Liam Smith wants Canelo Alvarez

By Boxing News - 06/04/2016 - Comments


By Scott Gilfoid: WBO light middleweight champion Liam Smith (22-0-1, 12 KOs) has his hopes up for him getting some big fights after he dispatches tonight’s opponent Predrag Radosevic (30-1, 11 KOs) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Smith, 27, wants to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Miguel Cotto or fight a unification match against one of the Charlo brothers.

Whether Smith actually does fight any of those guys remains to be seen. We’ve not seen Smith fight any of the big names or even any real talented contenders in the division thus far during his eight-year pro career. Given Smith’s past track record for fights, you would have to be doubtful whether he’ll suddenly start fighting the bigger names and/or more talented fighters in the division all of a sudden at this point.

I hate to say it but Smith has been kind of lacking in terms of the opposition he’s faced. I mean, he’s unbeaten still, but he also hasn’t faced anyone that I would call even a remotely good fighters. As such, I see Smith as a fighter with a 0-0 record because he’s simply not faced anyone talented enough to put on his record.

“After I come through on Saturday, it has to be a big name super fight, UK or U.S. That means either of the Charlo twins in a unification, ‘Canelo’ in Vegas or my mandatory Miguel Cotto – one of my favorite fighters – at Madison Square Garden. But I’ve a job to do on Saturday first,” said Smith.

Saul Canelo Alvarez would be inviting a lot of criticism if he faces Smith for his WBO 154lb title because the boxing world is expecting Canelo to fight IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin next. If Canelo drops down to 154 to fight Smith for his WBO strap, it would look like a weak move on his part to take the fight.

Even if Canelo were actually still fighting in the junior middleweight division rather than at middleweight for the last two years, fans would give him grief if he fights Smith rather than the talented fighters like the Charlo brothers [Jermell and Jermall], Erislandy Lara and Julian Williams. Smith is a decent fighter, but I do not rate him in the same class as those guys. Of course, it’s always possible that Smith could beat all of those guys.

We saw Tony Bellew pull off an upset in beating Ilunga Makabu last month to win the vacant WBC cruiserweight title in Liverpool. However, I think the Charlo brothers, Lara and Williams are solid fighters with more overall talent than Makabu showed against Bellew. In other words, I cannot see Smith beating any of those guys to pull off an upset like we saw with Bellew winning the WBC strap against Makabu.

Radosevic can act as the spoiler tonight against Smith. Radosevic doesn’t have the same kind of pressure on him that Smith has because he’s not the one with high hopes of getting fights against Canelo, Cotto and the Charlo brothers. All Radosevic wants to do is beat Smith so that he can capture the WBO junior middleweight title.

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If Smith isn’t focused on the task at hand tonight against Radosevic, we could see an upset. Smith didn’t look particularly impressive in his last two fights against Jimmy Kelly and John Thompson. Yeah, Smith one the fight, but he didn’t look like he was that much better than either of those guys. I mean, the fights were competitive, and they shouldn’t have been if Smith was a major talent.

Smith reminds me of one of those blue collar type fighters that wins because of hard work rather than because of him having major talent or major punching power. He’s not going to be able to shine against better fighters in the division and he probably won’t even shine tonight against Radosevic. He’ll win because he’ll get in the trenches and outwork the 31-year-old fighter.

Predrag has won his last three fights since being blitzed by Felix Sturm in a fourth round knockout to him in July 2013. Predrag’s wins since that fight have come against Andy Thiele, Giuseppe Lauri and Gabor Kovacs. I’m not sure why Predrag fought those guys instead of top contenders. I guess they were easy fights for his management to make.

Prediction for tonight’s Smith-Radosevic fight: Smith by 5th round knockout. Radosevic will get blasted out.