Joe Smith Jr. open to Canelo Alvarez fight in May

WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. says he’d be open to defending against Canelo Alvarez next May on the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend if he moves up to 175.

Callum Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) still needs to defeat challenger Callum Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) this month on January 15th at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York. That fight event will be shown live on ESPN & ESPN Desportes at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said last month that he believes Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will choose to face Joe Smith Jr. first when he goes up to light heavyweight and move on to IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

“I want to get the fight with Beterbiev and with Bivol again to show I am now the best,” said Joe Smith Jr. to Forbes.

“I had a rough fight with Bivol the first time. After fighting him, I learned a lot. I’ve had so much competition since then,” said Smith.

Canelo could move up to light heavyweight in May if he changes his mind about going up to cruiserweight to challenge WBC champion Ilunga Makabu.

If Canelo decides to go to 175 instead, he has three great options for fights that the boxing world would be far more interested in seeing than watching him facing Makabu. That fight by Canelo would be a self-serving move that would do nothing for the fans or his popularity.

Although the excuse that Canelo would be making in fighting Makabu would be about him wanting to cement his legacy by winning a fifth division world title, fans would suspect that it would be a move to allow him to avoid taking a risky fight against the talented fighters at 168 and 175.

Callum Johnson, Canelo Alvarez, Joe Smith Jr. boxing image / photo

Also, Canelo’s money for the fight against Makabu would be in the millions, so it’s an easy way to get paid without needing to take a serious risk.

I see [promoter] Eddie Hearn keeps mentioning that Canelo is coming to light heavyweight. I could see him wanting to fight a Bivol or a Beterbiev first,” said Smith Jr.

“But there could be a shot there for me, maybe during Cinco de Mayo. I’m motivated to look good and win this fight against Johnson. I’d prefer to unify the titles. But I couldn’t turn down a Canelo payday,” Smith Jr. said.

To be sure, the money that Joe Smith would get for a fight against Canelo Alvarez would be worlds better than what he can pull in for a unification match against 175-lb champions Beterbiev and Bivol.

If the chance is there for Smith to fight Canelo, he’s got to take it because he could lose his WBO title if he faces Bivol or Beterbiev. Smith already lost to Bivol by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in 2019.

While Smith does seem to have improved since that fight, the chances are high that he’ll lose to Bivol again. That’s why Smith must take the fight with Canelo if it’s available to him.

12 thoughts on “Joe Smith Jr. open to Canelo Alvarez fight in May”

  1. Canelo will never fight Baterbiev or Bivol. He knows he will loose. I still believe Kovalev fight was a fake.
    The rest of his latest opponents are nobody’s. He had a real fight with GGG
    but it was an older version of GGG.
    He actually had two top fighters: Floyd and out of his prime GGG.

  2. I like Joe Smith. Workman, honest. Hope he gets the canelo payday. I’m not sure if canelo can unify at 175. We’ll have to see. I’m rooting for him. Lightheavy or cruiser, they are all dangerous for canelo, especially since we are talking champions. Benavidez may get a shot if he agrees to a crazy split. 90/10, 95/5. Just enough to cover his camp costs. Why? He’s got everything to gain. If he loses to canelo, can you say that fight enhanced canelo’s legacy? Canelo has very little to gain if he fights benavidez.

  3. Run, run, run. Find the easiest competition he can after losing to GGG, having a close fight with GGG and then fighting bums and has beens. He cherry picks the easiest belts he can and dodge’s young, talented fighters in or near his weight classes so he doesn’t take another L. It’s plain as day. Canelo is a great fighter but he’s hurting his own legacy by running from weak champ to weak champ in different weight classes to avoid tough competition. Benavidez, Charlo and Boo Boo give Canelo an L.

  4. All this big guys calling out Canelo but is Canelo who gets blame for “cherry picking” when he accept to fight the bigger stronger guy , why isn’t no one calling out Benavidez or Charlo ? But is Canelo who needs to fight them to prove he’s the P4P best right now?

    • Charlo and Benavidez aren’t the supposed p4p best fighters… Canelo is. He is supposed to be taking the biggest challenges not fighting weak champs/has beens and bums. When Floyd was the p4p #1 he was fighting guys 20+ pounds bigger than him and beating them without controversy. Canelo isn’t. He lost to GGG twice and he lost to Lara and arguably Trout. Plus he is ducking fighters that he was the mandatory for or were his mandatory. The best don’t do that therefore he is proving he isn’t the best.

  5. Everyone wants to fight Canelo, everyone wants a pay day but they don’t want to take unnecessary risk, and whatever canelo decided to do they will criticize him. That what happens when you are on top .
    He may loose again and get another close decision , But he can’t fight everyone ,at least he like to stay active and fight 3 times a year for a few more years and that is a big Win ,
    I wish more fighters act like him talk less and fight more.

  6. Canelo Alvarez is probably the best fighter pound for pounded boxing nowadays. I see him just running through any opponent that comes up against him

  7. As a big boxing fan i don’t see these guys at 175 beating canelo first of all canelo is very good in the ring he has good power speed also very smart he’s very strong i don’t see him getting beat go team canelo baby p4p best always Bushwick Brooklyn nyc baby 🇵🇷🇵🇷🇮🇹🇮🇹🥊🥊👊👊👍👍💪💪❤❤❤❤🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼love team canelo 😉

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