Brian Daly – The 5 Point Pundit – Canelo v Smith
Aside from the obvious, Smith being the heavy underdog with a big heart, both having big punching power etc… We take a look at the less obvious but potentially more important points, like footwork, head movement and even diva-like requests from Canelo.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez:
Has the biggest advantage of all – experience. The Mexican has faced world-class fighters, on the world’s biggest stages.
Apart from Canelo facing more opponents, more importantly, he’s faced more quality opponents. Smith’s opponents have a combined 286 wins. Canelo’s opponents have 703 wins. Canelo has knocked out 67% of his higher quality opponents to Smith’s 54%. Liam Smith doesn’t care about those numbers which could be brave, or could be stupid.
Canelo will be confident because his entire career has been at a higher calibre. But maybe this massive difference in experience will make Canelo over-confident and play right into the hands of the Merseyside man.
Liam “Beefy” Smith:
Has a few things going for him that might not be obvious to casual fight fans. First, he’s improving all the time. You can expect to see a better Smith to one you’ve seen previously. Part of the reason for his improvements is, as the old saying goes… “When you win a title, you improve overnight”.
Secondly, he’s what your Mother would call a “Gurrier”. A likeable Liverpool lad, who doesn’t care what people think, about Canelo’s reputation, or the hype. He just wants to have a scrap. That’s bad news for Canelo. The question is, does Smith have the boxing skills to back up this attitude.
1. The weight cut has proven hard for the Mexican. If he struggles with weight here, he won’t be as strong as usual and we could see a massive upset. If you’re betting on the fight, wait until after you see the weigh-in. If Canelo seems to be struggling, a punt on Smith could be worth it.
2. Smith will show no respect once the bell goes, and he can knock people out, so dominating the early rounds is vital because the last thing Canelo wants to do is give Smith more hope.
3. Canelo requested that his name be first on all the promo material, and to do his ring walk first. Normally the Champ goes first. Diva-like demands show insecurity and a lack of focus. If he was my boxer he’d be told to shut up about getting his name first, and work on getting to the punch first. Less diva more digs.
1. Canelo will implement exactly what his corner tell him. To the letter. There are very few boxers that do exactly what their corner says, as precisely as Canelo.
2. He will test and be tested by Smith early on. Depending on how those early exchanges go, the fight will change. Canelo will be more adaptable to these changes because of his superior footwork.
3. Expect Canelo to take the fight slowly dragging into late rounds for a war of attrition, where experience matters most, but only if Smith gets an early lead.
1. His footwork, which very few people are talking about, is sadly not world class. For all the talk about these heavy punchers, footwork is more important for this fight. Unless footwork is one of the areas Smith has improved upon, Canelo has a big advantage. Smith is limited, if Canelo is dictating range and position with better footwork.
2. Smiths first time boxing away from home in a massive venue. Not something he seems to care about, but still his first time, so there’s no telling how he’ll cope.
3. A severe lack of head movement. If Smith walks forward onto shots like he did against Jimmy Kelly, Canelo will KO him.
1. To put on a show. With heart and determination. To learn from the first 5 rounds of Canelo -V- Khan, where hand speed, movement, and ring craft troubled Canelo.
2. He will apply his pressure-fighter style and give it everything. If he wins, it will be down to his heart, not his superior boxing.
3. To show his world-class patience and ability to stay cool and calculated if he’s doing well, or hurting Canelo.
If I was refereeing, I’d have a concern about head clashes.
This fight will have a lot of close-range action, so head clashes are very likely anyway. But when they’re fighting close range, both boxers sometimes use head movement that lacks purpose. It’s nothing like the slick head movement of Mayweather used to create angles and leverage punches. It’s more like the head movement of someone trying to dance at a rave but they’re being attacked by a wasp.
Hard to see this going the distance and being left to the judges.
If the fight goes to the scorecards and if it’s close, with Smith edging it, then the decision should go to Smith.
However, as a general rule of judging, you must clearly beat the champ, to become champ.
This is boxing, so as an experienced judge, I’m sorry to say… a stadium of 80,000 people, in Canelo’s back garden, on the weekend of Mexican Independence celebrations, might sway some judges in the direction of Canelo.
You’d need to build some kind of wall to stop Mexican fans from influencing this fight. And only a fool would think of doing something like that for real.
It’s easy to see the hype and make predictions here but, we can still knock a bit of craic out of it…
Beating Liam Smith could be the worst thing that happens Canelo’s career, if he doesn’t fight Golovkin afterwards. After Canelo vacated the WBC belt to avoid Golovkin, there were doubts about his bravery, more delays after a win against Smith, could damage Canelo’s legacy.
Liam Smith knows people will be cheering him on as underdog. He’s been called “The Paul Scholes of boxing” Because he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves and only people who train with him, know how good he is.
Smith is a fight fan’s dream because he’ll fight anyone. Canelo is frustrating fans by snaking away from Golovkin so this is a classic show-down.
The unknown out-of-towner rolls into the Texas stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and seeks to serve justice on the low-down, yellow belly snake. Either way, it’s going to be a serious shoot out.