Smith confident of causing Canelo upset in September showdown
Lee Gormley | August 6, 2016
Canelo test next for champion Smith
After successfully defending his WBO light-middleweight title against both Jimmy Kelly and Predrag Radosevic, Liverpool’s Liam Smith now makes a huge step up in class to tackle Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on September 17th.
At the AT&T Stadium in Texas, Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will aim to secure a third successive defence of his crown, having blown away American John Thompson to become world champion back in October last year.
Since that impressive seventh-round knockout victory, the unbeaten Merseysider has looked rarely tested and easily dealt with the threat of both challengers so far when stopping both Manchester fighter Kelly and Montenegro’s Radosevic.
Although, this weekend the Joe Gallagher trained champion faces undoubtedly the toughest test of his career against a fighter many regard as the top pound-for-pound star in the sport, and he is 6/1 with Coral to cause an upset on American soil.
Smith confident of Canelo upset
The 28-year-old has been targeting a big-name match-up since securing his WBO strap and finally got his wish when middleweight star Canelo (47-1-1, 33 KOs) agreed to the bout, with the Mexican having brutally stopped Smith’s fellow Briton Amir Khan in May.
Although, Smith will face the Mexican superstar at his natural weight in a 154lbs clash, while former light-welterweight champion Khan made the daunting and ultimately unsuccessful step up two divisions.
The Liverpudlian knows he will be entering the ring with a dangerous opponent, but is confident he can prevail on September 17th and stop Alvarez from adding to his five-bout winning streak in Texas.
“I’ve been doing his [promoter Frank Warren’s] head in, begging for a big fight. I jumped at the chance at this fight,” declared Smith.
“I look at Canelo, I don’t need any more motivation. I don’t look at the odds or papers. This is the biggest fight for me. I’m going there to stop him, if I don’t it won’t be through a lack of trying!”
Gallagher backs his man to shine
Smith’s 24-fight career in the professional ranks has seen him contest at some of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious venues, including Echo Arena and Manchester Arena, but this will be his maiden outing in the United States.
Despite making the long trip across the pond, Smith is bursting with confidence and his esteemed trainer Gallagher, who also trains WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla (8/11 to beat Jorge Linares), is backing his talented fighter to defy the American critics.
“I expect them to give Liam a fair shot, but it’s probably a true fact we need to get the stoppage to win,” Gallagher said of his man.
“Alvarez is a very, very good fighter, you only have to look at his record to see who he’s been in with. The Mayweathers, the Cottos, but I do feel Alvarez and Golden Boy have made a huge mistake. I feel they should have taken the ‘GGG’ fight and got paid well.
“The best man will win and the loser will go back to Mexico.”
Canelo not overlooking Smith
Canelo, promoted by the legendary Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy roster, has faced plenty of criticism too in recent months over his decision to vacate the WBC middleweight strap and not agree a bout with long mooted foe Gennady Golovkin.
A bout with ‘GGG’ is instead being lined up for next year, in what will be one of the biggest match-ups in recent years if both fighters can get through to then unscathed, but the fiery headed Mexican isn’t overlooking Smith.
“Liam Smith is a great champion, he is very hungry and has great power and we know what we have in front of us,” stated the Mexican, who is odds-on 1/10 to get the better of the Briton.
“We will prepare like never before and I can assure you this, we will give the fans what they want to see.”
The 26-year-old has recovered strongly from his first and only career defeat to date against now retired Floyd Mayweather back in 2014, having overcome star names such as Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto since that maiden setback.
With the prospect of a megafight with Golovkin looming next year and potentially Billy Joe Saunders in December, Canelo can’t afford to take Smith lightly in his latest ring outing, with the hard-hitting Merseysider set to arrive in Texas ready to spoil the Mexican’s future plans.
Do you think Liam Smith can pull it off against Canelo Alvarez? Have your say below in our comments section!