FROM what I can see, Liam Smith, like me, is a stubborn character, you can see it in the way that he fights, and he will go into his fight with “Canelo” Alvarez believing he can win. Going over to America as the opponent won’t bother him, and it didn’t bother me at all.
I don’t think he will be fazed that he’s the champion and he’s being treated otherwise, that he’s fighting on away soil, but he’s coming up against a good fighter and he may not realise the extent of how good Canelo is until the fight happens. Smith is quite similar to Alvarez, he’s developed into an excellent inside fighter – his variety is fantastic – and he’s almost the mirror image of Alvarez. But for me, as harsh as it sounds, he’s just not as good.
When my fight with Alvarez was first made I watched him on tape, I could see weaknesses I could exploit, and I felt I had a good chance. But once you get in there it’s a different kettle of fish. I’ve always said it’s his strength, he’s unbelievably strong. Liam’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, phoned me and I said, “Joe, I’m sorry, there’s not much I can tell you other than about his strength.” You can watch all the tapes in the world, come up with all sorts of tactics, but nothing can prepare you for how strong he is. You also have to remember he’s a much better fighter now from when I fought him, what he’s done since has proved that.
Perhaps the only fighter there who can beat him is Gennady Golovkin, and it’s a real shame that fight isn’t happening. It’s sometimes too easy to let your team do the talking, and I believe that a fighter at Alvarez’s level is their own boss. If he really wanted Golovkin now, he would have told his promoters to make that fight now. It’s too easy to say the team won’t allow it – if he wanted it, it could be made. It’s unfortunate for Smith, because anyone other than Golovkin would always have been deemed a letdown.
So Golovkin goes in with Kell Brook and I applaud Kell for fighting one of the most feared fighters out there. I can’t speak highly enough of Kell Brook, what a fighter he is, but Golovkin is cut from a different cloth. It’s not just size, he’s incredibly good, he’s strong.
I think Kell has outgrown welterweight, but there are weight divisions for a reason, and he should step up gradually and go to super-welterweight. There is a trend these days to skip divisions and the Amir Khan-Alvarez fight demonstrated the consequences of what can happen. I always thought that would happen, I feared he would get knocked out badly. I’ve seen fighters over the years who get knocked out badly and they’re never the same again. Their confidence is shattered. I’d fancy Brook to win world titles at 154lbs, but this might be a step too far.
This article was originally published in Boxing News magazine