Los Angeles: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will try to regain a share of the world super welterweight crown he last held three years ago by dethroning Britain’s undefeated Liam “Beefy” Smith on Saturday.
The fight will be staged at the home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, where Filipino star Manny Pacquiao fought twice for world titles in 2010.
“It’s very impressive and very beautiful. It motivates me,” Alvarez said of the venue. “It’s something that gets me really excited and I can’t wait to get out there and fight.”
Alvarez, a 26-year-old Mexican, is 47-1-1 with 33 knockouts, having won five fights in a row since suffering his lone loss by a 12-round majority decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Alvarez most recently knocked out Britain’s Amir Khan in the sixth round last May.
“I’ve been wanting a big fight with one of the biggest names and I jumped at the chance to fight Canelo,” Smith said. “This is a chance to make a big name for myself in America because the biggest name in boxing with the biggest draw is Canelo.”
Smith, 23-0 with one drawn and 13 knockouts, fights outside of Britain for the first time. The 28-year-old Merseysider has won 18 fights in a row over six years, winning eight in a row inside the distance over the past three years.
“Just because Smith isn’t very well known in the US doesn’t diminish how tough he is as an opponent. We expect him to be very powerful and we are training for that,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez spent two and a half years as the World Boxing Council super welterweight champion before losing to Mayweather. He beat Miguel Cotto for the WBC middleweight crown last November by unanimous decision but dropped the title to step back down in weight class to face Smith.
Alvarez is looking at a likely 2017 major bout against Kazakhstan’s unbeaten Gennady Golovkin, the undisputed middleweight champion, provided he gets past Smith.
“I can’t keep fighting this fight thinking about Golovkin. I’m preparing for Liam Smith,” Alvarez said. “My train of thought is not to see what’s down the line. I’ve got to get ready for the fight. This is a real fight. I’m not the one that has to prepare for Golovkin. He better prepare for me.”
Smith will be defending for the third time the crown he won by stopping American John Thompson in the seventh round last October. He stopped Britain’s Jimmy Kelly in the seventh round last December and knocked out Montenegro’s Predrag Radosevic in the second round three months ago in his most recent bout.