Callum Smith: ‘Nobody rates Canelo more than me. I just think he’s a middleweight’

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“If the phone rang tomorrow, I’d jump at the fight,” said Callum Smith when asked for his thoughts on Golden Boy Promotions mentioning him as a potential opponent for Canelo Alvarez in the aftermath of the Mexican superstar’s 12-round unanimous decision over Danny Jacobs on Saturday.

Smith, The Ring and WBA super middleweight champion, was really speaking on behalf of every top-level fighter from 154 pounds upwards. Canelo is the biggest name in world boxing at present and a fight against him offers a career-defining opportunity and a life-changing payday. If you’re a prizefighter and you don’t want some of that, then you’re in the wrong business.

“It’s nice to have your name mentioned by a fighter at the elite-level and it’s a compliment to me,” acknowledged Smith candidly.

“He’s special, he’s the face of boxing at the minute and nobody rates him more than me. I just think he’s a middleweight. To come up to super middle is a big ask for him, and no disrespect to Rocky Fielding (Canelo stopped Fielding in three and Smith stopped him in one at 168 pounds), I believe I’m a lot better.

“Canelo is a good fighter, great to watch and I do rate him. The things is, I rate (Vasiliy) Lomachenko, but I don’t believe he’ll win junior welterweight or welterweight titles. There’s only so much size you can give away where your ability makes up for it. I see size as being a big advantage for me if the Canelo fight happens.”

There were insiders who figured that Jacobs would cause Canelo problems due to his superior dimensions, but the unbeaten Smith is something else entirely. The Englishman is 6-foot-3-inches tall and the most imposing physical specimen at 168 pounds today. Smith would have a functional seven-inch height advantage and a five-inch reach advantage over Canelo, plus he can punch his weight.

Smith was also keen to point out that Jacobs got things wrong tactically.

“Jacobs didn’t do enough early on,” said the Liverpool star. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with making weight; maybe he was worried about taking a big shot early. Also, Jacobs let him get into a rhythm and by the time Canelo slowed, the fight was already won. He just allowed him too much time.

“But I can’t take anything away from Canelo, I thought he looked really good early on. He dominated the first half and it looked like it was going to be a whitewash. Eventually he slowed, went to the ropes a bit and Jacobs came on in the second half and won a few of the rounds. I still didn’t have it as close as a lot of people did, though.”

 

Despite his obvious excitement at a potential Canelo clash, Smith believes the pound-for-pound star will ultimately target the winner of Demetrius Andrade and Maciej Sulecki, who clash on June 29 in Rhode Island, Providence, for Andrade’s WBO middleweight title. It’s the only 160-pound strap that Canelo doesn’t hold and he would therefore have the motivation of becoming undisputed champion.

However, if Smith comes through a scheduled June 1 bout (reportedly against Hassan N’Dam on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard), then Golden Boy Promotions wouldn’t need to ask him twice.

When quizzed about the preferred locale for such a dream fight, “El Mundo” didn’t sound overly concerned one way or the other.

“Whenever I envision myself fighting Canelo, it’s always in Las Vegas,” revealed Smith. “He’s kind of like (Floyd) Mayweather with the MGM Grand in that he’s making the T-Mobile his home now. He generates so much money.

“(Golden Boy Promotions) did mention Wembley Stadium (in London) and that would be massive. It sells out anywhere because people would have a chance to watch Canelo up close. Being honest, though, if the fight goes ahead, I think it will be Vegas. Mayweather mentioned Wembley so many times and it never actually happened. Canelo will probably be the same.”

Time will tell.

 

Tom Gray is the Associate Editor for The Ring and a member of The Ring ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

 

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