CANELO ALVAREZ and Liam Smith came face to face for the first time yesterday when they formally announced their September 15 fight at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Smith will make the third defence of his WBO world super-welterweight title against the Mexican superstar in what will also be his American debut.
Though two-weight world champion Canelo represents a huge step up in class for the Liverpudlian, Smith wasted no time in accepting the fight when it was offered.
“I am very excited, I have asked for a top name for a very long time and when Canelo’s name came to the table it was an automatic ‘yes,'” he said.
“We are coming very prepared for this fight, and I’m coming to win.”
Canelo, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, is moving back to 154lbs, where he previously held the WBC and WBA titles. He then managed to claim the WBC middleweight title, though only fought for it at a 155lb catchweight.
Alvarez is already a sporting icon in Mexico, meaning he has a huge fanbase in Texas. The stadium, which can hold over 100,000 people for a boxing event, is expected to draw in his large following.
“I had to work for my birthday, so I’m here to work. I’m very happy to be back in Texas again, in this beautiful stadium,” he said.
“I’m going to take this fight seriously and prepare like always. I know how I’m going to have to train. I like to give the fans a great fight, and that is what I will prepare for.”
Oscar De La Hoya, promoter of Alvarez, talked up the prospect of the two heavy-handed combatants putting on a show.
He also touched upon an interesting layer to the fight; both men come from fighting families, and both have brothers who are also professional fighters.
“Here you have Liam Smith, an aggressive, relentless fighter. His previous eight opponents have fallen before the final bell. And then you have Canelo Alvarez, who is only getting more and more powerful with each of his devastating victories,” he said.
“Both of these fighters come from boxing families. Boxing is in their blood. To Canelo and Smith, fighting is a family tradition and with that comes a responsibly to live up to the family name. That said, both of them will come to the ring on September 17 to wage a war: for Canelo, to claim a new title as the WBO junior middleweight world champion and for Smith, to successfully defend his WBO title once again and make a name for himself in the U.S.”