Liam Smith says he’s ‘comfortable going toe-to-toe with Canelo’ on Saturday

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Liam Smith of England isn’t being given much of a chance to successfully defend his junior middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) of Mexico when
they square off Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

But Smith (23-0-1, 14 KOs) this week suggested he’s no Amir Khan, his countryman who was knocked out by Alvarez in the sixth round in May in Las Vegas.

“Despite my gym being owned by Amir Khan, I haven’t talked to him about the fight because what he can do well, I can do well,” Smith said. “And what Amir failed to do
in the ring, I will not fail to do. I have my own skill set that I can excel in.

“I’m comfortable going toe-to-toe with Canelo, and let that be a warning to him come Saturday.”

Khan moved and out-boxed Alvarez for five rounds, then Alvarez lowered the boom on him.

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Luis Del Valle expects to hand Diego De La Hoya his first loss on Saturday

Luis Del Valle/Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

Luis Del Valle is a prize-fighter from Puerto Rico, so he knows all about the boxing rivalry his homeland has with Mexico. He is far from being a hater, though.

“I love the Mexican community – they are the most humble and welcoming people,” Del Valle said Tuesday. “I remember when I visited Mexico for the first time, and I felt at home. While the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matches are always heated, I have a deep respect for the Mexican public.”
Del Valle (22-2, 16 KOs) on Saturday will take on Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) of Mexico in a 10-round super bantamweight bout. They will tangle underneath the junior middleweight title fight between champion Liam Smith of England and Canelo Alvarez of Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view). Del Valle is expecting to hand De La Hoya – cousin of Oscar De La Hoya – his first loss.
“”I am going to leave the ring with a victory under my belt on Sept. 17, without a doubt,” Del Valle said. “Not being the favorite doesn’t affect me at all. I have had many experiences in which things have not gone the way we anticipated. However, those setbacks have brought me to this stage I stand on now, and the opportunity to further my career. This is my destiny, and I’ll prove that this Saturday.”

 

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Trainer Joe Gallagher confident Liam Smith can give Canelo Alvarez grief

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Trainer Joe Gallagher thinks a lot of his fighter, Liam Smith, and Gallagher on Tuesday gave notice to the boxing world that Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will be able to give Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) all he wants when they square off Saturday for Smith’s junior middleweight world title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“We are full-heartily confident in what we have come to show the crowd,” Gallagher said. “Smith is a serious threat. Liam Smith can box from the outside, he’s a great counterpuncher, can fight from the inside, has great shots from the inside and has a great temperament. These are some of my favorite characteristics of Liam Smith. I think he might shock a lot of people in just how great he is come Saturday night.”

 

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Canelo Alvarez says he still feels best fighting in junior middleweight division

Canelo Alvarez, left, seems almost nonchalant as Amir Khan is counted out of their fight in May in Las Vegas/Photo by Associated Press

 

We all know how Canelo Alvarez called out Gennady Golovkin after Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in May in Las Vegas. We also know how Alvarez and his promoter – Oscar De La Hoya – backtracked.

They went from saying that yes, Alvarez will fight Golovkin at the full 160-pound middleweight limit this fall, to saying that Alvarez is not a middleweight and he won’t entertain fighting Golovkin until he is – maybe in the fall of 2017.

Alvarez, rather than fight Golovkin, gave up his middleweight belt and on Saturday will challenge Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England for his junior middleweight title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Alvarez this week explained his way of thinking regarding the junior middleweight (154 pounds) and middleweight divisions.

“For the last six years, my body has felt best and I have been strongest as a junior middleweight,” said Alvarez, who won the middleweight title with a decision over Miguel Cotto at a catch-weight of 155; Alvarez’s fight with Khan was also at 155. “I still feel that way today.”

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) said he at some point expects to move up to middleweight, where Golovkin holds three major belts and has knocked out his past 23 opponents.

“Do I think I will eventually move up to middleweight and perhaps beyond?” Alvarez said. “I do, when my body feels it’s time. My promoters and trainers have always told me that as you get into your late 20s and early 30s, your body continues to change and going up in weight become more natural. Having just turned 26, I will see how I feel as I grow older.

“For the time being, I will continue to campaign at junior middleweight and am looking forward to once again regaining the championship at that weight class.”

Alvarez held a junior middleweight title from March 2011, won another one in April 2013 and lost both to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013.

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Joseph Diaz Jr. stoked to be fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend

Joseph Diaz Jr., seen in his pro debut against Vicente Alfaro in 2012, is 18-0 and fighting for a vacant regional featherweight title Friday in Indio. (Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)

Joseph Diaz Jr. decks Vicente Alfaro in August 2013. Diaz will take on Andrew Cancio on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte is among several boxers of Mexican descent slated to fight Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Mexican Indpendence Day weekend.

