The Bookie Batterer: Picking Canelo to Beef up our Bank Balance

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After a few weeks off, ‘The Bookie Batterer’ returns this weekend to give our tip for the massive Liam Smith v Canelo Alvarez WBO light middleweight title fight at the AT&T Stadium in Texas.

The fight on Saturday will be shown live on Boxnation, and on HBO PPV in America, as ‘Beefy’ looks to defend his title against Mexican superstar and heavy favourite Alvarez [47(33)-1(0)-1].

Liam is the favourite of the four Liverpudlian Smith brothers for many hardcore fans. The down-to-earth 28 year old is known for his love of football, often continuing playing Sunday league during fight camps, and for being a generally nice guy.

While Smith [23(13)-0-1] does have a bigger chance in this fight than many Stateside believe, we a picking a first half stoppage for two-weight champ Canelo.

The impression given recently by Joe Gallagher is that he is aiming for Smith to outlast the Mexican, who will be making 154lbs for the first time in three years (when he fought at a 152lbs catchweight v Floyd Mayweather, his only career loss).

In theory, coming on strong down the stretch against a potentially tiring Canelo is a solid tactic. Indeed Gallagher has used this gameplan many times – soak up early pressure and then take control. The method worked perfectly for Anthony Crolla against Ismail Barroso, with the Venezuelan throwing plenty of leather against the Mancunian before being stopped with a body shot in the seventh.

A similar tactic was implemented by Scott Quigg against Carl Frampton in their super bantamweight unification in February. However, Frampton did not over-commit early against a low-activity Quigg, and was content to build up an early lead and keep gas in the tank to counteract the Gallagher-trained fighter’s late assault.

It is hard to see Canelo using the same approach of simply ‘doing enough’ early on. Expect an early barrage from the fan-friendly Mexican who will be given plenty of opportunities to unload on the Englishman. While Smith’s defence is solid, he will find it tough to withstand the sustained clubbing shots of Alvarez, and we may not get to see how he will fare in the second half of the fight.

Tip – Canelo Alvarez Rounds 1-6
Best Price – 7/4 with Ladbrokes

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie