Liam Smith offered Canelo fight
By Dan Ambrose: It looks like former WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) won’t be facing IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin after all. According to WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith (22-0-1, 12 KOs), he’s been offered a fight with Canelo. Smith says Canelo would be challenging him for his WBO junior middleweight title at 154.
It’s unclear when the 27-year-old Smith and Canelo are supposed to be fighting. Smith has a title defense against #8 WBO Predrag Radosevic (30-1, 11 KOs) this Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
This will be the second straight voluntary defense for Smith. In theory, he’s supposed to be facing his #1 WBO mandatory challenger next, or the highest ranked contender that is willing to fight him.
Currently, Miguel Cotto is ranked #1 by the WBO, but it’s doubtful that he’ll want to fight Smith because he’s not a big name. The next highest ranked contender is #2 Demetrius Andrade.
“I’ve been offered the Canelo fight but I haven’t been told too much about it,” Smith said to ringtv.com. “It would be for my title because he has given up his (WBC) belt at 160 and would be moving back down to 154 pounds.”
With Canelo moving back down in weight to fight at junior middleweight for Liam Smith’s WBO belt, he can partially get some of the angry fans off his back for not fighting Golovkin. If Canelo were to reject a fight against Golovkin and continue to fight at the 155lb catch-weight that he’s been fighting at for the last couple of years, then it would look bad because 155 is middleweight, albeit the lowest possible weight for the division.
Challenging Smith for his WBO title will be seen by some boxing fans as a weak move by Canelo because Smith isn’t seen as being nearly as good as the other champions Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo and Erislandy Lara in the eyes of a lot of fans. Smith is unbeaten at 22-0, but his best win of his career came against John Thompson, a fighter that was blown out by Frank Galarza in January 2014. Galarza in turn was stopped in the 6th round by Jarrett Hurd last November.
“I don’t win on Saturday, there is no Canelo (Alvarez),” said Liam Smith. “My team is keeping things quiet right now because it’s important that my mind is on the job that’s in front of me. I don’t like talking about future fights and we’re just being professional.”
Canelo facing Smith instead of Golovkin, Lara, the Charlo brothers or one of the top middleweights, could be seen as a weak move on his part because Smith is the equivalent of a low hanging fruit in terms of a threat to him. Smith is not going to be able to compete with Canelo in my estimation. This is another safe fight for Canelo just like his fights against Amir Khan, Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland. There’s no dangerous with Smith.
Is it Canelo who wants to fight Liam Smith or is this something his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions have thought up by giving him a beatable opponent to give him a title [WBO]. If you look at it strategically, him fighting Smith gives Canelo a sure thing win, and the WBO title to show the fans that he’s a world champion again after he recently vacated his WBC middleweight title.
You can guess what Canelo’s next move would be as the WBO 154lb champion. He’d likely defend the WBO belt against welterweight Kell Brook. By Canelo holding down the WBO 154lb title, he could pull welterweights up to the 154lb division one after another without looking like he’s picking on smaller fighters like he would if he were still fighting at middleweight at 155.
If Canelo wins the WBO title, he would be able to face #1 WBO Miguel Cotto in a rematch and have an excuse for making that fight. Canelo could also put Golovkin on ignore for a while with the excuse that he’s not fighting in the middleweight division, and not ready to move up yet.
The fight between Canelo and Golovkin could marinate for a number of years, premumably until Golovkin starts to age to the point where he’s no longer the fighter he is today. Golovkin is 34 now and Canelo only 25. So if Canelo waits five or six years, Golovkin will be 40, and maybe showing signs of being over-the-hill and beatable by then.
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