Canelo to fight at middleweight in December
By Dan Ambrose: If Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) gets by unbeaten WBO junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) in their fight on September 17 on HBO PPV, Canelo plans on moving up to the full weight of the middleweight division at 160lbs in December in a fight that will be shown on regular HBO. This fight will get Canelo ready for a much bigger match against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) next fall.
As for whom the 25-year-old Canelo will be facing in December, it’s quite possible he’ll be challenging WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders or fellow Golden Boy Promotions fighter David Lemieux. Saunders would be the likely opponent for Canelo, because he’s fighting on the Canelo vs. Liam Smith undercard on September 17.
There’s no point in Saunders fighting on that undercard if he’s not going to be getting the Canelo fight in December.
“That’s our goal. That’s our plan,” Alvarez said to ringtv.com about him moving up to middleweight in December. “That’s what we have in mind for December, going up a division. But we’ll see what happens. But that’s our plan.”
Canelo’s fight against Liam Smith will be taking place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It’s kind of a crazy fight if you think about it because it won’t help Canelo’s popularity because he’s fighting an unknown guy, a paper champion in the minds of a lot of boxing fans. Liam Smith isn’t seen as the best or even the third best fighter at 154.
Canelo is taking a weaker fighter for his WBO junior middleweight belt. The fight also doesn’t help Canelo in getting ready to fight at the full weight of the 160lb division because he’s moving downwards from 155 to 154 instead of upwards.
It just seems like Golden Boy wanted a paper title for Canelo. It’s possible that they believe that the casual boxing fans, which have little understanding of the sport, will be impressed in seeing Canelo destroy Liam Smith to win a title. With Canelo winning a title, the casual fans might be more impressed than if he were to fight a contender.
If Canelo is immediately seen winning another title by beating WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in December, some fans will be even more impressed. These fans might not realize that Saunders isn’t considered to be the No.1 middleweight champion or even the No.2 guy. Saunders is arguably behind Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs at middleweight.
“It’s just one pound,” said WBO light welterweight champion Terence Crawford in talking to esnewsporeting.com about Canelo moving down in weight to junior middleweight for the Liam Smith fight. ”He was always a 154 pounder blowing up to 180. He never left the division. He just did that [beat Miguel Cotto at 155 to become WBC middleweight champion] to become middleweight champion or whatever champions he wanted to be at for his own weight.”