Canelo Alvarez makes Texas toast of Callum Smith
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Canelo Alvarez of Mexico returned to the ring after a tumultuous year none the worse for it. Alvarez delivered a complete 12 round beatdown of Callum Smith to take his WBA World Super Middleweight title. Scores were 119-109 X 2, and 117-111. He is now a legitimate four-division champion.
Nearly 15,000 distanced fans at Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas were treated to a master class by Alvarez (54-1-2 36 KOs), who neutralized Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) with speed, power, ring generalship, and excellent defensive skills in service of a perfect game plan. Snapping jabs set up body shots, and uppercuts were landing as Alvarez got inside on Smith as the fight wore on.
Alvarez: ‘I’m the best in the world’
Smith didn’t seem to know what to do with Alvarez. He couldn’t let his hands go, or he risked being met by some of the best counter punches in boxing. If he guarded against the body shots, no worries. Alvarez simply shifted to hard right hooks to the head. This is where being the taller fighter is a liability. Smith presented a big target.
It was such a demoralizing drubbing for an undefeated world champion, Smith’s corner had to consider pulling him out of the fight. They didn’t, and he at least made it to the final bell on his feet.
“You see, I did a great job,” said Alvarez after the fight. He said he knew in the first round Smith couldn’t threaten him. “I’m the best in the world. I feel very strong at this weight. I feel great at 168. I don’t want to fight with the scale. After 13 months, you see what I can do.”
A dejected Smith made no excuses. “I come here to win. It wasn’t my night. He was good tonight, fair play to him.” Smith admitted it’s not as easy to make the 168-pound weight limit as it used to be. “Maybe I stayed put on the weight a little too long, I had no problem making the weight. He performed, I performed, he was the better man tonight.”
Smith’s assessment of Alvarez? “He’s just smart, to be honest with you. He’s clever. He sets little traps and keeps you thinking constantly.’
Alvarez neutralized Smith’s offense. Alvarez landed 206 of 484 punches thrown (43%) to just 97 of 536 for Smith (18%). Alvarez landed 126 power shots to just 55 for Smith, and double the number of jabs (88 to 44).
Unification at super middleweight is Canelo’s next goal
Alvarez said it was one of his best fights. “I feel more mature.” He said his quest now is to unify the super middleweight division. “I’ll go for more, unify. I want all the belts. It doesn’t matter who is next.”
Asked about a possible third fight with middleweight foe Gennadiy Golovkin after his solid win on Friday, Alvarez made it clear it wasn’t his priority, but said, “Look, if the people want the fight, fine.
I don’t run from anybody. I fight the best. I show to the world I fight against the best.”
Alvarez got a far better challenge from Golovkin in both fights, and most observers believe Golovkin won the first fight. It makes Golovkin’s performance even more impressive in comparison to Smith on Saturday. But there are plenty of tantalizing fights for Alvarez. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to see him take on the likes of Jermall Charlo or Artur Beterbiev? The Triple G ship may have sailed.
Marc Castro wins pro debut
In his delayed pro debut, junior lightweight Marc Castro of Fresno, California shook off his first-round nerves, delivering a third-round knockout win over Luis Javier Valdes of Tijuana (7-6-1, 2 KOs). Castro was derailed four times before finally getting his first professional ringwalk, and in the co-main of a Canelo Alvarez card at that.
It can be challenging for an accomplished amateur to shift gears and adopt a professional style, but Castro has all the tools. He is flashy, aggressive, crowd-pleasing, and has good punches selection. He got the knockout when he pinned Valdes in the corner, landing right hands to the head followed up by body shots.
Castro gave himself a “solid B-minus. There’s a lot to improve. I’m excited to get back to the gym and keep on working,” said Castro. “That first round, there’s nothing like it in your pro career. Whether the gym is empty or the gym is full, I’ve got to perform.” Castro said he needs to work on repetition, consistency, and sitting down on his punches. He hopes to fight six or seven times in 2021.
Sanchez sends Fernandez flying
Heavyweight Frank Sanchez of Las Vegas out of Cuba (17-0, 13 KOs) showed yet again why the heavyweight division is so fun to watch. For seven rounds, he fought a determined Julian Fernandez of Tijuana (14-3, 11 KOs) who had his moments over their seven-round fight. He was unpredictable and slippery, forcing Sanchez to recalculate in the ring.
The Texas crowd began cheering on the Mexican, who played to them by taunting Sanchez to hit him. It might have been fun at the moment, but when Sanchez found the target with a hard straight right hand in round seven, he blasted Fernandez out of the ring. Fernandez fell on the camera operator’s platform, or he would have fallen six feet down on the concrete head first. Sanchez is a work in progress, but he’s got the power to make every opponent think twice about taking chances with him.
Raymond Ford and Austin Williams get KOs
Flashy junior lightweight prospect Raymond Ford of Camden, New Jersey (8-0. 4 KOs) dropped Juan Antonio Lopez of Dallas (15-8. 6 KOs) near the end of the first round via a right and left hook combination. It seemed the fight would be over quickly. But Lopez showed determination and stayed toe to toe with Ford. The Texas fans cheered Lopez on as he had solid rounds, pinning Ford in the fourth on the ropes with uppercuts. In the seventh, Ford flipped the script, landing a jab and a right hook, forcing Lopez to take a knee. Mark Caloy counted to ten, and Lopez failed to get up for a TKO at 1:14 of round seven. The crowd cheering for Lopez moments before booed his failure to get up, but Ford’s punch was no joke.
Ford admitted he was sleeping on Lopez a little bit due to his record. “He definitely came to fight,” said Ford. “He was trying to set me up, he was talking in there too. In the seventh round, he came to me perfectly. I’ve been sparring great champions 12 rounds, so I know how to pace myself. I knew I was going to get to him, I just had to set things up.”
Middleweight talent Austin “Ammo” Williams of Houston (7-0, 6 KOs) opened the DAZN broadcast with a bang. He caught opponent Isaiah Jones of Detroit (9-4, 3 KOs) with a counter left hook, and swarmed over a hurt Jones to the body. Referee Mark Caloy gave Jones a chance to respond or escape. When he couldn’t, Caloy waved off the fight at 1:29 of round one.
“I think I showed exactly what I’ve been saying all week. I’m different,” said Williams. Although he only started boxing in 2016, the 24-year-old said. “I’m getting better and better every day. There’s no layoffs with me, I’m not hot and cold. The difference with me is my coach, my team, my dad, my family. Everybody tells me I’m the greatest in their eyes no matter what happens, and that allows me to take risks. I came out to show if these guys don’t belong in the ring with me, they don’t get a full round. I always tell (promoter) Eddie (Hearn), ‘I’m ready for more.’ I still got to prove myself, come up the ranks like everybody else. But I’m different, and I proved it tonight.” Williams said he would like a minor title opportunity in 2021 to set up a major title fight in 2022.
Christian Alan Gomez Duran of Guadalajara (19-2, 16 KOs) picked up a majority decision win going the eight-round distance against Angel Hernandez of McAllen, Texas (17-16-32, 11 KOs) in the welterweight division.
Featherweight Alexis Molina of Guadalajara (9-0, 5 KOs) won a four-round majority decision over Robert Greenwood of Frankfurt, Indiana (5-1, 2 KOs).
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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