Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn will be looking to set-up a fight for Canelo Alvarez against Billy Joe Saunders or Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin next following his near shutout 12-round unanimous decision over Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) last night on DAZN in San Antonio, Texas.
Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has already asked Hearn, ‘Who’s next’ to fight in February or May after beating his third Matchroom fighter. Canelo previously defeated Hearn’s fighters Danny Jacobs and Rocky Fielding.
Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) might be a longshot for a fight against Canelo because he doesn’t hold a world title at 168.
Canelo would rather fight unification fights against WBO champ Saunders or IBF champ Caleb Plant.
In some ways, Saunders would be a tougher fight for Canelo than a third match against the rejuvenated GGG that we saw knocking out Kamil Szeremeta last Friday night on DAZN.
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) December 20, 2020
Hearn can make Canelo – Saunders fast
“He’s [Canelo] just so good. I’m very proud of Callum Smith; it was incredibly tough,” said Hearn to Boxing Social.
“I’d love to promote Canelo Alvarez, but he’s got plenty of options.
“I’ll promote my options for him, which are Gennadiy Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders,” said Hearn. “That’s the fights I think he looks at.
“I think he wants to fight the champs, I really do. We can make the Billy Joe Saunders fight really quickly, and the GGG fight.
“That’s a big fight for DAZN. DAZN did huge numbers tonight as well. I’m ready to present him with the next one. He [Canelo] said to me tonight, ‘Who’s next?’ He said, ‘I’ve been three now of your guys,’ but we’re going to beat him one day,” said Hearn.
Billy Joe has the talent to make Canelo look bad, but he’ll need to be in excellent shape. It would be a good idea for Saunders to start training now if he gets the fight with Canelo in February.
Saunders’ best chance of beating Canelo is to use movement and box his head off the way Floyd Mayweather Jr did.
Billy Joe is a lot taller than Mayweather, and he should be able to outbox Canelo if he keeps him on the outside.
Smith talked a lot about how he would keep Canelo, but he still allowed him to come in the close range each round.
Callum to move up to 175
“He didn’t go down; he wanted to stay in there until the end,” said Hearn of Saunders.
“We obviously know he damaged his arm. I don’t think it was going to make much difference; he admits that himself. Huge respect for Canelo Alvarez; he’s the best fighter in the world.
“I’m proud of Callum coming over here and taking the challenge; he wanted to beat the pound-for-pound #1. There’s a couple of things you can do in a fight.
“One of them is to keep trying, keep throwing, which is what Callum did until the last bell. He just couldn’t put a dent in Canelo Alvarez, and he couldn’t land cleanly on Canelo Alvarez.
“But he never looked for a way out, he never took a knee, he never moaned about his arm, he never wanted his corner to pull him out of the fight.
“He battled on until the end, and this is what you want. Sometimes you’re not good enough to beat what’s in front of you.
“But that’s no disgrace when it’s pound-for-pound #1. He’ll come again and move up to 175 pounds. He should be proud of his performance because even in 10, 11, and 12, they were treacherous.
“He was still throwing, still trying to land a shot, still trying to catch and counter. That’s the mark of a real fighter. But I showed tremendous toughness tonight,” said Hearn.
Smith looked like he was trying to catch Canelo with the perfect right uppercut towards the end of the fight, but he was mostly missing.
When Smith did land his best shots, Canelo took them without showing any signs of being hurt.
Moving up to 175 will be hard for Callum Smith. He’s not equipped to compete with the top guys in that division with the flaws he has.
For Smith to be one of the best at 175, he would need top-notch boxing skills, and he doesn’t have that.
Eddie proud Callum made it the full 12
“Joe Gallagher and the brothers are in the corner, and they know what they’re doing,” Hearn continued. “I know that Callum was doubtful to win the fight by that stage, but he earned the right to hear the final bell.
“He hadn’t been down the entire fight. I’m glad he heard the final bell because sticking in there as long as he did, and he was throwing back, and he was moving.
“He knew what he was doing. He was just up against an excellent fighter. You always have to leave it up to the corner. I’m glad he got to see the final bell because he showed the toughness to see it out.
“My priority working with Canelo Alvarez was getting Callum Smith the opportunity, and the second one was to bring him back to DAZN,” said Hearn.
“Dealing with Callum and Canelo, they’ve been absolutely brilliant to work with. Eddy Reynoso, I’ve worked with him with Julio Cesar Martinez,” said Hearn.
If trainer Joe Gallagher knew that Callum had suffered a bicep injury, he probably should have pulled him out of Alvarez’s fight.
Callum was taking a beating after the first six rounds, and it was difficult to watch him getting beaten up by Canelo.
Smith started to get battered by Canelo beginning in the ninth round, and it was pointless to let the contest continue.
Callum said that after the fight, he plans to move up to 175, but that might not be a good idea. He lacks the kind of power that the top 175-pounders possess, like Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr, and Joshua Buatsi.
If Callum is going to move up to light heavyweight, he needs to work on his boxing skills and improve his mistakes against Canelo. Although Smith said that he would like his height to his advantage, he didn’t do that against Canelo.
Smith should have been throwing 60 to 70 jabs each round, moving and, above all, not fighting with his back against the ropes. That was the same mistake that Smith made against John Ryder last year.
He fought with his back against the ropes too often in the fight, and that allowed the light-hitting Ryder to crowd him win rounds.
If Gallagher isn’t able to improve Smith’s game, he needs to change trainers and find someone forceful enough to get him to stop making the same mistakes each time he fights.
Smith’s career will go down the drain if he moves up to 175, and he tries fighting with his back against the ropes round after round against someone like Artur Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr.
Callum wouldn’t last more than three or four rounds against Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr fighting the way he does. The only reason Canelo didn’t knock out Callum is that the Mexican star isn’t a huge puncher.
Canelo can hit hard, but he doesn’t possess the hard-hitters’ power at 168 like Edgar Berlanga, David Benavidez, and Bektemir Melikuziev. There’s a good chance that Canelo loses to all three of those guys, but he probably won’t ever fight them. Canelo is shrewd when it comes to selecting his opponents.