JOE GALLAGHER, trainer of Liam Smith, feels that Canelo Alvarez should have elected to face unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on September 17, rather than Smith.
The Liverpudlian defends his WBO world super-welterweight title against the flame-haired Mexican at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
However after flattening Amir Khan in May, Canelo insisted he was ready to fight ‘GGG’ in a blockbuster clash, and Gallagher thinks Alvarez and his team have made a mistake by challenging ‘Beefy’.
“They should have taken the ‘GGG’ fight, if he had lost to ‘GGG’ then he’s lost to the main man at middleweight and for a pot load more money. Losing to Liam Smith is going to hurt a lot more,” he told Boxing News.
“Things can come back and bite you on the a***, but I’m hugely confident of going over there. It suits the mentality we have in the gym, being the underdog. Siege mentality.”
Smith will be making an undeniably large step up in class when he faces the former two-weight world champion, in what will be his American debut.
Gallagher, a methodical tactician who closely analyses his fighters’ opponents, is confident he already has the right gameplan to beat Canelo, who has only ever lost to Floyd Mayweather and holds wins over Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Miguel Cotto.
Bullishy strong and a smart boxer, Alvarez is one of the best fighters in the world but has shown that he sometimes takes breaks during rounds.
“Shane Mosley tried to outwork him, then got wobbled in the fourth. We can’t be reckless, Alvarez is a very good counter-puncher and a very hard puncher. At this level, all it takes is one mistake and you get taken out,” Gallagher continued.
“I think the first few rounds and exchanges will determine the fight, they’ll see if they can take the other’s power and if they both feel they can handle it they’ll both sit in the trenches. This is the type of fight that people should be excited about, no one’s going to hide.
“We know we’ve got to win and win well, we’ve got to box well and beyond to win it.”
By that, Gallagher means he holds concerns over how fairly the judges in Texas will score the fight on the night. There have been occurences where judges were notoriously generous to the Mexican in rounds he appeared to lose – CJ Ross infamously score his one-sided reverse to Mayweather a draw, though that fight was in Las Vegas.
Unbeaten Smith will also be stepping onto the biggest stage of his career, given that Canelo is the sport’s brightest star after the retirements of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
However he appeared relaxed, confident and full of self-belief during the two-stop media tour earlier in the week.
“I think Liam Smith’s taken it in his stride, some kids can get overwhelmed. He took to the podium, full of confidence, spoke well and you got a feel for it. Liam Smith knows this is where he belongs, the stage is set,” Gallagher said.
“I think it comes from our belief in what we do. Me taking the lads to America and sparring world class fighters, it gives them belief in their ability. Because of so many big fights we’ve had as well, Liam’s used to the big stage.”