Canelo dominates, as Smith looks towards moving up to 175lbs
Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez shines bright on the last big boxing show of the year. His critics cannot question his status as a four-division champion anymore.
The four-weight ruler battered and bloodied previously unbeaten Brit Callum Smith on his way to a dominant 12-round win in the main event of a seven-bout card before a pandemic-restricted, sellout crowd of 11,426 on Saturday night, December 19, at the Alamodome in Texas.
30-year-old Alvarez won decisively on the scorecards of judges Steve Morrow (117-111), Rafael Ramos (119-109) and Steve Weisfeld (119-109), to leave the ring with two super-middleweight world titles and solidified his position as the pound-for-pound number one.
Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) took the WBA “super” 168-pound championship from Liverpool’s Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) and won the vacant WBC super middleweight title in the process. That's the second member of the Smith family he has defeated, having previously stopped older brother Liam in 2016, which also took place in Texas.
The far shorter Saul basically beat down the 6ft 3" tall Smith, who couldn’t use his seven-inch height and reach advantage to prevent the Mexican from getting inside and landing power punches to his head and body. Teak-tough, Smith tried to land at times, but he had to remain cautious because of Alvarez’s superior power and never seemed to affect Alvarez with any of the shots he landed.
“I did a great job after a 13-month layoff,” Alvarez told DAZN’s Chris Mannix through a translator. “Smith is a great fighter, but like you see, I did a great job.”
According to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, Alvarez landed 112 more punches overall than Smith (209-of-484 to 97-of-536). Canelo connected on more power punches (126-of-220 to 55-of-228) and more jabs (88-of-274 to 44-of-311).
“I’m the best in the world,” Alvarez said. “Since the first round, I tried to see what he brings, the skills or whatever. But like you see, I showed what I am.”
Alvarez legitimized himself as a four-division champion by beating Smith. The Guadalajara native won the WBA world super middleweight crown by stopping England’s Rocky Fielding in the third round two years ago at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Smith already owned the WBA’s true 168-pound championship at that time. Smith had stopped Fielding (28-2, 16 KOs) in the first round three years earlier at Echo Arena in Liverpool as well.
Alvarez also left the ring Saturday night with the WBC super middleweight title that was stripped from David Benavidez four months ago, after he missed weight for an optional title defense against Alexis Angulo. In accordance with the WBC sanctioning this title fight, Alvarez now must make a mandated defense against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) within 90 days or risk being stripped.
Alvarez has won world titles in the junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He fought Saturday night for the first time since he knocked out Russia’s Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round to win the WBO light heavyweight title 13½ months ago at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Smith also ended a one-year layoff. He hadn’t fought since struggling to win a 12-round, unanimous-decision against English southpaw John Ryder (29-5, 16 KOs) last November 23 in Liverpool.
“I’m devastated,” Callum Smith said. “Listen, I never wanted to lose. I come here to win. It just wasn’t my night, a few little things. Listen, he was good tonight. Fair play to him. I had a sore [left] arm – he kept hitting me in it. But yeah, no excuses. I think I may have outgrown the weight. I don’t feel as dominant at 168 as I used to be. But listen, no excuses – he is very good.”
Alvarez landed a hard jab toward the end of a first round both boxers spent feeling each other out.
Alvarez landed a left hook to Smith’s head with just over a minute remaining in the second round, but Smith’s right glove partially blocked it. Alvarez again out-jabbed the taller, rangier Smith in that second round.
Smith took Alvarez’s flush left hook well barely a minute into the third round. Alvarez’s straight right penetrated Smith’s guard with just over a minute to go in the third. Smith kept throwing to Alvarez’s body in the third round, but Alvarez caught him with a thudding left to the body just before that third round ended.
Smith let his hands go after absorbing another right from Alvarez with just under a minute remaining in the fourth round. None of those shots seemed to affect Alvarez, though.
Alvarez stunned Smith with a right hand about 30 seconds into the fourth round. Smith retreated and didn’t allow Alvarez to follow up on that shot.
Smith was more active in the fifth round, when his straight right-left hook combination caught Alvarez with just over 30 seconds to go in it. Alvarez still stalked him throughout those three minutes, as Smith remained wary of Alvarez’s power.
Alvarez connected with right hand as Smith moved to the ropes and attempted to cover up later in the sixth. Smith fired a right hand that just missed at the halfway point of the sixth round. Smith landed a left hook up top several seconds later.
Alvarez landed a right uppercut about 1:05 into the seventh round. Alvarez also connected with two flush left hooks later in the seventh that kept Smith on his back foot.
Alvarez’s vicious right uppercut snapped back Smith’s head with 50 seconds to go in the eighth round. Alvarez’s straight right got through Smith’s high guard in the opening minute of the eighth round. Smith landed a solid right with about 1:15 left in the eighth.
Smith showed toughness throughout that ninth round, when he bled from his nose and mouth and took numerous punishing punches form Alvarez.
He just kept coming forward and unloaded knockout shots on Smith.
Alvarez caught Smith with a hard right hand early in the ninth round, but Smith took it well. Alvarez nailed Smith with another right hand just after the midway mark of the ninth, as Smith backed toward the ropes.
Smith held Alvarez early in the 10th round, as Alvarez hammered away at his head and body. Smith cracked Alvarez with a right hand with about 1:10 to go in the 10th round, but Alvarez wasn’t fazed.
A right uppercut by Alvarez caught Smith early in the 11th round. He continued pressuring Smith during that round and out-landed him yet again in those three minutes.
Smith continued taking flush punches from Alvarez during the 12th round. The former champion looked up at the clock several times in the final round to see how much more time he had left to fend off the ever-aggressive Alvarez.
Canelo can now boast a seven year long and 13 fight winning streak, and has proven himself as the P4P #1.
Smith returns to England beltless, but fight fans can feel excited about his potential move up to light-heavyweight where he can begin another chapter in his career.