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  • Miguel Maravilla

Canelo:Taking this fight is a challenge

(Photos - Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)

Mexican superstar, four division world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO's) is in for a tough challenge this weekend as he will face one of the top super middleweights, WBA Super champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) of England. Canelo and Smith square off this Saturday for Smith's WBA Super, Ring Magazine and vacant WBC World Super-Middleweight titles at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, live on DAZN.

“I have the utmost respect for Callum Smith. He is a great champion. I like taking challenges. Taking this fight is a challenge fighting the best 168,” Saul “Canelo” Alvarez said. “We are use to big challenges. I am ready to overcome this challenge,”

Having prepared at his headquarters in San Diego, California, Canelo stood active all year and later began his camp and prepared for Smith with his longtime trainer, 2019 Trainer of the Year Eddie Reynoso.

“It has been a difficult year, but I continued to stay active. I’m a fighter that lives in the gym. My preparation was great,” Canelo on his preparation for Smith.

This will be a high risk and low reward fight for Canelo, as he is facing a very well-rounded boxer. Literally, a big challenge as Smith stands at 6’3” and a 78” reach.

“We have had Callum Smith on our radar. He is the best 168 and we want to campaign at this weight. I plan on staying in this weight for a year,” Canelo stated. “Smith has the size advantage but that don’t mean anything,”

It won’t be the first time Canelo fights an opponent that is much taller than him as he knocked out both Rocky Fielding and Sergey Kovalev. In both fights Canelo was giving up well over 4 inches in height but prevailed.

“With my experience at this level, I know I can adapt to his style. We are ready,” Canelo said.

His opponent, undefeated in 27 fights. Smith won the vacant WBC Diamond title in winning a unanimous decision over Eric Skoglund in 2017 and won the WBA Super title scoring a knockout over George Groves. Smith has made two defenses of title and is coming off a questionable decision over John Ryder last year in November.

“He is a tall fighter with a lot of boxing qualities. Which makes him a complete fighter. A dangerous and smart fighter,” Canelo said about Smith.

Interestingly Canelo has a knockout win over Callum’s older brother, super welterweight Liam Smith back in 2016. A crunching body shot as what did it as Canelo stopped him in nine rounds in front of a massive crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Last year, Canelo won a unanimous decision over former world champion Daniel Jacobs in May and scored a spectacular eleventh-round knockout over former world champion Sergey Kovalev in his last fight to win the WBO light heavyweight title. With the win, Canelo became a four-division world champion joining Mexican greats Jorge Arce, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Erik Morales.

“The was a great win for me and just another step in my career, in making history,” Canelo said.

Following the victory over Kovalev, four months later the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the boxing world was put to a stop. For, Canelo like many it was a tough time outside the ring. Boxing returned in the summer and it was time for Alvarez to get back in the ring as he anxiously awaited.

“Once the quarantine hit. I just trained. Good thing I have my gym. I have to stay in the gym I love what I do,” Canelo said.

Obstacles loomed for Canelo as the business differences between him and promoter Oscar De La Hoya/Golden Boy Promotions were evident. Stemming prior to his last fight against Kovalev. With no fight date and a tentative date for Canelo to fight Irish middleweight Jayson Quigley no fight materialized. With no Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Independence weekend fight. Canelo moved on as he recently parted ways with Golden Boy. Another fight that was recently talked discussed was a potential showdown with IBF middleweight champ.

“There were other names being discussed but those fights didn’t plan out. 2020 has been a difficult year but the good thing is I am fighting,” Canelo said.

In the fall of 2018, Canelo signed a lucrative deal with DAZN worth $365 million for 11 fights. So far, Alvarez has fought a total of 3 fights and is going on his fourth with the Smith fight. Thus, remaining with the network.

Another major acquisition for DAZN was signing IBF/IBO middleweight champion Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin following his rematch with Canelo. Golovkin signed a 6-fight deal worth $ 350 million. So far, he has fought twice under DAZN and will complete half of his contract following his Friday night vs. mandatory number one-contender Kamil Szremeta.

All indications point towards a potential third mega fight between Canelo and Golovkin down the line.

Other potential options for Canelo, include WBC World super middleweight champion David Benavidez, IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant, WBC/IBF light heavyweight champion Arthur Beterbiev, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. Not to mention the middleweight division as Canelo is pretty much a versatile with his weight.

“I want to close the year with a bang as a world champion. The goal is to win all the titles and unify at 168,” Canelo said. “I want to make history and fight the best. I like taking risk. It’s a motivational factor for me and I will continue to do it,”

However, the public is demanding the third fight between Canelo and Golovkin. Regardless of his victory over Golovkin, Alvarez still has some unfinished business to settle. That all depends what happens this Saturday night.

“I always go out and give it the best to go out to win. I have the experience to win by decision and if the knockout opportunity comes. I will take advantage of it. The fans love the knockout,” Canelo concluded.

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