Saul Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions
Former middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico will move back down in weight and challenge Liam Smith for his junior middleweight title on Sept. 17, Golden Boy Promotions announced Friday. The venue is not yet confirmed, but it could be MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.
Golden Boy and K2 Promotions – which promotes middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin – met this week in Los Angeles and out of that came the news that a bout between Alvarez and Golovkin will not take place until September 2017 at the earliest. Golovkin would fight Alvarez this September, but Golden Boy does not want that.
Instead, we’re getting Alvarez-Smith. Smith, of England, is 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts. He has never fought anyone near the caliber of Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs). But Golden Boy and Alvarez are going to play it off like Smith is a real mean hombre.
“I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world-title owner,” Alvarez said. “I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand.”
Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy, also played up this fight as a certain barnburner.
“This fight will be a slugfest between two heavy hitters, and I have little doubt that it will end with a 10-count,” he said.
Smith has stopped his past eight opponents inside the distance, and that is something we’re going to hear a lot about from Golden Boy. But the eight victims are anything but household names. One thing’s for sure, this is a terrific chance for Smith, though it’s unlikely he’ll be able to take advantage of it.
“This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that,” Smith said.