For a while, David Benavidez rated Callum Smith as the best super middleweight in the world aside from himself. Now he is scratching his head as to what he was ever thinking after watching an overmatched Smith get dismantled over 12 rounds by Canelo Alvarez last Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“I don’t know what Callum’s game plan was,” Benavidez told FightHubTV. “He looked tired by the third round. He had an eight inch reach advantage and he let Canelo fight inside all night, which makes no sense.”
Feeling perhaps a bit charitable, Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) surmised that the reason why Smith fought so poorly was because he had a truncated training camp. (The matchup was announced roughly four weeks out, when, ideally, according to Benavidez, one would want at least 8 weeks for a fight of this magnitude). Still, whatever the case may be, Smith was nothing but an unmitigated disappointment to the 24-year-old Mexican contender.
“I felt like his training camp wasn’t enough time so he just wanted to make it to the 12th round, because he wasn’t trying to get any respect early in the fight,” Benavidez continued. “I didn’t see no big shots from him at all. Canelo basically did anything that he wanted to do…I expected a lot more, especially from a champion like Callum Smith, which I thought, besides myself, was probably one of the other best champions in the division. It was a great fight on Canelo’s end.”
The victory earned Alvarez the vacant WBC 168-pound title and Smith’s WBA title, making him a four-division champion. Benavidez would know something about the WBC trinket, as it once belonged to him, that is, before he lost it on the scales in his last fight against Roamer Angulo back in August; Benavidez stopped Angulo in the 10th round.
A penitent Benvavidez, however, was adamant that he would work his way back up again – without jumping ahead of anyone else.
“I know Canelo’s looking to unify titles, so I have to go to the back of the line, and I’m completely fine with that,” Benavidez said. “Whoever I need to get past to get to that spot …I’m willing to fight whoever I really don’t care. My career right now I just want to be the best… Everybody is a target right now.”
One thing that impressed him about Alvarez was his consistent abuse of Smith’s left arm. After the fight, Smith’s left biceps had swelled to twice its normal size. Apparently, it is a strategy used among elite fighters.
“[Gennadiy] Golovkin used to do the same sh-t to me in sparring,” Benavidez recalled. “That sh-t f---ing hurts. What do you expect? Good thing [Smith] didn’t get hit in the hit. Good thing his jaw wasn’t broken. I’d rather have a messed up arm than a messed up jaw. What did you expect was going to happen? He was just there, letting Canelo do whatever he wanted to.”
“It’s unreal to me that you have an eight-inch reach advantage over an opponent and you don’t use it, at all,” Benavidez continued. “He didn’t use any of his tools.”