Diaz (21-0, 12 KOs) does not take that lightly.

“Knowing that September is Hispanic Heritage Month (from Sept. 15-Oct. 15) makes me feel more confident to go out there and be the best I can be for my people,” said Diaz, a highly ranked featherweight who will take on Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs) of Blythe underneath the main event between junior middleweight champion Liam Smith of England and Canelo Alvarez of Mexico (on HBO pay-per-view). “It’s an honor fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend. A lot of great fights have been on this special day, and I’m ready to put everything on the line to give the fight fans another fight to remember.
“Hopefully, one day I can be a main event fighter on Mexican Independence Day weekend. This would mean a lot to my career because it’ll show everyone that I can be the next big Mexican-American star.”
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Buena Park’s Christian Gonzalez remains perfect as professional

Buena Park’s Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez is a rising prospect training out of the famed Azteca Boxing Club.

Gonzalez, 20, continued his perfect start to his career with a

Christian "Chimpa" Gonzalez following last Friday's victory; Photo by Golden Boy Promotions

Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez following last Friday’s victory; Photo by Golden Boy Promotions

second-round knockout victory of Jonathan Corrales, Friday at Belasco Theater on the LA Fight Club card.

Gonzalez (15-0) scored a knockdown in the first round and he finished Corrales in the second round, landing a succession of punches that dropped Corrales. The referee didn’t bother with the count, stopping the fight at 1:57 of the round.

Gonzalez graduated from Buena Park HS in 2013. He’s the younger brother of former WBC featherweight champion Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez.

“With every fight, the game plan is to go for the knock out, and I was glad I was able to get it with this fight,” Gonzalez said.

In the other fights on the card, Antonio Gutierrez (20-2-1) defeated Jorge Melendez (28-6-1) by unanimous decision (97-92, 97-92, 96-93.

Oscar Duarte, who is trained by Joel Diaz (7-0-1), defeated Rafael Reyes by unanimous decision in four-round fight.

Tenochtitlan Nava (3-0) scored a third-round TKO victory in his fight against Juan Byrand. Lamont Roach Jr. (12-0) stopped Mario Macias for a second-round knockout and Edgar Valerio (8-0) won an unanimous decision victory over Emmanuel Castro.

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Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez says Liam Smith could be Canelo’s toughest test

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Canelo Alvarez shakes out during a workout Wednesday in San Diego/Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

 

Golden Boy Promotions vice-president Eric Gomez on Thursday during a conference call said he believes Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England will likely be Canelo Alvarez’s toughest test to date when they square off Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view) for Smith’s junior middleweight title. Considering Alvarez has fought the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara and James Kirkland, that’s very difficult to believe.

But of course, with all the negativity surrounding Alvarez and his and Golden Boy’s ducking of middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, it’s not surprising to hear someone connected with the promotion speaking in hyperbolic tones.

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) himself seemed to go to his own extreme in that regard during a workout Wednesday in San Diego.

“In our training, we have taken a huge focus on the opponent’s fighting style – no matter what size or weight,” said Alvarez, of Mexico. “Analyzing and breaking down the fighter’s approach is what we go after in the ring. Just because Smith isn’t very well known in the U.S. doesn’t diminish how tough he is as an opponent. We expect him to be very powerful, and we are training for that.”

Mayweather handed Alvarez his lone defeat in September 2013. Suffice to say, Smith is no Mayweather. Lara gave Alvarez all he could handle in July 2014, Alvarez just sneaking by with a split-decision victory.

 Gomez pointed out Thursday that Smith is on a streak of eight consecutive knockouts. That’s fine, except that none of those opponents he stopped are terrific fighters. One – Robert Talarek – was 10-8-2. Another – David Romero – was 11-5. Both of those bouts took place in 2015.
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Oscar De La Hoya’s comments about Canelo Alvarez a bit mystifying

Alvarez Khan Boxing

Canelo Alvarez, left, and Amir Khan face off during a news conference promoting their fight this past May in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Oscar De La Hoya the promoter has a job to do – pump up the fighters in his stable the best he can. Still, some of his comments Monday regarding Canelo Alvarez were somewhat mystifying. Alvarez on Sept. 17 will challenge Liam Smith of England for his junior middleweight title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) could have instead fought middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a title-unification bout that would have definitely drawn enormous worldwide interest. Rather, Alvarez vacated his middleweight title. Then Alvarez and De La Hoya announced they won’t consider fighting Golovkin until September 2017 at the earliest.

