Smith and Williams fight for the WBO Interim title at the Manchester Arena, an appealing enough showdown in itself, but promoter Frank Warren explains, “We were hoping it would be for the full world title but that will not happen until Canelo [Alvarez] vacates. We all believe that him going up in weight [to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in May, he] will vacate. So the winner of this will become world champion. If [Alvarez] doesn’t vacate, the winner of this will have to fight Canelo. That’s what will have to happen, that’s what will happen very quickly. Or if they become champion, the winner will have to fight Cotto. So whatever happens, one of the Liams is in for a real great fight. These are very significant fights and will have a very significant bearing on the future of British of boxing.
“Whatever happens the winner of this has a super-fight on his hands.”
Liam Smith, who lost to Canelo last year, declined to get ahead of himself. “First and foremost I’m excited about the Liam Williams fight. A lot of people say I will lose this fight. That’s got me massively up for this fight. That’s got me up for this fight just as much as any fight I’ve had. I’ve seen people say it’ll be hard to get up for after the Canelo fight. No it won’t, because I never want to be in that position again, of losing, and obviously all being said I lost to a very, very good fighter but at the end the day I’m a winner and I don’t like losing, whether it’s to the top fighters or someone not so good. I just don’t want to be on the back end of another defeat. Believe me, I’ve trained well. They’re hoping I’ve overlooked Liam Williams,” he said. “I do think it will gel well, I think it will be very, very competitive, especially early on. I think Liam Williams is a good fighter.”
“Experience will play its part,” he continued. “I think he knows what he’s in for. Don’t be surprised if they leave it in the gym… They’re trying to tick every box possible because they know they’re in a fight. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in a fight as well. But this is another fight for me. Don’t be surprised if it’s not what you expect.”
Smith however is adamant he merits a clash with Cotto. “I’m sure if myself versus Miguel Cotto got made after the Williams fight I don’t think we’d get as much stick as we were getting before the Canelo fight. I think America wouldn’t mind that fight now after seeing the Canelo fight,” Liam said. “As much as I lost to a world class fighter, in 25, 26 fights it’s the worst camp I’ve had so it sounds mad but I’d love that opportunity again. I know a million times I can be better than what I was that night.”
Smith v Williams is live on BoxNation and BT Sport as part of a bumper night of boxing this Saturday headlined by Terry Flanagan v Petr Petrov