Callum Smith says Canelo Alvarez was intentionally targeting his left arm
By Dan Ambrose: Callum Smith complained after the fight that Canelo Alvarez had deliberately targeted his left arm to throw his punches last Saturday night in their main event fight on DAZN.
Canelo expertly defused the big power-punching Smith’s offense to defeat him by a 12 round unanimous decision at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Canelo’s focus on throwing his right-hand power shots to the left arm of Smith resulted in him suffering a detached left bicep, which took away his ability to throw hooks with that arm.
So that fans know, Callum’s main weapon in his arsenal of power punches is his left hook. Without the ability to throw his left hook, Callum’s offense was effectively neutralized by Canelo.
Smith says he was still able to jab without any issues, but his left hook was gone.
Callum also admits that he had a difficult time lifting up his left arm to block shots, and that made things more difficult.
In the 12th, Canelo laughed at Smith, asking him, ‘Is your arm sore?’ after he’d noticed how swollen it was.
Callum Smith: Canelo was aiming at my left arm
“I’m obviously disappointed, I’ve lost for the first time in my career, and it’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Callum Smith to Boxing Social about his defeat to Canelo. “I said it was intentional.
“After the first round, he was aiming for my [left] arm. He has every right to keep throwing going for my arm, but after round four, I told Johnny, ‘My arm is f****.’ He took away my left hook, which is my best shot.
“Whether that was a plan on their part, it worked. When he was throwing right hooks against me and hitting me in the arm, it was making my arm drop a little rather than being able to return with it.
“But I still jabbed with it. He didn’t take my whole game away from me. He took that one shot [left hook] away from me. Credit to Canelo. I think he knew what he was doing.
“In the 12th round, he looked at the swelling and started laughing, and said, ‘Is it sore?’ So it was experience on his behalf that he took away probably my best shot, but again, it’s not an excuse.
“If I had two arms throughout the whole fight, would I have won the fight? Probably not. He was just a little bit too good for me on the night,” said Smith.
If Canelo’s targeting of Smith’s left arm bothered him so much, he should have gotten a clue and stayed off the ropes. Smith large portions of each round covering up against the ropes and staying out of range.
If you look at how Floyd Mayweather Jr fought Canelo, he stayed in the center of the ring, and he didn’t back up against the ropes.
For whatever reason, Smith stayed on the ropes, which made it easy for Canelo to target his left arm for his punches.
If you compare how Callum fought Canelo to how he fought his previous opponent John Ryder, he used the same game plan. Callum backed up against the ropes throughout the Ryder fight and let him pound away t him.
Smith says Alvarez never hurt him
“Joe was just doing it to get a reaction from me to get a big round from me,” said Callum in talking about his trainer Joe Gallagher talking about wanting to potentially stop the contest after he took punishment in the ninth.
“But he never hurt me once in the whole fight. He hit me with one decent body shot where we broke through at the same time. I landed a head shot, and he landed a body one, and I felt it a little.
“Other than that, I caught a lot on the elbows. I’d still be fighting now. He tried his best to get rid of me. He was loading up with big shots towards the end.
“I never ever felt any of them. He was just a little bit too accurate for me and a little too good for me. But he was never hurting me, so I was never in the position to pull out of the fight.
“If I was ever going to pull out, it was probably because of my arm. That was hurting more than anything else. But he [Gallagher] was just trying to get a reaction from me [by threatening to stop the fight], and I responded to it well.
“I said I wanted to be in the fight, and I probably had a better round in the next round. No, he was never close to getting me out of there.
“I don’t know. I’ve been out for a long time,” said Callum Smith when asked what’s next for him. “It’s been a long year for everyone. I was number one in the world and at the top of the mountain.
“Now I’ve been knocked off, and I need to see what I’m going to do. I need to sit down with my team and decide what I’m going to do next,” said Callum.
Canelo was throwing single shots, and Smith was able to brace for the impact. If Canelo had thrown more combinations, he would have increased his chances for a knockout.
Canelo showed respectable power, but his inability to throw combinations is what allowed Callum to go the distance. The reason why Canelo wasn’t throwing combinations is that he’s got major stamina problems.
Like many wide-body fighters, Alvarez runs out of gas when he has to fight at a fast pace. If Smith had the sense enough to fight in an all-out manner of throwing nonstop punches, he would have worn Canelo out.
Unfortunately, Smith has poor stamina as well and can’t fight like that. It’ll take a modern-day Aaron Pryor or Nigel Benn type of fighter to beat Canelo that throws nonstop punches and gives him no chance to catch his breath.
Canelo not a big puncher at 168
“People say, ‘You lost to the best fighter on the planet,’ but that doesn’t make it any easier. I come here, and all my ambitions are winning,” Callum Smith said.
“And I believed I was the best fighter in the world at this weight. I genuinely believed that. He was good. He was a clever fighter. I don’t think he’s really the best to me.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) December 20, 2020
“He was probably too good for me on the night, and I have no problems in saying that. His power wasn’t massive. He was a decent puncher. I expected bigger. I probably overestimated his power.
“It was more his present. He always keeps you thinking about what comes next. Before you know it, he’s closed the gap down without throwing a punch.
“His jab was pretty good for a smaller person. It was the biggest surprise for me,” said Smith
Canelo has never been a big puncher during his 15-year pro career, and that was lost on a lot of boxing fans. The guys that Canelo has knocked out have for the most part had a history of being stopped.
Fighters that Canelo has stopped over the years:
- Amir Khan
- James Kirkland
- Sergey Kovalev
- Rocky Fielding
- Kermit Cintron
Callum: Canelo was so hard to hit clean
He was a clever fighter and so hard to hit clean. You’re throwing and get hit him clean, and you’re throwing and missing,” said Callum. “You can’t really commit to your shots because you figure they’re going to miss anyway. That was probably his biggest asset.
“He’s so hard to hit clean when you’re letting your shots go at him,” said Smith about his difficulties trying to land cleanly on Canelo.
“Even the ones you do land, he kind of rides and takes the power out of them. That kind of deflates you a little bit. You don’t feel like you’re putting a dent in him. It was good to be in there with him.
“I feel a better version of me would have been a better fight. His power wasn’t more than I expected. I probably expected a little bit more. His power was decent.
“He tried his best to get rid of me, but he never hurt me. He closed the gap without ding anything, and he always keeps you thinking.
“He’s got so many tricky shots, and you don’t know what’s coming next. He was so hard to hit clean.
“I was throwing my big power shots, but he was just riding and rolling. I’m disappointed. I lost my world title that I worked so hard to get. In the long run, I lost to a good fighter,” said Smith in talking about his loss to Alvarez.
The lack of hand speed or Smith compounded his problems in trying to hit Canelo with his power shots. To hit Canelo with any consistency, you’ve got to have speed.
If Smith had a good jab, he would have had a good chance of dominating Canelo if had used movement and not backed up against the ropes all night.
Smith fought a poorly thought out fight with the way he was laying on the ropes instead of moving the way Floyd Mayweather Jr did in beating Canelo.
Callum wasn’t capable of sticking to the game plan to win the fight, and it’s troubling how many things he did wrong. Didn’t use his jab, focused too much on headshots, and ignored Canelo’s body.
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