Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith Preview

By Robert Ecksel on September 15, 2016
Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith Preview
If Canelo flattens the WBO champ, all will be forgiven, for the time being, for the moment.

Canelo is a darn good fighter and a former world champion, but when the opportunity arose to unify the middleweight titles, what did he do?

On Saturday, September 17, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in a fight televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, former WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), the hard-hitting redhead from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, challenges Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs), the undefeated WBO World junior middleweight champion from Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom.

Canelo is getting it from all sides these days and deservedly so. Fight fans disinclined to let nationalism intrude on their love of the fight game look at the bout as another gimme for Canelo, whose credibility is being scrutinized, especially after he gave up his title to avoid fighting Gennady Golovkin.

If one listens to his promoter—listening to any promoter is always problematic, an iffy in the best of times, an irksome proposition the rest of the time—Canelo is the next Floyd Mayweather, even though there is scant evidence to support that claim. Discerning listeners, however, whoever they are and wherever they might be hiding, would be better served to listen to Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, who said, “It seems that Canelo is not Mexican.”

Technically, Canelo is Mexican, or so it says on his birth certificate, but Sanchez was referring less to his bloodline than to his propensity to ducking tough opposition. It’s not that Liam Smith isn’t tough. Even prelim fighters are tough. He’s just not the toughest test out there, even though he’s been compared, none too convincingly, to Carlos Monzon by those with a vested interest in his career.

Smith and Canelo have similar styles. If Smith decides to trade and Canelo flattens the champ, all will be forgiven, for the time being, for the moment.

Few of us on this side of the pond know much of Liam Smith, but Canelo has studied tapes.

“I have looked at him,” said Canelo, “and the style more than anything is what we like. He’s a good fighter. He’s very strong. He’s got a Mexican style, you know, a guy that stands there and likes to exchange punches, so that’s one of the things that attracted us to the fight.”

Another thing that attracted Canelo to the fight is Liam Smith’s WBO title.

“He’s a world champion,” Canelo said. “My focus is becoming a world champion. That’s the main purpose of this fight. To become a world champion one more time will be sweet and memorable I want to win another world title in my weight class, 154. Then after that we’ll see what’s available.”

Liam Smith isn’t a finesse fighter. He’s impossible to miss. And Canelo is no junior middleweight. But why quibble? Facts are stupid things. Emotion is all that matters.

“I know Liam Smith has a similar style as mine,” continued Canelo. “He likes to trade punches and that will make a terrific fight. I don’t think he’s going to change his style. I think he’s going to do what he does best—be aggressive, throw combinations, keep coming forward. That’s what he does best. He’s a guy that’s very strong as well. But, obviously, for me, I’m always ready for any style. I prepare myself for any style and I’ll be ready for anything.”

Texas is Canelo’s home away from home. He fills stadiums. He has hordes of rabid fans to follow his every move and relish his every utterance, no matter how banal or off the wall.

“I’ve always been treated very, very well, a warm reception each time I fight in Texas,” he said. “The most important thing is to give them a good fight. That’s what I want to do. I want to give them a good fight. They’ve always treated me well in Texas.”

Liam Smith, not be outdone, looks forward to fighting in Texas, as well.

“I know Canelo will put up a very good fight and can fight and box,” he said. “He’s a solid 154. But my strategy is to match him with everything, then go one step further and do things he doesn’t want to do. He’s got a lot of weaknesses. I don’t want to give too many of his weaknesses away. He doesn’t like fighting three minutes of each round. That’s one of them that’s not really hard to see. I think I have already surprised my fans and a lot of others with my size, I know many thought Canelo was a monster and a lot bigger than me, which he isn’t, but they will be also surprised how much I raise my game with a better fighter in front of me. A win is going to mean everything, it’s going to change my life, give me a better future and announce myself as the best 154-pound fighter in the world.”

