THE wait is over. Canelo Alvarez, the most influential free agent in the sport, has announced his next move.
He will box the WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith on December 19.
This will be Alvarez’s first contest since parting ways with his long-time promoter Golden Boy and so does mark the next stage of his career. Major stars in the sport have taken their careers into their own hands in similar ways before. Floyd Mayweather is a prime example of one who did just that and took himself to stratospheric levels of fame. (Oscar De La Hoya of course set up Golden Boy promotions himself.) Canelo, having taken full control, is taking a real, credible fight next. Moving back down from light-heavyweight after beating Sergey Kovalev, in Callum Smith he is boxing the current leader of the super-middleweight division. Intriguingly after excavating himself from a highly lucrative but long term deal with DAZN, Canelo will reappear on the US streaming service for this fight.
It’s a fight Smith has been close to getting before and one which he’s long been targeting. Alvarez is a global star. This contest gives Callum the opportunity to take on one of the biggest names in world boxing, with the added appeal of a chance to avenge his older brother Liam’s 2016 loss to Canelo.
It’s been a long wait and an intense period of negotiation to make this fight. “Negotiations aren’t straightforward when you’re at the highest level. That’s part of boxing you’ve got to learn to deal with,” Smith told Boxing News previously.
“I feel I’m the best in the world,” Smith continued. “I do think stylistically I’m not ideal for a small super-middleweight, [who has moved] up from middleweight. I’m not saying he’s scared to fight me. But I do think stylistically I’m not ideal.
“I believe I’ll beat whoever I need to beat to prove myself as the number one in the division.
“I’ll always do enough to win.”
Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher was in Liam’s corner for that 2016 clash with Canelo. He will relish a second attempt against the Mexican superstar. “I don’t think you realise how good Canelo is until you’re up there up close and personal with him,” he told Boxing News before. “With Callum, Canelo would most probably slip [inside] the long arms, similar to Kovalev. But Callum’s inside game is good. I think it’s just an exciting fight. I think they’re two fighters that will meet head on.
“Callum Smith will give Canelo a very good fight. He’ll give him problems. Styles make fights and that’s a huge fight.
” He [Callum Smith] is the number one, he’s the 168lbs world champion.”