In the Red Zone: Canelo KOs Liam Smith

By Robert Ecksel on September 18, 2016
In the Red Zone: Canelo KOs Liam Smith
"Beefy" as sacrificial victim was part of a larger strategy. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The endless negotiations have begun to feel like the lost years preceding the boondoggle between Mayweather and Pacquiao…

Saturday night at the AT&T Arena in Arlington, Texas, in a fight televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, former WBC World middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs), from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, knocked out Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs), from Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom, to win the WBO World junior middleweight title.

The time of the stoppage was 2:28 of round nine.

Fighting out of the red corner in blue and white trunks, Canelo chopped down his opponent like he was a tree, before delivering the coup de grâce courtesy a body shot, after having him down in rounds seven and eight.

Smith, fighting out of the blue corner in grey trunks with black trim, came to fight, but he was totally dominated by a younger, bigger, stronger fighter who had more to lose, and more to gain, than the game but overmatched British champion.

That the fight was not competitive was of no concern to the 51,420 fans who packed the stadium to cheer Canelo on. By their lights, Canelo can do no wrong. And if “Beefy” was not up to the task of defending the title he won a year ago, especially against a fighter of Canelo’s stature, well, perhaps so much the better.

No one knows what this era will be called by future generations but it’s unlikely to be called the Age of Discernment, and that lack of discernment was reinforced by the one-sided nature of all four fights on the telecast.

Depending of what one reads, depending on what one chooses to believe, the selection of Smith as sacrificial victim was part of a larger strategy, a strategy whose ultimate aim was to line up a title fight with Gennady Golovkin.

Triple G is the elephant in the room insofar as Canelo is concerned. Eight years older and no more proficient at dealing with a fighter who can box than Canelo, the fight with Golovkin needs to be made, for the good of the sport, even though the endless negotiations have begun to feel like the lost years preceding the boondoggle between Mayweather and Pacquiao.

But Canelo’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, is promising to make the fight a year from now, to build the gate (which needs no building) and to let Canelo grow into a middleweight (even though he probably weighed upwards of 170 pounds when the opening bell rang).

Smith came into the fight having knocked out his last eight opponents and landed some shots on the easy-to-hit redhead, but the numbers, no less than the final result, tell the whole story.

According to CompuBox, Canelo landed 157 of 422 total punches to Smith’s 115 of 403, while connecting with twice as many power shots, 113 to Smith’s 68, and that’s all she wrote.

After the fight Canelo said, “I fear no one. I was born for this. And even though many people may not like it, I am the best fighter right now,” adding, in case anyone missed the fight, “Liam Smith was a resilient fighter. He has a lot of heart. He was tough.”

That is true, but as we have seen many times, tough is not enough.

“I hurt my right hand in the second round when I hit him in the head,” continued Canelo. “I was actually only using my left hand for the most part. The body shot was what I focused on, making sure I worked his body down, and that is what secured the victory.”

A hard left to the ribs did it, but a solid punch to the point of the chin might have done it as well.

“He was too good and skillful and I was too slow,” Smith said. “I did hit him with some solid jabs and right hands, but I needed better timing and I was off today.

“If I had waited a little longer and gained more experience, I’d be able to fight a guy like that.”

Canelo might have used those exact words when describing Golovkin.

Instead, he said, “About a month ago, we offered him twice or three times as much to make the fight. I didn’t want to say anything because I respect all my rivals, but about a month ago, we offered him twice or three times, so we’re ready. We’re ready for him. He just didn’t want to accept.”

That may or may not be so. Without a polygraph there’s no way to know for sure. But one thing is certain. Canelo intends to have two more fights, one in December and one in the spring, against opponents to be determined, after which time he’ll presumably be ready for Golovkin.

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  1. Old Yank 05:55pm, 09/24/2016

    Canelo taking a year for a broken thumb to heal? Sompthin’s up!

  2. Koolz 10:48am, 09/19/2016

    Canelo’s fight was a joke let’s watch Usyk again!

    Usyk is amazing!  Compared to Smith and Canelo’s fight Usyk’s fight is just simply incredible!

    Smiths fighting style is pathetic.  Canelo really doesn’t have very good foot work. 
    Usyk on the other hand is Ballerina that can Sting!

  3. Eric 09:36am, 09/19/2016

    Cinnamon has been talkin’ too much smack lately, which usually means the case of someone not sure of themselves, unless you are Muhammad Ali. No doubt that Canelo is an “A-side” talent, but if the Golovkin fight were to be made at this moment, G-tree, stops Red inside of 5-6 rounds.

  4. Eric 07:31am, 09/19/2016

    Dick Butkus was the Sonny Liston of football. Talk about brutal hits. Speaking of “gaga.” How did we go from such great musical acts like Elvis, Linda Ronstadt, and the Stooooooooones to Lady Gaga, Justin Burper, and Miley Virus?

  5. non_prophet 07:27am, 09/19/2016

    “but then again his heart is probably half the size of Smith’s so I guess it will all even out.”

    Irish Frankie….perhaps you’ve been in the ring with him and thus speak from experience.  Otherwise, sitting at home on the couch in your fitted brookies watching the man fight on the telly hardly makes you a heart specialist here. 

    You know little about what’s in the heart of Liam Smith and even less about the heart of a boxer like Willie Monroe.  Perhaps you might spend more time examining what it is that fills your heart which enables your mouth to utter such unsubstantiated tripe.

    Your crude nationalism is nauseating at times.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:46am, 09/19/2016

    Let’s not get all gaga here! Red didn’t exactly meet the challenge of the ages here. In 2015 we find KO victims Robert Talarek (10-8) and David Romero (11-5) on Beefy’s resume. Good for Oscar, he really pulled some shit here!

  7. Pete The Sneak 04:25am, 09/19/2016

    Irish, totally agree with that dirty shite you are talking about when it comes to quarterbacks. Funny thing is, after they’ve totally crushed the poor fellow into oblivion and he’s laid out totally imobile and can’t move, the same guy that went to purposely paralyze him then kneels down in a circle with the other culprits and pray for him. What’s the old saying? ‘Praise The Lord, and pass the ammunition.’ ...Peace.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:20pm, 09/18/2016

    When these defenders keep driving with their legs and bulldogging the quarterback into the turf, know that they are trying to injure the shoulder of their very helpless at the point, “victim” and from the perspective of the defender the real prize is the throwing shoulder. It is their chance to change the fortunes of their team and the opposing team not just for that game but for the entire season. It is dirty shit and it is purposeful and practiced and dirtier than just about anything you will see in boxing.

  9. Koolz 02:25pm, 09/18/2016

    it’s pretty simple Psychology.  Oscar and Canelo are trying to save face by making K2 Promotions and Golovkin be the enemy.
    When it is was Oscar that was telling Canelo you are not ready to fight GGG yet.  Let’s get in some Middle Weight Fights in first.

    It probably would be and is the biggest fight in boxing that can be made.  It would fill up the largest stadium and have insane PPv numbers.

    A good date is Sept 2017 or even May.

    When speaking about people other fighters you must understand:

    “Use Limitation, As No Limitation.”
    “There are no limits. There are only plateaus.”

    Stop creating mental barriers for others and yourself.

  10. Koolz 02:06pm, 09/18/2016

    two years from now and GGG would still destroy Canelo.

  11. Ese Holmes 12:31pm, 09/18/2016

    Just saw an article where it was said that Barragan might be a “Mexican” version of the Irish surname, Berrigen. Me thinks that Canelo just might have to start wearing the shamrock, laddie.

  12. Eric 10:24am, 09/18/2016

    Trump’s hair and skin only turned orange after he got older. heehee. Trump looks like a big orange Papa Smurf, but he still gotz my vote over Crooked Shillary. TRUMP FOR PREZ. MAGA!!

  13. The Thresher 10:00am, 09/18/2016

    BTW, the Berrigan in Canelo’s name is a common Mexican name. He is NOT Irish.

  14. The Thresher 09:58am, 09/18/2016

    Yeah, Canelo is sure a “bum”. Give me a break. All he does is ice his opponents and remain a superstar at the box-office. Perhaps his hair resembles Trump’s to some strange degree, but he is grooming himself (no pun intended) to become a full-sized middleweight and then take on GGG. To pass up big paydays like last night to suit some moron’s desires is just plain stupid. This is all about money, money, and more money. He will KO Monroe early and viciously.

  15. Eric 09:55am, 09/18/2016

    Borrowing from a television series and “Irish,” future generations will more than likely describe this time period in which we now live as, The Age Of The Walking Dead. Listened to a show awhile back about “predictive programming” and how it was working on the sheeple. Skeery stuff.

  16. Lucas McCain 08:43am, 09/18/2016

    “Unlikely to be called the Age of Discernment.”  Very funny—belongs in the Nat Fleischer Historiography Hall of Fame!

  17. Eric 07:05am, 09/18/2016

    Irish…No doubt that Canelo has some Irish blood pumping trew those veins. Maybe a member of the Batallon de San Patricio fell in love with a little Senorita while fighting on behalf of Mexico.

  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:42am, 09/18/2016

    I say the next time Canelo enters the ring he should be dressed to the nines in an emerald green outfit including top hat with a clay pipe twixt his teeth. More’s the better he should jig round the ring before the intros….heck yea!

  19. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:30am, 09/18/2016

    Looks like Monroe is next….he can box a little and he has a body that is more suited to taking a beating than Beefy’s but then again his heart is probably half the size of Smith’s so I guess it will all even out. Beefy probably wished he still had some of that padding from his early years especially when Red started tenderizing those short ribs.

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:11am, 09/18/2016

    Eric-That’s it in a nutshell but not to worry the fight will be made with every advantage to Red short of tilting the ring and making GGG fight uphill. They know damn well Floyd will jump at the chance to make Red look silly again, phony retirement or no phony retirement but that’s a non starter. Let’s face it Cinnamon would be life and death with Spence so that’s never even going to make it to the table. Canelo and Danny Garcia are starting to grate.

  21. Don from Prov 06:09am, 09/18/2016

    Canelo has replaced Chavez Jr, as the Donald Trump of boxing.
    DeLaHoya is a liar, which means that he is a boxing promoter.
    Canelo has, IMO, made a fool of himself with his mouth vs. reality crap.

  22. Eric 05:54am, 09/18/2016

    Time is on Canelo’s side, and GGG isn’t getting any younger. Golovkin should move on and forget this guy. It is obvious that Canelo is waiting for Golovkin to age a little bit more. Hopefully, Golvokin won’t be played by this trap. Canelo had a shot and he walked. End of story.

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