A stone-faced Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) pulled no punches on Saturday night, neither literally nor figuratively.
In the ring, he thoroughly wrecked an overmatched Liam Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs), landing 51% of his power punches and knocking him down twice before landing a crushing liver shot in the ninth that left the Liverpool native writhing in pain, unable to continue.
Outside of the ring, and in front of a microphone post-fight, a smug Canelo Alvarez then put the entire boxing world on notice. “A lot of people won’t like this and many will disagree but I am the best,” said the new WBO World super welterweight champion.
“It’s a great responsibility for me but I consider myself to be a responsible person,” he added. “One who is one hundred percent dedicated to this sport, one who is disciplined and loves what he does. With that, I can assume that responsibility. This is my era, and it will be the best.”
Leading up to the fight, Alvarez fielded questions about a potential matchup with undefeated middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin at a rate comparable to those about Liam Smith and the actual September event being promoted.
During this past Saturday’s post-fight press conference, the questions about the potential super-fight continued. The well-rehearsed men in suits at Golden Boy Promotions went all in, claiming that an eight figure offer was made to Team Golovkin for the Alvarez fight but that calls were never returned.
An emphatic Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo’s promoter, is on record stating that his fighter is absolutely not ducking Golovkin and that the two will eventually face off when the Mexican star is ready to move up to 160 pounds.
Naturally, Canelo was asked if he plans on moving up to middleweight any time soon. He clearly stated, in his native tongue, that he wanted to leave the division on a high note and that he accomplished that task. “I believe this will be my last fight (at junior middleweight),” he clearly added.
When translated by a Golden Boy representative and shared with the anglophones in attendance, however, the message shifted in form and became “We’ll see. This might be my last fight at 54. I’m not sure yet.”
It is clear that Canelo is the bigger draw and that his promoters consider themselves to be the obvious “A-side” to this potential match-up. That said, expect negotiations to crawl along at a snail’s pace while the lineal middleweight “champion” recovers from a hand injury he suffered this past Saturday.
In the meantime, buzz for the superfight will continue to grow and Canelo seems willing to help it along. When asked if he saw Golovkin’s last fight against Kell Brook, his answer was brief but loaded with the kind of undertone aimed at stoking a puny fire until it becomes a roaring blaze. “It’s nothing rare for me,” said a dismissive Canelo. “We already know what he is about. It wasn’t anything special, what I saw.”