Canelo Alvarez showed why he is likely the best fighter in the sport of boxing.
The multi-division champion from Guadelajara used a bullying style against an opponent in Callum Smith who was much taller than he is and dominated over the course of 12 rounds to win by unanimous decision (119-109 twice, 117-111) and become the unified champion at super middleweight with the WBA, WBC, and Ring titles. His record is now 54-1-2 in his 15th year as a professional. Smith falls to 27-1 in his career.
While the defending champion had the reach advantage over Canelo, he rarely used it as the jab was not effective in the early rounds. Canelo moved in range and started to go to work early with his jab and connected to the body on multiple occasions, wearing down the Liverpool native in the first half of the fight. There was hardly a response from Smith, and when there was Canelo seemed ready for each one of them by either blocking, rolling with the punch or countering what Smith was throwing. The efficiency in which Canelo was exhibiting was of note as he landed 57 percent of his power punches against Smith. He also showed his skill on defense as well – Smith’s punch connect percentage was only 18 percent.
This victory solidified Canelo’s case as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport as he is a unified champion in a third division and has held world titles in four divisions. This performance stood out though as it was against the top rated super middleweight in the world. Canelo attempted to stop Smith in the late rounds but failed to knock him down or stun his opponent. Despite that, Alvarez was pleased with his performance.
“I did a great job after a 13-month layoff,” Canelo said after the fight. “Smith is a great fighter, but like you see, I did a great job.”
“Since the first round, I tried to see what he brings, the skills or whatever. But like you see, I showed what I am.”
Smith was coming off of a performance against John Ryder that left a lot out there for people to criticize. Even though he won by unanimous decision last year, many felt that Ryder had the upper hand. Smith wanted to redeem himself on Saturday night but Canelo was too much for him.
It just wasn’t my night,” Smith said after his loss to Alvarez. “Listen, he was good tonight. Fair play to him. I had a sore [left] arm – he kept hitting me in it. But listen, no excuses – he is very good.”
Very good is one way to describe Canelo Alvarez…however many feel that he is on his way to being one of the best fighters that have stepped in the ring in the past two decades. It remains to be seen what is next for the unified super middleweight champion but fans are eager to find out when he will step in the ring once again.