Looks can and in this case will be deceiving as it pertains to Canelo Alvarez facing off against unbeaten Callum Smith this Saturday night on DAZN. If we didn’t know better judging by these two fighters standing next to one and other, you would think Canelo is at a major disadvantage. The image of seeing Callum Smith hovering over Canelo and holding a nearly 8-inch reach on the Mexican star is crazy no doubt but it’s an optical illusion. That said the actual risk, beyond every time a fighter steps in the ring of course is fairly minimal. That’s not to throw shade or discredit a solid boxer in Callum Smith who has a perfect 27-0 record. To be fair many fans will say they think his last outing with John Ryder should’ve been at least a draw and Smith has no business in facing someone other than Ryder in a rematch. One could also say Canelo should have more than 1-loss on his resume. The major difference is it would’ve come by the hands of Gennadiy Golovkin or Erislandy Lara, not John Ryder.
This 168-pound fight now includes a vacated WBC strap thanks to David Benavidez (AKA Tony Montana) for failing to make weight back in August. All things considered, like an available opponent and the rushed time frame to fight before 2020 out equate to a perfectly fine matchup. Some in the media and among the fan base especially those who live and die by the Ring Ratings will say it’s the best contest that can be made a super middleweight. That thought process comes from his ranking as the lineal titleholder off the strength of defeating George Groves. Prior to that, Groves had been knocked out twice by Carl Froch and beat by Badou Jack so it’s not like he was far and away from the #1 fighter at 168. Of course, Caleb Plant and David Benavidez were still climbing up the rankings and Canelo Alvarez or Billy Joe Saunders wasn’t at the weight class as well. At the end of the day, this boxing podcaster doesn’t believe that a faded and seemingly not-fully-healed Groves was in peak form but crowning a lineal champ in the WBSS final was more important.
Callum Smith does have a decent amount of veterans on his record but it’s difficult to make a strong argument that he will beat Canelo. Ring rust will be in play for both men having last fought right around the same time in November 2019. Obviously, reach and overall size will play a role it’s just a matter of how long it will be in Callum’s favor. On paper having a 7 ½ inch reach on an opponent is a great thing and if Callum can use that length accordingly we could be in for a close fight. Smith jab and moving on the back foot can make life hard on Canelo. After all, Canelo still hasn’t been able to cut the ring off on a high-level mover. But there’s the issue, although Callum Smith seems to be a skilled guy not sure how many folks besides fanboys and possibly DAZN broadcasters would label Smith as a top-level outside boxer. That said it will take a chunk of rounds for Canelo to time Callum Smith’s jab and cut the distance in the middle of the ring.
It’s no secret that Canelo is a damn good body puncher and that along with his jab, timing, and ring IQ is more than enough to get the job done on fight night. As mentioned it will take some time to crowd Smith for Canelo. But it won’t be all that long until those Canelo body shots start to find a home as well as his potent jab. Thudding body shots will loosen Callum Smith’s guard up top and that’s when this fight will be on the path to being finished. Against Ryder Callum was getting battered to the body while bleeding and gasping for air. Look for a replay of the John Ryder performance but with even more fluid and accurate punches landing for Canelo. A disoriented beginning few rounds will look awkward and one could see Smith having success early. Unless Smith completely flips the script and boxes beautifully on the outside for most of the rounds this hack-of-a-scribe doesn’t see it going any other way than Canelo getting his hand rose. Early rounds and late clinching could allow Callum to make it the full 12 rounds.
My Official Prediction is Canelo Alvarez by 10th round stoppage.
Side Note: Showtime also has a card with a Covid-19 replacement main event that could be fun but some interesting undercard bouts to keep in mind Jaron Ennis vs. Chris Van Heerden and Gary Antonio Russell vs. Juan Carlos Payano.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Com Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio