NEW YORK – Don’t count Callum Smith among those who sense easy work is ahead for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The former WBA light heavyweight titlist remains convinced that Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs)—Smith’s lone conqueror—will have all sorts of fits against the naturally bigger Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11KOs) this Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Bivol defends his WBA Light Heavyweight title in Saturday’s DAZN Pay-Per-View main event, where he serves as a considerable underdog to come out on top.
“I think it’s similar to a few of Canelo’s fights where he’ll have to come from behind early,” Smith told BoxingScene.com. “Then, finish strong and probably win on points. It’s a good fight. I think a lot of people are bypassing Bivol. But he’s a very good fighter.
“Stylistically, he’ll be effective in there without taking chances and Canelo will have to work very hard to get the job done. Bivol is very clever. Who knows, maybe Canelo brings out the best in Bivol. It’s no foregone conclusion. Who knows, Canelo might have to finish him to get the victory.”
Alvarez makes his second play for a major light heavyweight title, having wrested the WBO strap from Sergey Kovalev in November 2019 before vacating the belt almost immediately thereafter. The Mexican superstar has since dropped back down to super middleweight where he achieved undisputed championship status—including his twelve-round win over Smith (28-1, 21KOs) in December 2020 to ignite the run.
“It's a good fight; Bivol is a very good fighter,” pointed out Smith. “We boxed a lot as amateurs, I’ve always kept my eye on him. He doesn’t set the world on fire but he always does enough.
“He’s very hard to beat, he’s good at what he does and he doesn’t take many chances. It’s an interesting one.”
Smith is among the top four contenders in the WBA light heavyweight rankings and number-one with the WBC following his second-round wipeout of Lenin Castillo last September.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox