By Dan Ambrose: Callum Smith believes he’s going to come out victorious this Saturday night when he defends his WBA Super World super middleweight title against heavy favorite Canelo Alvarez at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Alvarez vs. Smith will be shown on DAZN.
Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) says he’s always known that he would beat Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) since seeing him fight, and he’s confident that he won’t be on the receiving end of a controversial decision like others have.
The 6’3″ Smith will have the height, reach, and power advantages in this fight, and he plans on going for the finish if he gets Canelo in trouble.
Smith has reminded himself to view Canelo the same as any other fighter, which means if he hits him with his full power, he’ll hurt him.
Smith needs to start fast
The 30-year-old Callum’s training team has come up with a good game plan that he plans on following, and not getting sloppy by coming out guns blazing.
With that said, it might be a wise thing to do for Smith to start fast on Canelo in the early going because those are the rounds that the Mexican star generally puts in the bank in his fights. Canelo usually has problems in the championship rounds when gases out, and loses a lot of rounds.
Callum has the fight he’s always wanted
“I finally got the fight I wanted, and I’m in a really good place mentally and physically, and I’m ready to perform,” said Callum Smith during Thursday’s final news conference with Canelo.
“I’m excited and I’m in the position where I’ve always wanted to be in. I always wanted to be a world champion, and I know there would be a few rocky moments along the way.
“And I became a world champion, and I don’t think I knew how good I really was. I kind of did it my own way, and I never had a tough test along the way.
“And I made a lot of tough fights on paper easy. I sat down and asked, ‘What more do I want? I won a world title.
“Now I want the biggest fights possible.’ I want to test myself against the biggest names in the sport, and Canelo is certainly done that. He’s proven himself at multiple weights, and he’s a pound-for-pound best.
“I believe I can compete at that level also. I’ve proven I’m a world-class fighter, and now I want to prove that I can compete at the elite level,” said Callum.
Canelo is the money fight for Smith. It doesn’t get any better than this for Callum, and he’s got to take advantage of it.
None of the other top fighters at 168 will bring Smith the kind of money and attention that he’s getting for Saturday’s fight against Canelo.
Smith: I’ve always believed I can beat Canelo
“I’m not just a big lump with limited ability,” said Smith. “I’ve got skills. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now if I didn’t have skills and ability.
“Tactically, I’ve got to be spot on. I just got to perform and do exactly what I can. I’ve watched Canelo over the years, and I’ve enjoyed watching him.
“And I’ve always believed that if I could get in there, I could beat him, and I’ve got the style to do it. I have a chance to prove it. And I like my chances in this fight. I wouldn’t call for a fight that I believe I lose.
“I’ve been asking for this fight because I believe I win it. If you look at social media, a lot of people don’t give me a chance in this fight. But I’ve been here before It gives me a little bit more motivation.
“I deserve to be in this fight, and I’m #1 in the world. I’ve worked really hard to be in the position I’m at. I wanted this fight regardless of where it was at in the world. I wanted the biggest fights possible.
“The minute he started campaigning at 168, I knew I had t keep winning. The only fight that made sense was me, and I made my way to #1 in the division. I finally got that fight, but I’m not here just to be involved in a superstar fight.
“And I want to win. I want to remain undefeated, I want to stay world champion. I still have more world titles I want to win, and I believe I win another one this weekend,” said Callum Smith.
It’s easy to see why Smith believes he can beat Canelo, considering how much bigger he is. Smith is bigger, stronger and he has a lot of different ways of winning the fight.
If Smith doesn’t do well on the inside against Canelo, he can always take it to the outside and utilize his long reach and height to jab him.
Canelo is a classic counter puncher, but he’s helpless when his taller and longer-armed opponents jab him from the outside. Alvarez’s best weapon is his left hook, and the only way he lands that shot is if his opponents are in close.
Canelo won’t be able to do that if Smith is on the outside, jabbing and throwing bombs.
Canelo understands the risk he’s taking
“Thank God, we were able to make this fight in 2020, and hopefully, we’ll end it with a big bang and close it out a champ,” said Canelo.
“Yes, I like taking risks. Taking this fight is a risk, fighting the #1 at 168 pounds. So these are challenges for me, and I continue to bring challenges forward.
“I like risks. I like challenges and continue to making history. Yes, we know that he’s tall and that he has great boing qualities, and that makes him dangerous.
“But with my experience and the level of my boxing, we’re ready for this and to continue making history and taking risks like this. This is why I’m here,” said Canelo.
It’s a big risk for Canelo because he’s facing his first true talent since removing out of the 160-lb division.
Canelo has fought only three times since moving up in weight, and those fights were against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Rocky Fielding, and Sergey Kovalev.
Although Kovalev was a good fighter seven years ago back in 2013, he was shot by the time Canelo fought him in 2019. Callum is the first true talent that Alvarez will have faced, and he might not be ready for this type of fighter.
Callum not worried about being robbed
“I believe if I dominate and win rounds well, I’ll get a fair shake with the judges,” said Callum said when asked if he thinks he can win a decision against Alvarez.
“In every fight, I try to stick to the tactics. With my power, I can hurt anyone in the world. I’m a good finisher. I always get rid of people when I hurt them.
“Tactically, I never go in guns blazing swinging for a knockout, but it’s always there in the back of my mind. I’m quite spiteful when I get someone hurt.
“I’ve got to see Canelo as any other fighter. I’m a world champion, and I believe in my own ability and I believe I can beat anyone,” said Smith.
Callum should be at least a little worried about being on the receiving end of a controversial decision because Canelo has had so many controversial decisions go his way.
One thing that Smith has going for him is his punching power. Canelo generally is the one that lands the cleaner shots in his fights that have been close, but that might not be the case against Smith.
He’s going to be landing even bigger shots than him, and the judges won’t be able to give rounds to Alvarez because of him having an edge of cleaner-landing shots.
Gennadiy Golovkin was too slow, and he put too much energy into targeting Canelo’s head.
It proved to be difficult for GGG to connect with his headshots against Canelo, and he had to take some of the power off his shots for them to land.
If Smith can land his power shots with a high percentage, he should be able to win rounds, and possibly get a decision if he fails t knock him out.
Alvarez will go for a knockout if the opportunity is there
“Yes, that’s what we’re here for. It’s going to be an explosive fight and a very good fight,” said Canelo. “If the knockout opportunity arises, then, yes, I will take that. Fans always like to see a fight end in a knockout, so if the opportunity arises, I will take it,” said Canelo.
If Canelo does go for a knockout, he’s going to need to be careful because Smith’s left hook is powerful.
We saw what happened when George Groves attempted to brawl with Callum in 2018. Groves got caught by a big left hook from Smith and quickly finished off.
In Canelo’s last fight against Sergey Kovalev, he was able to knock out the aging Russian fighter after he gassed out. Up until that moment, the fight looked like it could go either way.
Smith has better stamina than Kovalev, and he’s not likely to gas in the same way he did in the later rounds. If Smith is still fighting with a lot of aggression late, it could be bad for Canelo because he fades badly in the second half of his contests.