By Scott Gilfoid: It’s not looking good for WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith for his title defense tonight against Saul “Caneo” Alvarez, but former super middleweight champion Carl Froch is giving Smith a chance of winning under the right circumstances.
Froch thinks that if Smith, 28, can attack Canelo to the body early, he’ll have a chance of pulling off the upset. Froch believes that Canelo will win the fight though unless Smith can land the perfect body shot.
The problem that Smith has in this fight is he’s going against a very good puncher in Canelo, who will likely outweigh him by 10 to 15 pounds tonight when the two of them start exchanging blows at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith doesn’t think it’s a big deal that he’ll be outweighed in this fight, but I disagree with him.
I think it will be a very big deal. Canelo is like a super middleweight rather than a 154 or 160lb fighter. Smith has never fought anyone the size of Canelo before, and I don’t think he’s going to do well against the huge tank-like fighter. I don’t know how Canelo is able to dehydrate to get to 154 and 155.
It’s mind boggling that Canelo can take off those kinds of weights to get down from the 170s. We really don’t even know how heavy Canelo gets anymore after he rehydrates. His fight weights haven’t been reported lately on the night of his fights. I don’t know if Smith can beat Canelo even if they’re at the same weight though. It would be tough to do unless he got to his body and worked him over.
”If he can catch him early on with one of his power punches that is the best chance, but it is hard to go against Canelo. It could be a late finish and Liam might even take him all the way, but I have to stick with Canelo,” said Froch to skysports.com.
Canelo is the safe pick, considering that he’s got the experience, size and the home advantage in this fight. Canelo isn’t from Texas, but he’s going to have a ton of his fans rooting him on tonight at the AT&T Stadium. Smith says he’s not bothered fighting in front of hostile crowds, but he doesn’t realize that he probably wind up on the short end of the stick if the fight goes to the cards.
The three judges are going to be hearing all the cheering for Canelo each time he lands anything, and they’re only human. If they’re hearing screaming each time Canelo lands and nothing when Smith connects, then who do you think they’re going to be giving rounds to? When Canelo fought Austin Trout several years ago in Texas, the judges were giving Canelo round after round in the first half of the fight despite the fact that Trout was out-landing him by a wide margin. The fans were cheering each time Canelo would land a rare shot, and it made it seem like he was winning the fight. If watch a replay of that fight and turn down the sound, it looks like Trout was the better fighter on the night, but the cheering for Canelo gave a distorted image of who the better fighter was.
“I can see Liam coming on really strong in the second half. We know it will be pro-Canelo out there but I think Liam has the attributes to take this,” said Matthew Macklin to skysports.com.
I think Macklin is right about Smith being able to take control over the fight in the 2nd half of the contest, but he’s going to need to be able to get to the second of the fight for him to make that happen. I’m not sure if Smith can get past the first six rounds. If he gets tagged by one of Canelo’s big shots early on, I think get banged out in quick time. Canelo will have the crowd cheering him on and the adrenaline he’ll get from them will help him find some stamina in his body to finish the job. But for the sake of argument if Smith makes it past the 6th round, then I see Canelo in a world of hurt tonight.
Heck, the judges can give Canelo a controversial decision, but I think he’ll take a bad beating from Smith if it goes the full 12 rounds. Yeah, Canelo’s stock will drop BIG TIME from this fight if it goes the distance. Smith can claim victory even if he’s robbed, because the objective boxing fans will see for themselves that he was the better man. I mean, I don’t see Canelo giving Smith a rematch unfortunately. If Canelo wins, then I see him moving on no matter how controversial the outcome is. If he wasn’t willing to give rematches to Lara and Trout after those two controversial decision wins, then he sure as heck isn’t going to bother giving Smith a win.
Smith’s stock will go up though and he’ll be able to move on as if he did didn’t lose the fight. Smith should have the opportunity to get fights against top fighters in the 154lb division like the Charlo brothers, Lara and Demetrius Andrade if he wants those fights. I don’t think Golovkin would bother fighting Smith, but maybe someone like Kell Brook might show interest eventually in fighting him. I think Smith would easily beat Brook if that fight gets made. After seeing a clip of the Smith-Brook sparring session, I have no doubts that Smith would stop Brook with body shots.