Liam Smith is ready to pull off the upset

Liam Smith is ready to pull off the upset

By Hector Franco

Liam Smith celebrates his title winning victory over John Thompson. Photo: Getty Images

Liam Smith celebrates his title winning victory over John Thompson. Photo: Getty Images

We are now less than two weeks away from Liam Smith taking center stage in the sport of boxing. He faces an opponent who is considered the biggest star in today’s boxing market. That opponent is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The fight has been scrutinized since it was announced. Fans were anticipating and hoping for a matchup between Alvarez and middleweight king, Gennady Golovkin. When it came out that Alvarez would be facing Liam Smith and not Golovkin, fans were disappointed, to say the least.

Smith in many ways is being undervalued as an opponent. Smith is undefeated and is coming off of 8 straight victories all won by stoppage. The native from Liverpool is also the current WBO champion at 154-pounds. He will come with a come forward style that will likely produce a fight with fireworks against Canelo. The 154-pound weight class is full of fighters that have a chance to defeat Canelo. Smith is seen as the weakest link out of the current crop of champions. 

With Canelo escaping with a narrow points decision victory over Erislandy Lara in July of 2014, it’s unlikely that a rematch ever takes place. Add in the still ongoing lawsuit between Alvarez’s promoter Golden Boy and Al Haymon, the other champions at 154 may have never been in consideration for a matchup on September 17th.

Smith comes from a fighting family where he has multiple siblings who box professionally. He is undeterred by the odds against him. This will be Smith’s first time fighting outside of the United Kingdom. For Smith and his team, this change in fight location hasn’t changed how they normally operate their training camps. The only changes made were geared towards getting ready to face Canelo.

“It’s kind of the same. We’ve changed a bit in every camp. We’ve changed obviously sparring partners. We’ve changed hardware with Joe, we’ve changed the combination offensively and defensively. We work on what we think Canelo does well. So we’ve just changed the little adjustments. We always have conditioned well. We’ll be ready for the fight, there is no question about that. So we’ve just made the little adjustments, like I said, to get ready towards Canelo.” – Liam Smith

The Canelo fight is the biggest of Smith’s career and he certainly isn’t looking past the Mexican star. With all the talk of Canelo facing Gennady Golovkin, it would be natural for Smith to think of facing Gennady Golovkin himself or facing the other champions at 154. Smith isn’t concerned about what happens after the fight with Canelo. He knows that if he comes out victorious on September 17th, he will likely be stepping in the ring with Canelo in a rematch.

“No, I’m not a middleweight, and until my body is ready to go to middleweight, I’ll announce it. But I’m not going to sound like Canelo and sound like all the other people now and say I want to beat Canelo, I want to fight Charlo or I want to fight Triple G, because that’s what people are following Canelo.

Now, obviously, my mind is just set on Canelo. And when I beat Canelo, my next fight will be Canelo again, because I know they will throw everything back.” – Liam Smith

 

In facing Smith, Canelo has put himself in a position where he has to look good or his stature in the sport will further drop. Smith isn’t well known in the states, but he isn’t a past prime Alfredo Angulo or an inactive James Kirkland. He will be there to fight and defend his title. All the pressure will be on Canelo on fight night. Smith has as good a chance to pull off the upset as anyone. 

“They overlooked me, and I know after September 17, the excuses are going to come. So I know they’re going to do what they can to get the rematch again. So my mind will be focused on Canelo, and it will be on Canelo again. Because I can see what’s going to happen.” – Liam Smith

(Featured Photo: Getty Images)

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