Canelo Alvarez: Is there anyone that can beat him?
By Aragon Garcia: Canelo Alvarez remains the ‘Face of Boxing’ with seemingly no real threats to his reign on the horizon. He’s already beaten the #1 fighter at 160 in Gennadiy Golovkin, and the #1 guy at 175 in Sergey Kovalev.
With wins over Kovalev and Golovkin, Canelo has cemented his position as the top fighter in those weight classes.
The last hurdle for Canelo is to achieve supremacy at 168 against the top guys in that weight class. The fighters that that Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KO) needs to beat to become ‘The Man’ at super middleweight are these fighters:
- Callum Smith
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Caleb Plant
- David Benavidez
If Canelo beats Callum and Saunders, most boxing fans will give him the #1 position as the top 168-pounder in the division without him needing to fight Benavidez and Plant.
People won’t hold it against Canelo if he fails to take on Benavidez and Plant, seeing that those guys are with Premier Boxing Champions and compete on a different network platform.
Canelo’s three recent conquests over Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, and Golovkin has done a lot for his legacy. Those were the big three in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, and Canelo had little problems beating them all.
Callum Smith has size to trouble Canelo
“Canelo is the #1 guy at 160 pounds. He has a secondary title at 168 pounds, and he just beat Sergey Kovalev at 175. And he hasn’t lost since losing to Floyd Mayweather back in 2013,” said Chris Mannix at DAZN. “Ryan Garcia says ‘NO one’ is going to beat Canelo. So, looking at the landscape, who out there would give Canelo the most trouble?”
“I don’t see him fighting at 175 lbs, and I don’t see him at 160. So we have to 168 at super middleweight,” said Sergio Mora to DAZN. “I think the world of Callum Smith. That’s the guy that can give Canelo a lot of problems. He’s tall at 6’3”, he’s an excellent body puncher, he’s a technician, he comes from a fighting family, and he checks off all the boxes.
“He also has a great trainer in his corner as well. So these are things that you need to be the B-side to be that adversary for that A-side that Canelo needs. I think Callum Smth is just that,” said Mora.
WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) doesn’t possess an inside game, and he’s a stationary fighter that depends too much on his power game. Until recently, Callum didn’t need to improve his game by using his feet, but John Ryder exposed him.
Ryder walked Callum down and worked him over on the inside for 12 rounds last November. Callum still won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but it was a questionable conquest, and some boxing fans felt he received a hometown decision.
Weak resume for Callum
“Yeah, I think Callum Smith is impressive. He’s also a monster 168-pounder, 6’3″, and probably weighs north of 180 on fight nights if not even larger, and he has established himself as the top 168-pounder in all of boxing,” said Mannix. “But I still have questions about Callum Smith that largely point to his resume with those questions.
“He has really one quality win there, and that’s a win in the World Boxing Super Series final against George Groves. That turned out to be George Groves’ final fight as a professional boxer. Other than that, it’s kind of B and C-level opponents.
“His two most recent opponents were Hassan N’Dam, who was a blown up 160-pounder fighting at 168, and, of course, most recently John Ryder, who Smith had a lot of problems with. That’s not to say that Smith wouldn’t rise to the occasion if he fought Canelo, but the evidence that I have is Smith isn’t quite proven at that weight class.”
Callum’s resume is weak and filled with a lot of obscure fighters that few boxing fans have seen or heard of before. These are Callum’s best wins:
- John Ryder
- George Groves – *fought with shoulder problem
- Nieky Holzken
- Erik Skoglund
- Luke Blackledge
- Rocky Fielding
- Christopher Rebrasse
There aren’t enough good opponents on Smith’s record to judge whether he’s got the talent to beat Canelo. But based on how poor Smith looked against Holzken and Ryder, you have to conclude that he would be out of his leave against Canelo. It’s too bad Canelo didn’t choose Callum to fight next instead of Saunders.
Demetrius Andrade a threat to Alvarez
“The guy that stands out to me that would give Canelo the most problems is Demetrius Andrade,” said Mannix. “I know a lot of the things I said about Smith apply to Andrade. Andrade has even fewer quality wins than Smith does. He doesn’t have a World Boxing Super Series final on his resume.
“His best win is maybe Maciej Sulecki, who he beat last year, and Sulecki is nothing better than a world title challenger. But Andrade, to me, has such universal respect in the boxing community. When I talk to Shawn Porter, he says the #1 guy in boxing is Demetrius Andrade.
“When I talked to Terence Crawford, he said something similar [Anrade #1 in boxing]. And when I talked to Brian McIntyre, the trainer for Terence Crawford, he said something similar. So, I got to go with people in boxing, who give Andrade enormous respect, and I think Andrade’s counter-punching style would present huge problems for Canelo,” said Mora.
The 6’0″ Andrade has the size and the boxing skills to give Canelo problems, but his poor stamina could be his undoing. In Andrade’s recent fight against Maciej Sulecki last June, he gassed out in the later rounds, and his legs looked rubbery.
The 31-year-old Andrade is the boogeyman at middleweight, the guy that no one wants to fight due to his power and slick style of fighting. Even Golovkin shied away from fighting him when he was in his prime. Why GGG didn’t want to fight Andrade is the primary question. It’s possible that Golovkin saw the talent of Andrade, and decided on the spot that he wanted no part of him.
Andrade not impressing fans
“Hey, I’m one of those people in boxing, and I respect Demetrius Andrade,” said Mora. “I know he’s the goods, but it’s hard for him to sell those goods to the public and the basic fans and the casuals. Those are the people that are going to buy tickets to watch you and subscribe to watch you.
“So those are the people he needs to convince, and he’s not doing that. You criticize him for not going for the knockout, and we criticize him for that as well. But we know he’s got the goods as a boxer.
“Callum Smith, on the other hand, he’s a little more popular. He’s undefeated just like Demetrius Andrade is, and they’re both young. He’s the same age as Canelo at 28, 29-years-old. I just think stylistically; it’s going to be exciting because Canelo fought a big tall guy in Sergey Kovalev, much bigger and much stronger.
“Callum Smith fought a much smaller fighter in John Ryder, and they both kind of had their struggles going into that fight. So I think they’re going to match up as far as who they fought, who they faced, and how they were able to beat them,” said Mora.
Andrade hasn’t been knocking out the better fighters he’s faced, and he had a hard time with the Sulecki mentioned above and Brian Castano.
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