By Tim Royner: Callum Smith is still waiting to see if he’s the one that gets the golden ticket in the Saul Canelo Alvarez lottery for his next fight on May 2 in Las Vegas. The unbeaten Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) says he sees Japanese star Ryota Murata as the frontrunner to land the fight with Canelo, but he’s hoping that he picks him out of his three-fighter shortlist of opponents.
The good news for Smith is he’s only competing with Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) and Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) for the fight with Canelo. Saunders has a couple strikes against him being that he’s a southpaw, and he’s a finesse level fighter and tries to make his opponents look bad.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Osar De La Hoya didn’t sound enthused recently when asked about Canelo potentially fighting Saunders. De La Hoya made it clear that Saunders is NOT the frontrunner for Canelo’s next fight, and he doesn’t know who started that rumor that he was in the lead position.
WBA Super World super middleweight champion Smith believes that he would be a BAD style match-up for the shorter 5’8″ Canelo due to his height, reach and his punching power.
At 6’3″ Callum would present even more problems for Canelo than his recent fight against 6’0″ former WBO 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev. Even with Kovalev fighting seemingly at half power, Canelo had issues with Kovalev’s dimensions. Callum is even bigger than th e36-year-old Kovalev, younger at 29, and in his prime.
Callum views Murata as favorite to get Canelo fight
“I think Murata of Japan is the favorite to get it for the moment,” said Callum to Soccer AM at Sky Sports Boxing. “I’ll just wait and see who Alvarez picks. If not, then I’ll be happy. I’m in a good division. There’s a lot of big fights out there for me outside of Canelo Alvarez. I’m in a good position, and I’ll just sit and wait to see if I can get one of the big names.
“I think he’s the best in the sport,” said Callum on Canelo Alvarez. “He’s a very, very good fighter, but I think stylistically, styles make fights. I think I’m a bit of a bad fight for him. I’m 6’3”, and I’m a lot bigger than him, and I can punch. Style-wise, I’m not the ideal fight, but I’m not taking anything away from Canelo Alvarez.
“He’s a special fighter, and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world for a reason,” said Callum said of Canelo. “I don’t think he’s avoiding me. I just think there’s a big list of opponents that want to fight him, and he has to choose from so many. He picks whoever he wants to fight, and whoever gets the job, takes it,” said Smith.
Callum’s last fight against John Ryder doesn’t help his case in attempting to get the fight with Canelo. With U.S boxing fans never having heard of Callum, his position is further weakened on the fact that his UK fans think he was given a gift decision last November against Ryder. Right now, Callum doesn’t have enough fans even in his home country to push for him to get the Canelo fight.
Callum’s promoter Eddie Hearn is excited about matching him against Saunders. We’ll see if that happens.
Smith interested in Saunders or Jacobs if no Canelo fight
“Billy Joe Saunders is another Brit, and he’s got a world title,” said Callum when asked who else he’s interested in fighting. “He’s a good domestic fight. Daniel Jacobs is a big name over there in America, which is where I want to get my name bigger. Like I said, there’s potential big name fights out there for me.
“I’m not just [waiting on Canelo fight],” said Callum. “Yeah, I’d love that [fighting in Anfield]. I think that would definitely be a box to tick, but it needs the big opponents in the opposite corner to sell for the numbers I’d like to sell in a stadium. I’ve got a very good team, and I’ll leave it up to them. Hopefully, they can deliver, and get me a big fight,” said Smith.
Callum might have a better shot at getting a fight against Demetrius Andrade or Daniel Jacobs next, as long as Hearn can convince one of those two Americans to take the fight. Andrade wants a fight with Saunders, because he clearly views him as beatable. Jacobs might be Callum’s best chance of a fight, but it’ll be a tough fight for him.
Callum has never fought anyone as good as Jacobs, and it might be too big of a step up. If Callum couldn’t conclusively beat Ryder, then it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to handle an experienced boxer/puncher like Jacobs.