Canelo Alvarez vs Callum Smith - Fight Preview

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Canelo v Smith Preview

Quite comfortably one of the biggest fights in boxing in 2020 as Canelo Alvarez takes on Callum Smith for the WBA & Ring Super Middleweight titles of the world in San Antonio, Texas. Canelo was pencilled in to fight Billy Joe Saunders earlier this year, but 2020 scuppered any plans of that fight happening and since that, he's been involved in a contractual war with DAZN and Golden Boy.

However, all that seems to have been sorted now and it was announced in mid-November that he'd take on the unbeaten British fighter and current WBA & Ring Super Middleweight champion of the world, Callum Smith.

As per usual we'll be taking an in-depth look at where the fight will be won and lost for both fighters including a prediction for Canelo v Smith.

How Canelo Wins The Fight

Well, there's not many words to describe this man. He turned professional back in 2015 at the age of just 15, yes, FIFTEEN, and it's been a heck of a journey since then. The Mexican has had 56 professional bouts to date with 53 wins, two draws and one loss and he's taken on the best with his only career defeat coming to the hand of arguably the greatest ever, Floyd Mayweather.

A world champion at four different weights by the age of 30, this man will eventually go down in history as one of the best fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Stand out victories over the likes of Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and most recently, Sergey Kovalev, he's arguably got the best resume of any fighter currently active in the sport. And now, going into the fight with Smith, he's red hot favourite and rightly so on paper.

Canelo is on a four-fight win streak at three different weights, he's set to make the 168lbs limit for super middleweight for just the second time in his career. Now, how does he beat the unbeaten World Boxing Super Series Super Middleweight Champ?

Going off Smith's last performance, which many people are, it's fairly obvious. The Englishman took on fellow domestic rival John Ryder and won by a controversial points decision. Ryder is more or less a carbon copy of Canelo physically and in some ways stylistically and he caused Smith all sorts of problems with his front foot pressure and short and fast combinations.

These are two things Canelo is renowned for and if anything he will do everything Ryder did to Smith but just a bit better. He'll need to use his faultless lateral movement to slip, duck and roll Smith's long jab and get inside to unleash a variety of body combinations ending up with an uppercut upstairs. Smith has never really been properly chin checked despite fighting the likes of George Groves and Rocky Fielding, so undoubtedly, Canelo's more accumulative power will be vital if he can get inside that jab with his superior footwork and lateral movement.

Canelo's feet and faints to trigger that jab from Smith will be essential and even if he can frustrate him by making him miss with his jab and mentally breaking him down more than physically, he'll be in a very good position to win the fight.


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How Smith Wins The Fight

A Commonwealth Games silver medalist as an amateur, Callum Smith has had a more than impressive career in the unpaid ranks and the paid ranks of the sport.

Since he turned professional in late 2012, he's amassed 27 victories from his 27 bouts to date with an impressive 19 coming by stoppage. Smith has picked up the English, British and European Super Middleweight titles in the process before entering the World Boxing Super Series in 2017.

Wins over Erik Skoglund and late replacement Nieky Holzken saw Smith earn a shot at the WBA and Ring Super Middleweight World titles against fellow Brit George Groves in the final of the tournament. Then, in a career-best performance, he blasted the highly rated Groves away in just seven rounds which then saw him become the number one ranked fighter at 168lbs in the world. A showreel stoppage win over Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam followed, before a close points defeat of John Ryder at the back end of last year.

And now it's time for the big question that boxing fans need answering: how does Smith beat Canelo?

Honestly, it's rather simple. Smith is by far the much bigger man in the fight. He's got an eight-inch reach advantage over the Mexican and if Canelo has shown somewhat of a weakness in his recent performances, it's his ability to deal with a bigger man with a solid jab, something which Smith prides himself on.

In his fight against light heavyweight champion, Kovalev, last year, the Russian found a home for his jab and more than held his own for 10 rounds with the cards very close before fatigue got the better of him. That was an old Kovalev, however, who was in his second fight in eight weeks; this is a fresh and youthful Smith who's currently at the top of his game.

In fact, Kovalev only had a two-inch reach advantage over Canelo that night and with Smith having four times that, his jab is going to be crucial so if he can have success with that early on by snapping it more, making it harder for Canelo to slip inside.

Smith showed minor vulnerabilities to the body against Ryder but that was nowhere the best Smith. As mentioned, it's likely Canelo will target the body but with Smith's huge arms, his body defence is actually very underrated; he tucks elbows in well and despite them hurting, it hurts a lot less than taking shots onto the ribs.

Catching Canelo's relentless body attacks on the elbows will create opportunities to chop short counter left and right hands to Canelo's head and body and if anyone can hurt the Mexican, it's Smith.

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Canelo v Smith Prediction

On paper, this is Canelo's fight to lose, however, we do not see it that way at all.

People will look into Smith's most recent performance more than they will Canelo's considering it was more controversial but you can't ignore the fact that despite stopping Kovalev, Canelo really did struggle with the Russians superior size advantage and his straight shots. Yes, Smith struggled with John Ryder's front foot pressure and hand speed, but anyone who's watched Smith throughout his career knows full well that wasn't Smith at anywhere near 100%.

Come fight time, Smith will have the weight advantage as well as the height advantage. The Englishman will be focused on finding a home for his jab early on then when Canelo does step into range, ripping that ferocious left hook of his to the body to deter the Mexican from walking through his punches. If Canelo does find a way inside which at one point of the fight he's bound to, 'Mundo' will need to play dirty and tie him up as quick as he can and lean on him in the clinch so Canelo can feel that extra weight on top of him and ultimately tire him out quicker.

Expect the fight to be tense early on but whoever gets the better of the first four or five rounds, expect them to come out with the victory and for us, that will be Callum Smith.

Prediction: Callum Smith to win by Decision or Technical Decision - Best priced 12/1 @ 888Sport

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