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Froch: Blueprint is there for Liam Smith against Canelo

Carl Froch Saul Alvarez Canelo vs. Smith Liam Smith

By Scott Gilfoid: Carl Froch questions whether it will be a wise move on WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith’s part to get into the trenches with Saul “Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) and look to slug with him this Saturday night in their fight at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.


Froch sees it as potentially a “dangerous game” if Smith chooses to get in close and punch with the 26-year-old Canelo. Froch thinks that the blueprint has already been created by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in how to beat Canelo from his win over him three years ago in 2013. The question is can a fighter like Smith follow Mayweather’s blueprint?

Smith doesn’t have Mayweather’s hand speed, reflexes, defensive skills or boxing ability. Mayweather was able to hit Canelo at will with mostly jabs and avoid his left hook counters pretty much the entire night. When Canelo finally did nail Mayweather with a huge right hand in the 9th, he was able to get on his bike and move for the last three rounds to preserve his victory. Smith and Mayweather are completely different fighters, and it would seem highly unlikely that Smith will be able to do the same thing that Mayweather did.

“The blueprint has been put down by the main man and no one can fight like – or as good – as Floyd Mayweather. It was Canelo’s only defeat and Mayweather didn’t take him on like even he usually takes people on,” said Froch to skysports.com. “Liam Smith will take him on because that’s his way, but can he box and move because that seems to be the only way to beat Canelo?”

If Miguel Cotto was able to box and move to stay in the fight for the full 12 rounds against Canelo, then I can see Smith making it the full distance against him too. Canelo isn’t able to put his punches together for sustained combinations the way he needs to for him to get knockouts. Unless he’s got a guy with a shaky chin like Amir Khan or James Kirkland, he’s not going to get too many one-punch knockouts.

Canelo usually knockouts guys that just stand there in front of him like Alfredo Angulo did in their fight a couple of years ago.

If Smith can handle Canelo’s power for 12 rounds while standing in the pocket, he could give the Mexican fighter a real beating in this fight if he throws enough punches. Smith is usually economical with his punch output. If he Smith could stand in front of Canelo and throw a lot of really hard body shots, he could wear him down. For Smith to do that, he’ll probably need to chase Canelo around the ring, because the Mexican does not like to get hit, and he fancies himself as a boxer at times.

Canelo will adopt the shoulder roll and look like an imitation Mayweather if the going gets tough. Smith would need to attack Canelo and not let him fight in spurts the way he does. Canelo needs to take rest breaks each time he lets his hands go. He’ll back off and act like he’s doing something, but he’s really just taking a breather because he’s got horrible stamina.

If Smith and his trainer Joe Gallagher have studied Canelo carefully enough to have to put together a good game plan, then it’s quite possible they’ll pull off the upset if they can knock him out. You have to remember though that the fight is in Texas where Canelo is a huge star. Smith is probably not going to get a decision in this fight, so he’s going to look for a knockout.

I do not see Smith being given a decision against a big star like Canelo no matter what he does inside the ring. Smith is the B-side going up against the No.1 pay-per-view fighter in the sport of boxing right now. It would be huge news if Smith was given a decision in this fight, but I don’t see it happening. If Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout weren’t given decisions against Canelo, then Smith won’t get one either.

“The trouble is that is not Liam’s game; he wants a fight so maybe his best chance is to get up, close and personal and take him on, then hope his power can do some damage. That though, is a dangerous game,” said Froch.

I hate to say it but Smith has no choice but to get in the trenches and look to beat Canelo at his own game on Saturday. That’s the only he wins. Canelo isn’t a true risk-taking slugger. Like I said, Canelo hates to get hit, and he won’t just stand there and slug with Liam smith for 12 rounds. As soon as Smith hits Canelo with a hard body shots, I suspect he’ll put on his track shoes and start running.

As far as Liam Smith trying to follow Mayweather’s blueprint to beat Canelo, I wouldn’t recommend him trying that. Smith is a different fighter. He needs to go with what he’s good at, which is fighting on the inside and throwing murderous body shots. That’s Smith’s game, and it’s what got him to this point. If he tries to fight like Mayweather, then he’ll probably lose, because Canelo has the faster hands and the better jab. Besides, this fight is taking place in Texas, and the boxing fans are going to be screaming each time Canelo lands anything. I cannot see the judges giving Smith a decision. I hope for his sake he knows what he’s getting himself into in this fight, because if he goes into it thinking he’s going to win a decision, then he’s kidding himself. I cannot see Smith having any chance at all of getting a decision win over the current PPV money fighter for the sport.

Smith needs to study Gennady Golovkin’s recent fight against Kell Brook and use that as the model for how he’s going to fight Canelo. he needs to stalk him and not let him escape the pressure for 12 rounds.

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