Photo by HBO Boxing
On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 36 KOs) scored a ninth-round stoppage against Liam Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs) to win the WBO Light Middleweight tile in front of 51,240 fans at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The scheduled 12-round fight headlined a four-fight HBO Pay-Per-View telecast.
Alvarez, a 26-year-old native of Mexico, had not campaigned at or under the Junior Middleweight limit since his fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
Since then, he has fought at 155 pounds–technically Middleweight–against Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto.
After defeating Cotto and earning the lineal and WBC Middleweight title, Alvarez defended his titles against Amir Khan, but then he vacated the WBC title and moved down to 154 for tonight’s bout, against a game opponent in Smith, a 28-year-old native of the U.K.
Alvarez, from the very first round, demonstrated his superior hand speed, unleashing quick jabs and right hands before ducking and slipping most of Smith’s offense.
By Round 2, however, something happened, which caused the fight to grow closer in the middle rounds.
“I started going after him, but in the second round I hurt my hand. I hurt my right hand and had to use the left more often,” said Alvarez.
Nevertheless, he was still able to unleash hard right hooks and uppercuts to Smith in Rounds 3 and 4, while Smith began landing a few more shots in Round 5.
Photo by HBO Boxing
This was mostly caused by Alvarez’s tendency to lure fighters on to the ropes, from which he can land hard counter shots.
“If I would have waited a little longer and gotten more experience I would have been able to fight a guy like that better,” said Smith, who could not deal with Alvarez’s combination of speed, power, talent and defensive abilities.
“I am very disappointed. Canelo was too good today, I needed better timing, my timing was off tonight,” said Smith.
By the seventh round, Alvarez’s work to the body was beginning to pay off, and, as Smith pushed Alvarez against the ropes, Alvarez landed a hard right hand that dropped Smith.
In the following round, a body shot dropped Smith again, before a final shot to the liver in Round 9 forced the referee to stop the fight.
Alvarez looked spectacular, but boxing fans are still waiting for a superfight against Gennady Golovkin.
In his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Alvarez stated that he had offered Golovkin a deal a month ago and that he is waiting for a response.
Do you think the matchup happens next? If so, who do you think wins?
Check out the post-fight interview with both fighters below:
Gabe Rivas has written for Round By Round Boxing since July of 2013. He studies Literature and Philosophy, tutors English, and teaches Boxing. Follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @GabeRivas03.