Canelo is focused on Saturday’s fight, but he took time from his training to watch Golovkin beat Kell Brook, even though he said prior to the bout, “We all know what’s going to happen in the fight…he’s going to knock Brook out.”

The same can be said and should be said by those with a platform to say it, assuming they’re not busy defending pay-per-view or praising Liam Smith as the Second Coming of whomever.

When Smith was asked whether he thought Canelo ducked Triple G, the WBO champion said, “Yeah, ducked him massively. He went the wrong way about it. He’s being criticized a lot and losing a lot of fans about the way he did it. If he was open and honest about it, people would have understood. If he said, ‘look, at the moment I’m not 160. GGG wouldn’t come down.’ If he said, ‘look I’ll fight you in 12 months time, I’m going to build myself to 160’ he’d have bought himself grace. But the way he went about it after the fight with Cotto he got GGG in the ring and said he’d put the gloves back on. Then after the fight he said the thing about his balls, he built the fans up about fighting him next and then he gave the belt up. I just think he went about it the wrong way.”

Right way or wrong way is of no concern to Canelo who, like too many others to count or waste time contemplating, is a legend in his own mind.

“I’m 26 years old,” he said. “I’ve fought some of the best fighters in the world out there. Every fight I’m making history.”

If Canelo believes that he’s delusional. He’s a darn good fighter and a former world champion, but when the opportunity arose to unify the middleweight titles, what did he do?

He took the easy way out.

“He’s the older fighter and he hasn’t fought anybody,” said Canelo about Golovkin. “He’s the one who has to worry about his legacy. I don’t have to worry about mine.

“The fight’s going to happen, it has to happen, but he hasn’t fought anybody so why would you put ‘GGG’ in the history books if he hasn’t fought anybody? Why would fighting ‘GGG’ make someone a Hall of Famer when he hasn’t fought anybody?

“Everyone knows that I’m the A-side. The fight will happen when I want it to, that’s the way it is.”

In the meantime Canelo fights Liam “Beefy” Smith.

That’s the way it is.

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  1. Koolz 02:37pm, 09/16/2016

    Oh man Canelo is now saying GGG is nothing special, Hopkins is saying GGG should fight the Kovalev and Ward winner….

    Train moves on.
    God’s Left in an epic Battle rematch.
    Shisuke Yamanaka

  2. Koolz 05:06pm, 09/15/2016

    As much as I would love to talk about Smith and Canelo I think the real fight on(Saturn Day) is Glowacki vs Usyk!  I have watched every fight of Usyk and when he won Gold in the Olympics.  I think he is going to break Glowacki down and KO him in the later rounds.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:51pm, 09/15/2016

    Good move to stay at 154… GGG….no Jacobs….no Lemieux, hell not even a crazy eyed Quillin, I like it! How about this though, how about jumping on Errol Spencer’s ass?! You don’t have to move up there, he has to come up….and let’s face it, he’s already the bigger man putting in time at 147 to run up those KOs and preserve that precious goose egg in the loss column, precious to the point that someday he could possibly pull the same type of mega scam that Floyd did based in very, very large part on that big fat zero in the loss column that probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place ....still, easy money for Cinco de Mayo, let’s go Red!

  4. Leandro Gonzalez 11:38am, 09/15/2016

    Smith will not be push over for Canelo. He may not be a household name but he should give a good account of himself. He may go down but he will not lie down for him. Hopefully it will be an entertaining encounter as their styles are made for each other. Ultimately Alvarez will prevail.

  5. Koolz 06:16am, 09/15/2016

    I just don’t think Smith can win this.  I see a brutal fight with Canelo winning on Points.
    Canelo is only interested in 154.  He is young kid and has tons of time to move to 160 when he wishes too.
    What’s also interesting is Canelo is worried about being banged up if he fights GGG.
    Maybe a year from now.

  6. Eric 05:38am, 09/15/2016

    Golovkin should never give Canelo a match. Screw the money.

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