Two scousers have tried to stop Canelo. Two scousers failed. Can Canelo form the scouse trinity and earn himself the prestigious shell-suit world title?

Matchroom: Canelo vs Smith Predictions & Results

Whatever happens on Saturday night, both men will be entering the ring with significant ring rust. Now over a year out of the ring for both competitors, expect a quiet early opening to settle back into their rhythm. Moreover, with the WBC and WBA belts on the line, and Canelo’s top P4P ranking, there is a lot to fight for.

On paper, this fight isn’t that intriguing. Smith has an undefeated record, but if you had watched Smith-Ryder back in November 2019, you would consider the Liverpudlian a very lucky boy to retain his precious 0. In reality, though, Smith is 6’3″ and possesses monster power for the weight class. While he may drain himself silly to make the division, eventually the huge toll on the body will hit a wall and force Smith to fight at a healthier LHW. Canelo has had huge success against taller fighters throughout his career, but Smith’s power and surprising speed will still pose a few new looks for the Mexican.

It is unsurprising that the night before Canelo’s return, his old rival, GGG, defends his IBF title against Kamil Szeremeta. If GGG and Canelo are both to get through their respective fights, a trilogy has surely got to be arranged – it is the best financial option for both. In regards to the rest of the card, it is a complete mess. A handful of prospect watches will be fun, but they are nothing more than glorified beat downs.

Boxing results – WBA champion Callum Smith outpoints John Ryder, but overly  wide scorecards do not do the challenger justice - Boxing News
Callum Smith inspired no-one when he defended his WBA world title against John Ryder, securing a dubious unanimous decision. 23 November 2019.

Main Event

Super Middleweight (168)

vacant WBC Super Middleweight World Title

WBA Super Middleweight World Title

Saul Alvarez (53-1-2, 36KO) vs Callum Smith (27-0, 19KO)

Canelo, in my honest opinion, is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet at this very moment. This is without putting much stock into his LHW success against an elderly Sergey Kovalev. Since his loss to Floyd Mayweather, Canelo has been on a tear-up of legendary proportions. Arguably, Canelo lost the first GGG fight, and had already waited years for GGG to mature before entering the ring, but even now Canelo will still be remembered as an ATG. Let’s have a look at the list of tall fighters that Canelo has dismantled before: Rocky Fielding, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev… these are all names from the last five years. Canelo either stopped or put on a twelve round clinic against all of the aforementioned giants. While his footwork has never been the slickest, Canelo’s god-tier head movement enables him to remain comfortable in the pocket and counter opponents clean. Moreover, Canelo is one of the strongest body punchers to ever enter the ring. That is not hyperbole. Re-watch Canelo vs Jacobs. Whenever Jacobs attempted to close the distance, Canelo regularly ended short combinations with a liver punch. Smith’s slender, long body will be ripe for harvest.

It is difficult to say whether Canelo will push the pace and disrespect his opponent, as he did with Rocky Fielding, or if he will lay against the ropes and look for counters, ala GGG II. Canelo’s regular jab means that he rarely falls behind on the scorecards, and so he may find himself able to sit back and time counters after bagging the early rounds. Perhaps, Canelo may even bait Smith into a fire-fight in the centre of the ring and rely on his granite chin. The Mexican’s shorter limbs will only benefit his hand speed up-close, and he will have direct access to Smith’s body.

Onto the big lad. Callum Smith is a world-level boxer. It is yet to be seen whether he is an elite talent, though. Smith’s biggest scalp remains a seventh-round KO of George Grove to win the Muhammad Ali trophy back in September, 2018. While Groves was a world champion and regularly found himself on the wrong end of scorecards and refereeing decisions, it is hard to say that he had a Hall of Fame career. Aside from a few freaky fast knockouts of Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Hadillah Mohoumadi and Rocky Fielding, Smith isn’t a one-punch knockout artist. Instead, Smith sits down on his jab to force his opponents into a shell and then drowns them with volume. Smith will need to rely upon a much sharper feint game than has been present in his past performances. Trainer, Joe Gallagher, is renowned for the high guard he instils in all of his boxers. A nuanced feint is unlikely to appear, and without any extra layers to his defence, Smith could be crumpled in a fashion akin to Lomachenko vs Crolla.

