By Dan Ambrose: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) is starting to sound like a parrot with the way he’s repeating over and over that his boxing fans will be getting a “big surprise” when they tune in for his title shot against WBO junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) on September 17 on HBO pay-per-view.
Smith is an underdog in this fight, so it’s hard to see it as kind of surprise if Canelo beats him. A surprise would be Canelo losing the fight or if him making a big announcement of a fight against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. But beating Smith won’t be a surprise.
“I think people are going to be very surprised that day,” said Canelo to Fighthpe.com. “We are going to put on a great event and a great fight. We will give everyone a big surprise. I want people to be happy because these are very important dates for me. Mexican Independence Day is very important to me to represent my country and we will give everyone a big surprise. It’s very important for me,” said Canelo.
Canelo’s “big surprise” is likely to be one of these things:
A. Knocking out Liam Smith
B. Golovkin fight announcement
C. Canelo saying he’ll fight Daniel Jacobs
I think someone needs to give Canelo a cracker because he’s starting to sound like a parrot or at the very least, a talking Mynah bird. Canelo repeating himself about the boxing fans being in for a “big surprise” comes off to me like he’s trying desperately to get the fans to purchase his fight against Liam Smith for $70 on HBO pay-per-view.
Canelo shouldn’t try so hard. If the fans want to see it, then they’ll order it the week of the fight. But they’ll need to make up their minds whether it’s a PPV worthy fight or not. Right now, Canelo vs. Smith seems like it wasn’t given the right designation by HBO. They should have shown this fight on regular HBO Championship Boxing rather than on pay-per-view. If they had done that, then maybe Canelo wouldn’t have to talk about “big surprises” so much because there wouldn’t be pressure to try and sell the fight.
If Canelo wants to sell his fight with Smith, he needs to be bringing up Golovkin’s name in every interview, because Liam Smith’s name doesn’t appear to be registering with the boxing fans on the Richter scale. Golden Boy should have coached Canelo in what to do to get fans interested in his fight against Smith. Mentioning Liam Smith’s name is likely bringing this response from the fans: ‘Liam Smith? Who’s that? Why Canelo fighting this guy. Where’s Golovkin?’
Canelo has the chance to give his fans a real surprise on September 17 if he announces the Golovkin fight immediately before the fight. I think Canelo needs to make the announcement before the fight, because it would go viral on Twitter and likely lead to a lot of boxing fans purchasing his fight against Smith. If Canelo waits until after the Smith fight to announce the Golovkin fight, it’ll be too late to get fans to buy his fight against Smith.
The best way for Canelo to weasel more PPV buys for the Smith fight is to tell the fans that he’s finally made up his mind that he’s going to fight Golovkin. I’m not sure if the fans will believe Canelo as far as they can throw him, because he already got the fans excited about a fight against Golovkin earlier this year when Canelo challenged Golovkin while in the ring after his 6th round knockout win over welterweight Amir Khan.
Canelo didn’t agree to fight Golovkin though. Canelo gave up his middleweight title rather than taking the fight against the Kazakhstan fighter. That’s why I think the boxing fans are going to be still skeptical if he suddenly starts talking in a bold manner while announcing a fight against GGG.
I don’t Canelo’s fight against Smith is going to sell at all, period. It’s the wrong fight for HBO PPV in my opinion. I’m not sure if was Golden Boy’s bright idea to put this fight on PPV or the networks. It looks bad because it’s not a great fight even though Smith is technically a world champion.
Fights that are designated for PPV should be left for really important fights involving two stars or two very talented fighters. In the case of Canelo-Smith, it’s missing both of those ingredients to be a PV worthy fight. Smith isn’t really talented and he’s not a star. The 27-year-old Smith is just a guy that beat a fighter named John Thompson to win the WBO 154lb title last year. John Thompson is a guy that was shown on ESPN in the past in their BoxCino tourney.
Thompson recently lost to former Golovkin knockout victim Willie Monroe Jr. and looked really bad in that loss. Smith would be a good opponent for someone like Austin Trout or Willie Nelson. Those goes against Smith would be good fights. But for Canelo to be fighting Liam Smith, it reeks of cherry picking in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, and that’s bad news.
You’ve got to hope for the sake of the fans that Canelo vs. Smith is a good fight, because it’s a pay-per-view fight, and the co-feature bout is a dreadful one between Willie Monroe Jr. and Gabriel Rosado. Monroe isn’t ranked in the top 15, and Rosado is a near bottom fringe contender in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings.
Rosado has an entertaining fighting style, but he’s not a relevant fighter in the middleweight division. Golden Boy has a lot of fighters. It would have been more interesting if they had put someone like David Lemieux in the co-feature fighting someone like Curtis Stevens. That would have been a good fight. I could see Lemieux getting knocked out again, and it would have made for a more exciting fight than the main event between Canelo and Smith.