Liam Smith: Canelo avoided Golovkin to go back to 154
By Dan Ambrose: WBO junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) is not planning on losing his WBO title against challenger Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) on September 17 when the two of them face each other in a showdown in the 154lb division. Smith sees this fight as one that he absolutely will win, and he feels it’ll be a huge victory when he can add Canelo’s name to his resume of other important wins. Smith says Canelo avoided the fight against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and moved back down to junior middleweight for the fight against him. Smith sees this as a huge mistake by Canelo, because he plans on beating him.
Smith, 27, didn’t just take this fight for the big payday that comes along with it. He took the fight because he believes he can beat Canelo, and he plans on doing just that.
“It would be huge, one of the biggest,” Smith said to ESPN.com. “It would be the biggest one I can remember because we know how big of a name Canelo is at the moment. Floyd Mayweather is gone so he is the biggest name in the sport at the minute. It’s a massive win for me when I get it.”
There’s one thing that Smith has to remember when he gets inside the ring with the highly popular Canelo. You can’t just beat him. You have to make it very conclusive if you want to win by a decision. We’ve already see past Canelo opponents Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Jorge Juarez fail to get victories in fights they should have won in my opinion. Even Floyd Mayweather Jr. found himself on the receiving end of a weird 114-114 score by one of the judges in his fight against Canelo in 2013.
“I do think he’s been promoted and looked after very well. He’s had his matches picked very well,” said Smith about Canelo.
Canelo has fought a lot of guys that were lighter than him in the weight department. Those years where Canelo was fighting welterweights is a prime example. He was heavier than many of the guys he fought, and that made it easy for him. He did fight some tough guys in Mayweather and Lara, but he lost to both of them – or should have lost to both of them.
Canelo never fought Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, two fighters his same size. Of the welterweights that have been picked out for Canelo, they weren’t the dangerous ones. Golden Boy didn’t match him against Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence or Shawn Porter. I think there’s a very good chance that Canelo would lose to all of those fighters.
If a guy like Amir Khan was able to dominate Canelo in the first four rounds of their fight last May before running out of gas in the 5th, then it’s safe to assume that Brook, Spence, Porter and Thurman would have a very good chance of beating him. Golden Boy probably could have matched Canelo against all of those fighters if they wanted to, but they didn’t and you have to see that as careful match-making. Like I said, Golden Boy hasn’t matched Canelo against Golovkin or Jacobs. They haven’t even matched him against Curtis Stevens, Chris Eubank Jr., Tureano Johnson or David Lemieux.
“Canelo avoided Golovkin to go back to 154 and I think he made the mistake of going back at 154 and choosing me,” said Smith. “Kirkland and Khan are chinny fighters,” Smith said. “I am not like that. Canelo is coming down from 155 to 154 and I am a solid 154-pounder, not a small 154. Size won’t make a difference in this fight. He is in for a shock.”
Smith isn’t a small junior middleweight, but he’s also not as heavy as Canelo. He’s going to need to push a fast pace and look to take Canelo into the deeper rounds of the fight where his stamina could betray him. Canelo will likely dehydrate down from the low 180s to get down to 154 for the weigh-in. We’re probably talking about Canelo dropping 26 pounds to make weight the day before the fight, and then rehydrating overnight to come into the fight at roughly 180lbs, give or take a few pounds.
Smith will probably be giving away a considerable amount of weight in this fight. However, he can punch and if he focuses his shots to the body of Canelo, then he’ll have a chance of winning. It’s nearly impossible to hurt Canelo with head shots unless you’re someone like Golovkin, so I wouldn’t waste my time throwing head shots if I were Liam Smith. I think that’ll be a huge waste of time if Smith focuses his attention there because he’s not going to be able to do much.
A loss to Smith will be a big setback for Canelo. He’ll need to go back to the rebuilding stage again with his career like we saw after his loss to Mayweather.
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- Eddie Hearn still says Canelo could face Callum Smith or Saunders in 2020
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- ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence
- Eddie Hearn blew chance to ink Tyson Fury in 2017
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