This Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Álvarez, won the super middleweight title of the World Boxing Council, defeating the tough, brave and durable English fighter, Callum Smith, by unanimous decision.
Canelo quickly offset the significant height and reach difference, effectively cutting off the ring and backing as well as trapping Smith on the ropes.This was Smith’s first career loss, while Canelo was his 54th victory. At the beginning of each round, both were crossing themselves, before the action started.
The fight progressed, with Canelo attacking Smith who`s long left jab wasn’t stiff, snappy, corrective or powerful enough to keep him at bay.
In the second, a big left hook to the head from Canelo, stung Smith who retaliated with a chopping right only to get slammed with a left right combination and two more big left hooks. At the end of the round, they touched gloves in mutual respect.
In the third, Canelo was finding Smith with good lefts, but not throwing caution to the wind, as he was getting caught with some solid counter rights. In the fourth, Canelo dug some punches into Smith`s lean, long pale body forcing him to the ropes.
In the fifth, Smith who was moving away was caught with a big left and sinking body shots, which were noticeably slowing him up, and again placing him with his back to the ropes, where he was a static target.
More of the same through to the eighth, with Smith trying to avoid getting trapped on the ropes, attempting to avoid and evade the heavy artillery, which was markedly “Outgunning” him.
Towards the end of that round, a big right uppercut from the shorter, stouter and more powerful man, shook Smith to his boots. With conditioning and magnificent Scouse grit, he simply refused to go down. Again, the two touched gloves at the end of the round. Respect earned.
In round nine, two smarting rights made Smith sniff and snort. A copious nose bleed had started. Yet again he was being forced to the ropes and punished.
Canelo launched an all out attack in the tenth to body and head with Smiths face masked in blood. Yet the Liverpudlian refused to crumple and spasmodically fought back. Trapped on the ropes in the eleventh by a stalking Canelo he ate up more rights and gave back but a few.
Smith survived the twelfth after several hair raising moments, to end the fight upright. The Judges scored it 119-109 twice and 117-111.
Afterwards, Canelo said he was satisfied with his work, and for the time being he wants to stay at super middle. Asked if a third fight with Gennady Golovkin is on the cards, he gave a wry, smile.
In this fight we saw a mature, subtle and superb Canelo, nearing his peak. He himself said this was perhaps not his very best fight. Yet…it was not far off!