Canelo Alvarez Ready for Super Middleweight Title Fight Against Callum Smith
Acclaimed boxer Canelo Alvarez will fight Callum Smith this weekend for the vacant WBC super middleweight title and WBA “super” super middleweight title.
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 • 5:16 PM ET
Canelo Alvarez is looking to prove he’s boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
Box office pound-for-pound fighter Canelo Alvarez will return to the ring this Saturday for a clash with undefeated champion Callum Smith in San Antonio. The two boxers will fight for the vacant WBC super middleweight title, along with Smith’s WBA “super” super middleweight title.
Alvarez is coming off an 11th-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev last November for the WBO light heavyweight title. He became a four-division world champion with the win, which was also his fourth straight since a controversial draw with Gennady Golovkin in 2017.
Considered by many analysts as the best boxer in the world at any weight class, the 30-year-old Alvarez is 53-1-2 (36 KOs) with his only loss coming to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.
While the 6-foot-3 Smith holds a significant size advantage over the 5-foot-8 Alvarez, Alvarez picked this fight for a reason.
“I know the risks, but I also have a strong desire to be the best,” Alvarez told Yahoo Sports. “He is considered the No. 1 [super] middleweight in the world, so he was the No. 1 guy that I wanted. I believe in myself, and I want to fight these kinds of fights.”
Alvarez is ready for whatever style Smith may bring to the fight.
“I have fought fighters with all different styles, and so nothing I see will be a surprise,” Alvarez said. “Whatever style he has or whatever he tries to do, I will have seen it before. I am preparing hard, and I’m ready for whatever challenge or threat I may see.”
Including Kovalev, Alvarez has key wins over Daniel Jacobs, Rocky Fielding, Golovkin in a rematch, Liam Smith (Callum’s brother), Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Kermit Citron and Alfonso Gomez. A win over Smith could put him in prime position to unify the belts at 168 pounds.
Meanwhile, Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) is coming off a controversial unanimous decision win over John Ryder last November, a fight in which he looked underwhelming and beatable throughout. In fact, many pundits believed that Ryder won the fight with ease. It isn’t the type of momentum Smith wants to bring into a fight with Alvarez, but he believes he’s the better fighter at super middleweight.
"In my opinion, no, he's not a super middleweight," Smith told ESPN. "Yes, he's been there before, fought Kovalev, but if you look at the champions at super middleweight, they are all big lads. There's only so much size your ability can make up for. We saw it with [Vasiliy] Lomachenko [against Teofimo Lopez]. I believe that will be the case for Canelo against me, I will be too big for him. But I'm not just a big lump, I've got skills and ability, too; I've shown I belong at a world level. If I can use the size and ability, I've got the beating of Canelo at 168 pounds."
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Including Ryder, the 30-year-old Smith’s biggest victories have come over Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam and George Groves. While he’ll hold the size advantage over Alvarez, Alvarez will be by far the most skilled fighter Smith has ever faced. Smith will need to make an impact early and not fade late, because Alvarez gets stronger as the fight goes on, which he displayed against Kovalev.
Alvarez is one of the best counter punchers in boxing, often punishing his opponents’ body. When Smith faced Ryder, he was bothered by Ryder’s ability to use feints and get inside his reach advantage. Alvarez has used the same tactics against bigger fighters, so if Smith wants to defeat him, he’ll need to have improved what went wrong for him in the Ryder fight. Otherwise, it will be a short night for the English fighter.
• Start time/how to watch: The main card can be seen on DAZN at 8 p.m. ET this Saturday.