An HBO-produced blog sent out Monday posed two questions to De La Hoya: What does Canelo have to do for the Mexican fans to embrace him as one of their best? How does
he become one of the best in the rich history of Mexican boxing? De La Hoya responded in what seem to be hyperbolic tones.

“Mexican fighters have long been known for their toughness, their ability to walk through fire, their willingness to take three punches to land a solid shot,” De La Hoya said. “That is Canelo Alvarez.

“There is no doubt that Canelo is today already the biggest boxing star in Mexico and the United States. He is in the process of crossing over as a worldwide superstar, but he will never forget where he came from and the rich boxing tradition of Mexico.”

De La Hoya didn’t stop there.

“Canelo is built from the mold of all-time Mexican greats like Julio Caesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez and Ruben Oliveras – strong fighters with knockout power that focus
on two things – being the best fighter in the world and putting on a show for the fans,” he said. “And that’s what Canelo will continue to do for the rest of his career.

“Incredibly, he has been embraced as Mexico’s biggest and best boxer for years, despite being only 26 years old, and that’s because the Mexican fans know a true
champion when they see one.”

Well, I just saw a message board that contained nearly 90 comments. The subject was, has a fighter from Mexico ever given up a world title to avoid fighting someone?

Frankly, I don’t know if that has happened before. But it was obvious from the amount of negative comments toward Alvarez, that he is not quite the darling of boxing fans worldwide De La Hoya suggets.

It’s difficult to overcome something that happens in the sequence this did. Alvarez after he knocked out Amir Khan in May declared himself ready and willing to fight Golovkin this fall at 160 pounds. To say he was adamant, would be putting it mildly.

Next thing we know, he’s giving up his belt and saying he won’t fight Golovkin for quite some time. I’m not sure if De La Hoya understands what that kind of flip-flop can do to a fighter’s reputation.

Alvarez is a good man. Clean-cut, the whole ball of wax. But until he fights Golovkin, he’s going to have this hanging over his head.

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Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya still defending their move to make Gennady Golovkin wait until September 2017

Canelo Alvarez sits on the dais at a news conference promoting his fight this past May against Amir Khan, won by Alvarez via 6th-round knockout/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Canelo Alvarez and his promoter – Oscar De La Hoya – on Wednesday played host to a conference call promoting Alvarez’s fight against junior middleweight champion Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England on Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view). But Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) and De La Hoya found themselves still defending the decision to have Alvarez gave up his middleweight title rather than meet middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this fall. Alvarez and De La Hoya also previously said they now won’t consider Golovkin until September 2017.

Alvarez shrugged off the negativity.

“Yeah, you know, there’s always going to be critics,” he said. “They’re always there, and it’s something that’s part of it. It’s part of the business. Obviously, there’s good critics sometimes and there’s bad critics.

“But the most important thing is it doesn’t faze me. That’s fine, I’m used to it now, and I’ve got to do what’s best for my career.”

De La Hoya said it was all about Alvarez not being ready to fight at the full middleweight limit of 160 pounds. When he fought in the middleweight division, it was at a catch-weight of 155, just one pound over junior middleweight.

“I mean, Canelo knows his body,” De La Hoya said. “His trainers know his body, and the bottom line is Canelo is a 154-pound fighter. The fact that he fought at 155, people expect him to go up and fight at middleweight, and that’s not the case. He’s a 154-pounder, and he’s going to go up to 160 when his body feels ready.”

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Golden Boy Promotions, heavyweight Luis Ortiz ‘amicably’ part ways

Heavyweight Luis Ortiz, left, takes on Tony Thompson Saturday in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Omar Vega/Invision/AP Images)

Luis Ortiz, left, parted ways with Golden Boy Promotions on Tuesday/Photo by Omar Vega/Invision/AP Images

Interim heavyweight champion Luis Ortiz of Cuba is no longer being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions as of Tuesday, according to a statement released by Golden Boy spokesman Stefan Friedman.

“Today, Golden Boy Promotions and Luis Ortiz amicably parted ways,” the statement read. “We are proud of the work that Golden Boy and Luis accomplished together, culminating in his WBA heavyweight interim championship victory and subsequent title (defense). We wish Luis and his team all the best in the future.”
According to an Aug. 15 story on BoxingScene.com, Ortiz and Golden Boy were working on a buyout that would release Ortiz from his Golden Boy contract.
Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) has not fought since knocking out Tony Thompson in the sixth round March 5 in Washington D.C. The talented Ortiz, a 6-foot-4 southpaw, is 37.

 

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