Predicted Result: Canelo TKO Round 9

Both men are coming off of a big lay-off, and it is a tricky task to jump back into the ring with an opponent you are giving up seven inches in height and six inches in reach. Moreover, Smith holds heavy hands that may be able to gain the respect of Canelo during the early rounds. Most likely, however, is Canelo targets the huge target of Smith’s body and drains his gas tank early. Canelo has been able to eat the hardest shots that GGG was able to muster. Both men enjoy bodywork, but only one man is killing himself to make weight, Mexican beef or not.

Boxing pros react to Canelo's knockout of Sergey Kovalev - Bad Left Hook
Canelo tried his best to emulate Roy Jones Jr legendary weight class jumps, stopping Light Heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev in the eleventh. 2 November 2019.

Result: Canelo def. Smith // Decision (unanimous – 117-111, 119-109, 119-109)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Rest of the Card

Heavyweight (200+)

Frank Sanchez (16-0, 12KO) vs Julian Fernandez (14-2, 11KO)

Cuban born, Frank Sanchez, is just starting out in his professional career. Having taken his first step up in quality this year, Sanchez was able to dominate the tricky Joey Dawejko to a decision. Also of note, Sanchez kinda punched Dawejko during their weigh-in lol. Sanchez has scary fast hands for a Heavyweight which stems from his slimmer build. Moreover, Sanchez is laser accurate. His long limbs were able to wrap around the guard of Brian Howard and put him on his butt several times.

Julian Fernandez has a record full of victories over Mexican Uber drivers, with two stoppages losses when he left his native Mexico. A second round defeat to Tom Schwarz, the man exposed as utterly average by Tyson Fury, raises serious questions over Fernandez’s chin. His punches look like they are fired under water. Uh oh.

Predicted Result: Sanchez TKO Round 3

Sanchez is a tasty prospect with incredible accuracy that rarely misses the target. Hopefully Sanchez continues to develop himself at a competitive level before he makes a big step up in quality. Having said that, Joe Joyce would be a dream match-up between two very talented fighters – even if it makes zero sense financially/organisationally.

Result: Sanchez def. Fernandez // KO Round 7 1:35

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Welterweight (147)

Christian Gomez (18-2-1, 16KO) vs Angel Hernandez (17-15-2, 11KO)

Yet again, Gomez represents a Mexican fighter who has a career littered with triumphs over the cans of Mexico. Gomez’ losses and sole draw have also came against the rare fighters that he faces off who posses a positive record. There is little footage that can be found, and this fight represents his first time fighting outside of his hometown.

Despite all the red flags, Gomez would have to be very average if he unable to overcome journeyman, Angel Hernandez. While Hernandez has never been stopped, he is easy to outwork if you can fight comfortably off the backfoot. Hernandez is a hearty fighter, however, and will continually move forward and drive into chest of his opponent.

Predicted Result: Gomez Decision

This could be a sloppy barn burner or a tiresome decision victory for Gomez. Hernandez is at least a journeyman who will bring the action up close and make Gomez uncomfortable.

Result: Gomez def. Hernandez // TKO Round 3 1:54

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Middleweight (160)

Austin Williams (6-0, 5KO) vs Isiah Jones (9-3, 3KO)

A middleweight with knockout power? Sign me up! After a successful amateur career, winning the Houston Golden Gloves twice, Williams began his professional career just one year ago at twenty-three. While Williams hasn’t fought anyone of note yet, he has disrespected all of his opponents. Fighting with his hands down, Williams forgoes a jab with barrages of hooks that eventually breaks his opponent. Lots of work remains if Williams wants to succeed in his rival match-up against Anthony Fowler.

