Canelo Summer

Canelo's Summer Finds Liam Smith Next, Not GGG

By David A. Avila

Despite one of the most spectacular knockout wins this year Saul “Canelo” Alvarez still suffers from damaging opinions from evading middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

Rather than fight Golovkin, the popular Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 Kos) relinquished the WBC middleweight title and returned to the 154-pound super welterweight division where he seeks to capture the WBO title from current holder Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 Kos) of England.

Their fight takes place on Sept. 17, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Ever since Golden Boy Promotions announced that the redhead Mexican would not be fighting Golovkin fans worldwide have expressed disgust with Alvarez. Throughout the summer even Mexican fans chided Alvarez.

“You know, there's always going to be critics. They're always there, and it's something that's part of the business,” said Alvarez from his training camp in San Diego. “Obviously there are good critics sometimes and there are bad critics. But the most important thing is it doesn't faze me. It doesn't faze me at all.”

After knocking out England’s Amir Khan in defense of the WBC middleweight title in Las Vegas this past May, most fans believed Alvarez would be facing Golovkin who holds the WBA, IBF and IBO middleweight titles. Fans were excited about the possible matchup but instead were flabbergasted by the failure to secure the fight. Golovkin subsequently picked up the WBC title without a single punch fired.

Alvarez’s promotion company announced he vacated the WBC title and drop back down in weight to 154 pounds to fight England’s Smith.

Smith is no pushover.

“I am very excited, I have asked for a top name for a very long time and when Canelo’s name came to the table it was an automatic ‘yes.’,” said Smith, 28, who lives in Liverpool, England.

Most fans fail to realize Smith is a dangerous opponent for the Mexican redhead. But Alvarez has studied the English fighter and knows better.

“He's a good fighter, he's a champion. He's very strong. He's got a Mexican style, you know, a guy that stands there and likes to exchange punches, so that's one of the things that attracted us to the fight,” said Alvarez, 26. “And, you know, part of the reason for choosing him is he's a world champion. I want to win another world title in my weight class, 154.”

Of course most fans would rather Alvarez fight Golovkin who is busy training in Big Bear for his fight against another English fighter IBF welterweight titlist Kell Brook on Sept. 10. When Golovkin is asked about Alvarez he refuses to talk about him. Instead, he prefers to converse about his upcoming opponent.

“I am focused on this fight,” said Golovkin last Wednesday in Big Bear. “It’s very important fight for me.”

Alvarez and his promotion company say that fighting Golovkin next year makes better financial sense

“He's (Alvarez) on top. He is the star fighter in boxing, and people want him to fight the very best. And he has always fought the very best,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy that represents Alvarez. “And fighting a Golovkin is going to be no exception. He's going to fight him, but when he's ready to move up to 160.”