Canelo Alvarez disposes of Liam Smith, calls out Gennady Golovkin
Last Saturday night, Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 48-1-1 (34), scored an impressive ninth round knockout over Liverpool England’s Liam “Beefy” Smith, 23-1-1 (13), at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The knockout win impressed the 51 000-plus fans in attendance and allowed Canelo to add the WBO junior middleweight championship to his trophy case.
After the fight, chatter immediately turned to the same question he had been facing before the fight: “When are you going to face (universally recognized middleweight champion) Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin”?
While Smith put in a gutsy performance, and probably earned a bit of a following on this side of the pond, in the end, he simply couldn’t stand up to the thudding body shots of the strong, powerful Alvarez.
Smith was also impressed with the boxing ability of his Mexican opponent, as well as recognizing there is more than just power to Alvarez’s game. Smith told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight that Canelo “was a bit too cute for m. He was just the better man on this night. No excuses.”
Props to Beefy for fighting like a man and taking his loss like one, indeed with no excuses.
When it was Kellerman’s turn to interview Alvarez, despite Canelo just winning the WBO world junior middleweight title, talk quickly jumped a few pounds north to the middleweight division. Kellerman said, “I have to ask the obligatory GGG question,” referring to a possible match-up between Alvarez and undefeated IBF/IBO/WBA and WBC middleweight champion Golovkin, 36-0 (33).
Alvarez, perhaps appearing slightly agitated at addressing rumors of a Golovkin fight, again, was quick to answer, “We made an offer of two or three times what he normally makes,” he said, “and we heard nothing back. They didn’t take it. I fear no one.”
Team GGG has repeatedly stated they are willing and anxious to set up a showdown with the Mexican star. So when Alvarez made the statement that they had made an offer but it was rejected, turned down or unacceptable, it was puzzling.
Who to believe?
One sticking point in the past has been the weight stipulations around Canelo’s fights. He is naturally more suited to the 154-pound division. There was pressure mounting to face Golovkin, a bona fide middleweight, after Canelo won the WBC middleweight and THE RING magazine titles). The only question surrounding the fight was, who was going to budge on weight demands? Was GGG going to fight at a catchweight? Or was Canelo heading a few pounds north of his preferred, lighter weight?
Well, after last Saturday, Canelo made it clear that this bout at 154 was a one-way ticket. He would be looking for the biggest challenges available to keep building the Canelo legacy and that means he seems set and ready to face Golovkin sooner than later at 160 pounds.
“This might be my last fight at 154,” said the massively popular Alvarez. “We have made Golovkin a good offer. It’s all on him now. I saw the Golovkin fight last week; it was nothing different. This is my era and my time now. I want to fight the best and keep making history. We made the offer and now it’s on him; the ball is in his court. The weight is no issue anymore. I don’t fear no man. We made the offer; now it’s on him. Let’s wait for the response.”
If Golovkin’s promoter, K2 Promotions Managing Director Tom Loeffler and Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions can sit down and hammer out an agreement, seemingly something both stars want, we could finally have a fight on our hands.