Boxing: Smith enters the Lion’s Den

By Jordan Trott

  • Liam Smith will fight outside of the UK for the first time in his career
  • It’s the Liverpudlian’s third title defence
  • Canelo Alvarez is fighting for the first time as a light-middleweight since his 2012 loss to Floyd Mayweather

TEXAS, USA – Britain’s Liam Smith travels to Arlington, Texas and puts his WBO light-middleweight belt on the line.

 

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Smith defends his WBO light-middleweight title against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Saturday night. The fight will be Smith’s third title defence and it is the first time Canelo has fought at light-middleweight since 2013 – when he suffered the only loss of his career against Floyd Mayweather.

It will be the first time the Liverpudlian has fought outside of the UK and he will face Canelo fresh off his 6th round knock-out victory over Amir Khan, in May.

With an estimated attendance of 40,000 for the fight, it will be nearly twice as many more spectators than Smith has fought in front of before. Smith’s largest fight to date was in front 21,000 at the Manchester Arena, when he defeated John Thompson to win the WBO belt.

Canelo is dropping down to light-middleweight after he decided to give-up the WBC middleweight belt that he won off Khan, rather than fight Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. Golovkin was awarded the belt by the WBC and went on to defend it last Saturday against British boxer Kell Brook.

Smith has finally got his big fight but despite the pedigree of Alvarez and the fact that, as the champion, Smith is an underdog – Smith insists Canelo is a step onto better things.

“With this opportunity, I’m hoping for bigger and better fights to come my way,” he told ESPN. “I have my own skill set that I can excel in. I’m comfortable going toe to toe with Canelo, and let that be a warning to him come Saturday.”

The undefeated Smith may have the upper-hand in preparation, after he helped Khan prepare for the Mexican back in May. However, Smith has revealed that he didn’t ask the Bolton man for any tips, despite his gym being owned by Khan,

“I haven’t talked to him about the fight because what he can do well, I can do well, and what Amir failed to do in the ring, I will not fail to do.”

Smith and Alvarez have a lot of similarities. Both have three brothers who are professional boxers neither fighter has ever been knocked down in their career. Furthermore, both possess significant punching power Beefy has knocked out his last eight opponents and Canelo has 33 KO’s in his careers.

At just 26, Canelo is set to compete in his 50th bout and his 16th fight in the U.S.A. The experience and following Canelo has is going to put Smith in uncharted territory and he has acknowledged it’s going to be a hostile environment.

“I am going to show everyone that I can fight at a high magnitude and hopefully I’ll gain some more fans once I beat Canelo.” Smith said.

“Looking back at his last fight, I think Canelo’s attitude was thinking that he was going to grab the knock out sooner or later, and he wasn’t willing to box. I won’t let that be the case this fight because I’ve got the ability to out box him, and put him in his place.”

The fight will take place at AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL franchise the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be for the WBO light-middleweight title.

The fight can be seen on BoxNation SKY 437 or Virgin 546 and the undercard starts at 01:00 BST on Sunday morning.

 

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