Callum Smith vs. Canelo Alvarez possible for December
By Charles Brun: Callum Smith is counting on getting a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in December or sooner, according to his trainer Joe Gallagher. Canelo will be fighting on September 14, and the leading candidates are Demetrius Andrade and Gennady Golovkin. The 6’3″ Smith is not in the equation for Canelo’s September fight.
Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing told Gallagher that WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) could be moving back up to 168 to face Callum, 29, in December, but not September.
Canelo will be fighting in September, but it now looks like it won’t be against Smith (26-0, 19 KOs). However, Gallagher is still holding out hope that Canelo will take the fight with Callum in September. He reasons that if Canelo doesn’t defend his WBA 168 pound title in September, then he’ll be stripped of the title by the World Boxing Association.
Callum vs. Canelo possible for December says Gallagher
“Last time I spoke to Eddie, he said there was a possibility, it could be December. Definitely isn’t this September, but I just think to myself ‘Who would Canelo fight, if it wasn’t this September?’ He has to defend that super middleweight belt of his that he’s got, otherwise it becomes vacant,” said Gallahger.
It’s difficult to imagine the WBA stripping a popular fighter like Canelo so soon of his 168 pound title, because they would be shooting themselves in the foot. The top two contenders in the WBA’s rankings at 168 are #1 John Ryder and #2 Chris Eubank Jr. Neither fighter is anywhere close to being as popular as Canelo. Those guys are decent fighters, but they’re super popular like Canelo. If the WBA wants to strip Canelo, they can do that, but they’d likely end up with one of those guys as their new WBA ‘regular’ champion.
Callum Smith coming off of win over Hassan N’Dam
In Smith’s last fight, he destroyed middleweight Hassan N’Dam by a third round knockout on June 1 on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York. Hearn received criticism from boxing fans for putting Smith in an obvious mismatch against an aging 35-year-old former WBA ‘regular middleweight champion N’Dam (37-4, 21 KOs) instead of a fighter picked from the 168 pound division.
Hearn selected an opponent that the U.S hardcore boxing fans were familiar with in N’Dam for Smith to destroy, but it wasn’t much of a fight. N’Dam had recently held the WBA World middleweight title in 2017 before losing it to Ryota Murata by a seventh round stoppage in the same year.
Canelo vs. Golovkin III is a possibility for September
Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is one of the potential options for Canelo to fight in September. DAZN is interested in the Golovkin-Canelo trilogy fight taking place in September, because it would increase their subscribers. However, Canelo isn’t acting enthusiastic about another fight with GGG. If those two don’t face each other in September, then WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade has a good shot of getting the Canelo fight. Andrade has the WBO 160 pound title, and that’s the last belt not in Canelo’s possession. He holds three of the other middleweight titles. If Canelo beats Andrade, he’ll be the unified middleweight champion.
Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith wouldn’t be a hugely popular fight in the U.S
If Canelo fights Callum in September, it’s not likely going to interest a lot of the casual boxing fans, because they don’t know who the British fighter is. This would be another Canelo vs. Rocky Fielding type of fight.
Canelo would be facing Callum just for his own personal goals in wanting to prove that he’s the best fighter in the 168 pound division. Callum is viewed as #1 at 168 by many fans. However, even if Canelo beats Callum, there would be boxing fans that would say that he didn’t prove that he could beat the other talented super middleweights. Canelo would still need to beat David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders and Anthony Dirrell.
Callum and Andrade are risky fights for Canelo
Alvarez will be taking a risk in September whether he fights GGG or not. Callum and Andrade are very good fighters, and they might have too much size for the shorter 5’8″ Canelo. Andrade is 6’1″, and Callum 6’3″. Canelo would be giving up a great deal of height against both of those fighters, and it could be a little too much for him at this point. Alvarez might not have a ton of interest in fighting the 5’10 1/2″ GGG again, but at least he’s someone closer to his height than Andrade and Callum. Moreover, Golovkin is older at 37, and he’s showing signs of slowing down. Canelo has already shown that he an beat Golovkin, so he knows he can defeat him. If Canelo faces Andrade or Callum next, anything is possible with those guys. They’re in their prime, and they have the height and reach going for them against Alvarez.
Callum has hurt his popularity by not being active
Smith’s popularity was off the charts after he knocked out George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament last September. Instead of taking advantage of that, Smith sat out of the ring for nine months before returning against N’Dam. That was a mistake on Callum’s part, because he should have been back inside the ring much sooner against a top super middleweight. Is that Eddie Hearn’s fault that Callum sat idle for so long? I don’t know. What is clear is Hearn picked out N’dam for Callum to fight, and that was a horrible choice.
Smith will likely fight a tune-up in September
Instead of taking on a talented super middleweight next, Callum will likely take another tune-up when he fights in September. Smith will mistakenly think that he has the Canelo fight in the bag for December, so he’ll probably take a soft opponent as a tune-up in September. What we’ll likely see then is Canelo facing someone else in December instead of Callum. It’ll start what could be a seemingly endless phase of Callum taking one tune-up after another while waiting for Canelo to fight him in December, and then in 2020. In other words, Callum will be doing exactly what Kell Brook did in taking tune-up fights waiting for Amir Khan.