Canelo feels no pressure facing Liam Smith
By Hector Franco
August 25, 2016
We are now only a few weeks away from witnessing the return of Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) inside the boxing ring. He will be returning to the 154-pound division to take on the current WBO champion, Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs). The fight will take place at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. This will mark Alvarez’s third fight in the Lone Star State.
Texas has proven to be good to Canelo and Golden Boy. In his first fight in Texas, Canelo faced Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) at the Alamodome. There he won a close decision in front of 45,000 fans. In Canelo’s second appearance he faced off against native Texan, James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs). The fight took place at Minute Maid Park in Houston in front of 31,000 fans. Canelo produced the knockout of the year as he took out Kirkland in three. Against Liam Smith, Canelo hopes to make it three in a row in Texas.
Smith who is undefeated and largely unknown in the United States could provide a stern test for Canelo. Regardless, of the amount of people that are familiar with Smith, Canelo won’t be taking him lightly. He’s aware of the challenge if front of him and what it could lead to in the future.
The AT&T Stadium where the fight will be taking place has held two boxing events in the past. Both these events took place in 2010 and featured Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) in the main event. This was back when Pacquiao was a box office blockbuster. His first fight against Joshua Clottey (39-5, 22 KOs) drew 700,000 in PPV buys. The second fight with Antonio Margarito (40-8, 27 KOs) generated 1.15 million in PPV buys. Both fights were able to gain an attendance of over 40,000 fans. Canelo and Golden Boy hope to match these figures. According to De La Hoya, they are well on their way.
An obstacle that Golden Boy has run into with this PPV event is the undercard. WBO middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) was supposed to fight on the card. Saunders ended up turning down opponents who seemed perfect for an American debut. WBA interim heavyweight champion, Luis Ortiz, was also scheduled to fight on the card. Ortiz after a contract dispute has chosen to leave Golden Boy promotions. This left Golden Boy with a tough job in giving fans a worthy PPV undercard. They used the best of what they had. The undercard will feature the return of featherweight contender, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz (21-0, 12 KOs) and undefeated prospect Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) . It will also feature a bout between two opponents that Billy Joe Saunders turned down. That fight will be Gabriel Rosado (23-9, 13 KOs) taking on Willie Monroe, Jr (20-2, 6 KOs). Golden Boy has a reputation for putting on quality cards from top to bottom. They feel they have accomplished this with, Canelo-Smith.
Going into this fight with Liam Smith, Alvarez is a huge favorite. He has already established himself as the most popular Mexican boxer. There are have been many great Mexican fighters who have fought in Texas such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez and Canelo’s own promoter, Oscar De La Hoya. For Canelo, this puts no extra pressure on him to succeed in putting on a great performance to match those past great fighters.
If Canelo comes out victorious against Smith, the talk will once again proceed about a fight against, Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs). Golovkin faces Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) the week before Canelo-Smith. A fight between Canelo and Golovkin will be the biggest in the sport. With the fight seemingly going to take place a year from now in 2017, there has been criticism thrown at Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions. Golden Boy is aware that this is a fight that fans are clamoring for but it won’t take place until they feel Canelo is ready.
(Featured Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)