Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith Preview
By Robert Ecksel on December 18, 2020
“I think he's a better 160 fighter than he is at 168, and a good big 'un beats a small little 'un.”
Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, four-division world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs), from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, challenges reigning and defending WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs), from Liverpool, Merseyside, UK. The vacant WBA super middleweight title is also up for grabs.
“I have the utmost respect for Callum Smith,” said Canelo at the final pre-fight presser. “He is a great champion. I like taking challenges. Taking this fight is a challenge fighting the best 168. We are use to big challenges. I am ready to overcome this challenge.”
Smith hs talent. He can box. He can punch. And at 6-foot-3 with a 78-inch reach, compared to his challenger’s 5-foot-8 with a 70½-inch reach, Smith could present problems Canelo has not yet overcome.
“He is a tall fighter with a lot of boxing qualities, which makes him a complete fighter. A dangerous and smart fighter,” Canelo said. “We have had Callum Smith on our radar. He is the best 168 and we want to campaign at this weight. I plan on staying in this weight for a year. Smith has the size advantage but that don’t mean anything. ”
Canelo looks as confident as he sounds. But a bigger challenge for Canelo, not in terms of size but in terms of skill, would be IBF champ Caleb Plant, who looks like the class of the division. Perhaps the two of them will meet in the future.
“The goal is to win all the titles and unify at 168,” added Canelo. “I want to make history and fight the best. I like taking risks. It’s a motivational factor for me and I will continue to do it.
“I always go out and give it the best to go out to win. I have the experience to win by decision and if the knockout opportunity comes, I will take advantage of it.”
Canelo talks a good game and has proven time and again that he can back it up. But Callum Smith has ideas of his own.
“In my opinion,” Smith told ESPN, “he's not a super middleweight. 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.
“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.”
Canelo will cut off the ring, work his way inside and attack the body. He’s done it before and can do it again.
“You have to utilize what you are good at,” Smith said, “and it's no good being the taller boxer if you are not going to use it to your advantage. I'm sure he can cut the ring down, and I will have to work on that. But I believe I have reached this level because of my skills and ability…I think he's a better 160 fighter than he is at 168, and a good big 'un beats a small little 'un.”