Jones is a fine test for Williams, and perhaps a step-up in quality that may be too early for the prospect. Despite his three defeats, all three were hard fought decision losses to undefeated prospects. Moreover, Jones has the capacity to spring an upset – as seen in his majority decision victory over Donte Stubbs. Jones struggles with long periods of inactivity and haemorrhaging rounds on the scorecards. If Jones could box more consistently on his front foot, he himself could carve a career for himself.

Predicted Result: Williams Decision

Jones represents the best fighter that Williams has faced to date. Jones has a solid chin, and is comfortable in the face of pressure with a tight guard and constant movement. Moreover, Jones’ counter striking ability is infrequent but very rarely misses the target. If Williams fights in the same manner he has against his early career cans, he will be in for a long night. The talented amateur, however, likely has many layers to his game yet to be revealed and one such layer will appear on Saturday night.

Result: Williams def. Jones // TKO Round 1 1:29

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (126)

Raymond Ford (7-0, 3KO) vs Juan Antonio Lopez (15-7, 6KO)

A twenty-one year old, Ford is yet another successful amateur that Matchroom have captured. A twice National Golden Gloves champion, Ford escaped his chequered past to begin his fairy-tale boxing story. Ford’s career will continue in bubble wrap until he refines his raw talent. Against Eric Marquez, Ford was immediately able to establish a comfortable distance from which he kept the smaller frame of Marquez shooting at thin air.

Lopez is a minor step-up for the prospect. Lopez is easy to bully against the ropes, and while he will attempt to make the fight ugly off of the ropes, he is easy pickings from range. Ford’s speed will be a real issue for Lopez who often overthinks his counter shots.

Predicted Result: Ford Decision

Lopez has been stopped before, but Ford hasn’t pieced together all the components of his offence in a co-ordinated manner yet. Expect a bit of an arse whooping for Lopez, who is more than happy to try his hand at rope-a-doping.

Result: Ford def. Lopez // KO Round 7 1:29

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (126)

Alexis Eduardo Molina (8-0, 5KO) vs Robert Greenwood (5-0, 2KO)

Heavy handed featherweight, Alexis Molina, has beaten five fighters without a win on their record. At only twenty-one years old, it is an acceptable means of in-ring experience, but there are still many questions yet to be answered.

Robert Greenwood is a fellow young prospect, however, one who who lacks Molina’s heavy hands. Greenwood has proved himself more than capable of out-working the regional fighters he has so far faced. Against Chris Nelson, Greenwood was able to overcome his significant size disadvantage by out-muscling his opponent against the ropes. Of note – Nelson was hit OFTEN with a straight left down the pipe from Nelson’s southpaw stance, a major red flag.

Predicted Result: Molina Decision

Whether Molina has enough time to capture a finish in just four rounds is debatable, but Nelson is far too hittable to take this on the scorecards.

Result: Draw (Majority – 38-38, 38-38, 37-39)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Super Featherweight (130)

Marc Castro (DEBUT) vs Luis Javier Valdes (7-5-1, 2KO)

Another twenty-one year old! Marc Castro is perhaps the best amateur of the lot, having won seventeen national titles and two world titles and ending his career with a 177-7 record. A slick boxer from both stances, Castro dances across the ring and fizzes out straight shots from crazy angles. His endeavours into the professional ranks should be fun to keep an eye on.

Valdes is a man who has been brought in to give rounds. Having fought four times in the US, Valdes has fought to decision losses against prospects without fail.

Predicted Result: Castro Decision

Castro is a fighter that we all need to keep an eye on. The debutant oozed quality throughout his amateur career, and his ability to switch seamlessly between both stances made his amateur fights a joy to watch.

Result: Castro def. Valdes // KO Round 3 1:59

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

Matchroom: Canelo vs Smith

Winner: 6/7

Method: 1/7

Round: 1/7

2020 Boxing Season

Winner: 60/74

Method: 46/74

Round: 39/74

Takeaway comments: Finishes galore over the Atlantic.

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