by David P. Greisman
Liam Smith says he’s long wanted a fight with Canelo Alvarez. He believes he’ll end up facing him twice.
“When I beat Canelo, my next fight will be Canelo again, because I know they will throw everything back,” Smith said on a Sept. 1 media conference call in advance of the upcoming fight, when he defends his junior middleweight title against Alvarez. “They overlooked me, and I know after Sept. 17, the excuses are going to come. So I know they're going to do what they can to get the rematch again. So my mind will be focused on Canelo, and it will be on Canelo again. Because I can see what's going to happen.”
Alvarez is the lineal middleweight champion and a former 154-pound titleholder. He is also one of the biggest superstars in boxing today. Smith recognizes that he is not the star of this show — and that he is not well-known at all in the United States — but he also feels he should still deserve the victory if he performs well enough to win.
“I know on paper I'm the B-side of this fight. Canelo's the big name. It's always Canelo, and it's Mexican Independence Day, so I know that,” he said. “But I am the champion, and just looking back on that, that is one reason why I hope they'll respect that I'm champion and be fair. If I win the fight, then make sure I get the decision. Give me the respect I deserve. I am the champion, even though I am the B-side in the fight. Canelo's the big name, but I am the champion going in.”
And for this celebration of a country’s independence day, Smith is expecting fireworks.
“I always wanted a Canelo fight, a [Miguel] Cotto fight. A style like that is what I prefer to fight. This fight can only be a great fight,” Smith said. “There's no way the styles will make a bad fight. They gel well, and this is a fight, again, you're going to see me smile in. Because even I smile when it's not going my way. I'm not going to not smile because I'm not winning. I'll smile because I enjoy every minute of this fight.
“It's going to be give and take. Canelo's going to have his moments. I'm not saying he's not. But I'm going to have my moments. … Every time I think about the fight it gets me excited. It just gets me excited. So it's one that I can't wait for. It's going to be a great fight.”
That’s one reason he signed to face Canelo. The money, surely, is another. He has a lot to gain from this bout, even if it means he had to put his belt on the line to get it.
“I'm not in a situation where I have nothing to lose in this fight. I've got a title to lose,” he said. “So I've taken this fight because it's an opportunity to make a name for myself and establish myself as one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]