the other top fighters, who would fear him doing something similar with them.
Saunders, 31, has been threatening to pull out of the fight after learning that he wouldn’t be able to fight in a 24 or 22-foot ring. Canelo originally wanted an 18-foot ring, but he compromised by agreeing to increase the ring size to 20, but he would not fight in a 22-foot ring. That’s not going to happen.
On Tuesday, Saunders’ dad wasn’t talking about pulling out of the fight as he had been on Monday, which is a good sign.
Saunders is expected to get a career-high payday, and it’s hard to believe he would want to lose that money by flying home over a 2-foot difference between the 22-foot ring that he wants over the 20-foot ring that Canelo is requesting for the fight.
Looking at this issue from a logical perspective, if Saunders can’t beat Canelo in a 20-foot ring, he surely won’t be able to do it in a 22 or 24 footer either.
It just seems like Saunders is making a big deal so that he can point to this issue afterward as his excuse for losing the fight.
It’s the type of thing you see from a fighter that doesn’t want to deal with the normal backlash that comes from getting beaten.