Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be difficult early

By Boxing News - 12/16/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be a difficult puzzle for him to solve initially in the early rounds on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Alvarez and Smith will be shown on DAZN in the main event.

(Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing)

Once Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) figures out Callum’s style, he plans on shooting fora knockout victory.

Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) will have his WBA Super World super middleweight title that Canelo will be looking to snatch from him. Also, the vacant WBC 168-lb title will be available, and the Ring Magazine strap.

The World Boxing Council recently chose to throw in their WBC super middleweight belt for Alvarez and Smith to fight over.

The winner is expected to take on Avni Yildirim at some point, but that’s not likely to be anytime soon if Canelo wins on Saturday.

He’s already saying that he plans on taking on WBO 168lb champion Billy Joe Saunders next potentially if he’s victorious against Smith. If it’s going to be Saunders next, Billy Joe will finally be getting the fight that he’s been hoping for.

Image: Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be difficult early

Canelo has always been the #1 target for Saunders, but it’s taken a long time for the fight to transpire in part due to the lackluster opposition that Billy Joe has been feasting on for the last five years.

Alvarez picked Smith because he’s #1 at 168

“Well, because he’s ranked #1 at 168 pounds and that’s my campaign to fight at 168 pounds,” said Canelo Alvarez when asked why he chose Callum Smith rather than the other champions at 168.

“We did have conversations with others, but unfortunately they didn’t happen. But fortunately with them as well, we got this fight and that’s what we’re going to do.

“Hopefully, this brings boxing back in a great way. That is our plan in the short term at 168 to unify all the titles, and next year, that’s what we’ll be working on. 168 is where I think I’ll end my career [rather than 175], but let’s see,” Alvarez said.

The #1 ranking that Canelo talks about for Callum Smith is from a while ago before Smith’s last match against John Ryder in 2019. Smith, 30, was exposed by Ryder, winning a controversial 12 round decision. Since that fight, Smith is no longer viewed as #1 by a lot of boxing fans.

Image: Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be difficult early

They’ve demoted Callum Smith below these talents:

  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant
  • Edgar Berlanga
  • Canelo Alvarez

Callum is now viewed as #5 at 168, and he could possibly slip to #8 depending on if Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, and Jermall Charlo move up to 168 in 2021.

You can’t blame Canelo for making Callum seem better than he is by embellishing his credentials by calling him #1 at 168, but the fact of the matter is, he’s been demoted by the boxing public.

Callum lost a TON of credibility with his performance against Ryder, and he’s now basically just a belt-holder and a lucky one at that in their eyes.

They’re not putting Callum in the class of a Rocky Fielding, but he’s lost a lot of his popularity from the Ryder fight and he’s definitely no longer viewed as #1 by fans at 168.

Canelo is a little late in choosing to fight Smith as if he’d fought him BEFORE he took on Ryder, then the boxing fans worldwide would be making a bigger deal of this contest.

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Unfortunately, Alvarez waited too long to finally get around to facing Callum, and he’s badly tainted now from the Ryder fight.

The controversy surrounding the results of the Ryder contest has followed Callum like a skunk, and it’s taken away the excitement with him facing Canelo.

With Callum receiving for what was all intents and purposes a gift decision over Ryder, it’s taken the shine away from the Canelo-Smith fight. The guy that Smith should be fighting right now is Ryder, not Canelo.

Canelo expects the fight to be difficult early

“It’s going to be a difficult fight, especially in the early rounds,” said Canelo about how he views his fight with Callum Smith going. “He is a warrior, he stands his ground.

Image: Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be difficult early

“So, yes, the first rounds will be very difficult, but we’ll see how it goes. But we will figure out how it’s going to work once the first rounds happen. We’re ready for everything.

“A knockout is always spectacular for the fans and I did prepare for everything, so hopefully, it happens,” Canelo said when asked if he wants to knockout Smith.

The way that Canelo is typically tentative in the first rounds of his fights, it will be problematic for him against Callum in the opening round.

If Smith comes roaring out of the gates, firing on all eight cylinders as he did with his first-round knockout of Rocky Fielding in 2015,  Canelo could be in dire trouble on Saturday night.

Callum coming out fast with him throwing vicious hooks to the head and body of Canelo could be a disaster for the Mexican star. It would be like Gerry Cooney’s first-round knockout win over the dangerous Ken Norton in 1981.

The 6’6″ Cooney went after Norton from the opening bell, tagging him with repeated powerful left hooks to get him out of there. If Callum fights like that right away in the first round, he’ll have his best shot at beating Canelo.

Smith must concentrate on Canelo’s body because it’s too difficult to hit him with headshots, and Callum needs to throw at full power to have a shot at winning.

Smith can’t afford to take something off his shots to increase his accuracy, which is what Gennadiy Golovkin did. It’s better to focus on Canelo’s body he can’t get out of the way of punches targeted to his midsection.

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Billy Joe Saunders is next for Alvarez

“Yeah, that’s the idea. He has the WBO title, and we’re going after those titles,” said Canelo when asked if he plans on going after WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders next. ”

“It doesn’t matter who has them. That’s the idea to go after those titles. I would love that [fighting in the UK]. I’ve always dreamed of fighting in the UK, so that would be a dream come true if that happens,” said Canelo.

Now that Canelo has tipped his hand by saying that he’s interested in facing Billy Joe next, we can forget about seeing Demetrius Andrade moving up to face Saunders for his WBO super middleweight title.

There’s little chance that Saunders will take a risky fight against Andrade with the Canelo fight in front of him for early 2021.

If Canelo does choose to face Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs), that contest will take place in May 2021 on the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend.

Canelo’s better choice to fight would be Jermall Charlo, Gennadiy Golovkin, or Andrade, but he’s not interested in facing any of those guys.

If Canelo weren’t back fighting on DAZN, he would be forced to face the likes of Charlo, Andrade, and GGG if he wanted to sell his fights on pay-per-view in the U.S.

There’s no way that American boxing fans would pay to see Canelo face the likes of Callum or Saunders in huge numbers because they have no interest in those matches. Smith and Saunders aren’t viewed as great talents, and neither is well-known to the States’ casual boxing fans.

Canelo wants to unify the super middleweight division right now, and he’s not going to be veered away from that goal until he either accomplishes it or fails.

The WBC has done Canelo a favor by having their vacant super-middleweight title on the line for the Smith fight this weekend.

Image: Canelo Alvarez expects Callum Smith to be difficult early

If they didn’t do that, there’s a high chance that former WBC super-middleweight champ David Benavidez would recapture his title by facing Avni Yildirim for the vacant belt. Benavidez is ranked # by the WBC. Benavidez, 6’2″, would be a REAL problem for the 5’8″ Canelo, and he would likely beat him.

I’m going to say it right now, Canelo will never fight Benavidez. What will happen is Canelo will fight other guys, and Benavidez will eventually outgrow the super middleweight division in a year or two.