Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez produced an almost perfect display to take off Callum Smith and win the British WBA fighter’s world super middleweight title belt.
The Mexican shone in Texas as he practically froze Smith in 12 rounds with calculated pressure, nasty punches and elusive defensive work.
Smith struggled to land anything heavy, and his corner kick told him he had “one more lap” after a scorching ninth.
He fought admirably but lost 119-109 119-109 117-111 on the judges’ cards.
Alvarez – who has just one loss on his 57-fight record – also won the vacant WBC super middleweight world title, which means he holds two of the four important belts at 168 pounds.
“I am devastated. I came here to win, ”Smith told DAZN at the Alamodome in San Antonio. “No excuse, he was very good.
“It could have been a better version of me tonight. He’s smart and he’s smart. He closes the ground, sets traps, and before you know it he’s closed the ground. Maybe I let him close the floor too easily. “
‘A bad passage’
Smith’s 7-inch height advantage had been a big part of the base for those who claimed he could challenge his outsider status.
But Alvarez refused to take a step back at any time. He patiently closed the space, stayed compact, showed a head movement, and ultimately made it difficult to hit.
When he was close enough he took a smart dive and took charge of his scoring shots to the body.
At the end of the fifth, Smith’s three older fighting brothers shouted ‘better’ from ringside as he started to throw more but in the seventh Alvarez – the youngest of the seven fighting brothers – clinched. hard body shots on the counter and a nice uppercut.
A tough right hand sent Smith crashing into the ropes in the ninth and, with his bloody nose, he replied to coach Joe Gallagher that he was “fine” after it was clear he didn’t. ‘would get one more turn.
Worryingly, four-weight world champion Alvarez explained that he knew he could take Smith’s power “on the first lap” and at no point was he pushed back.
He simply presented a puzzle that Smith had never seemed to solve, and in Round 10, US broadcasters called the fight “a rough patch.”
“It’s one of the best nights I’ve had,” said Alvarez, who added that he would consider a third fight with Gennady Golovkin.
“One of the most beautiful nights. I will go for more. I want all the belts no matter who has them. I’m not running away from anyone. I fought the best. I have shown the world that I fight the best. “
A hunger clearly remains
Alvarez – whose only loss in 15 years was to Floyd Mayweather – continues to emphasize why he is the highest-paid star in the sport.
A small crowd of under 15,000 may have impacted his overall gains in his first fight in 13 months, but his quality is undeniable, his rivals look a class below and, most importantly, his hunger seems intact.
Iconic middleweight Marvin Hagler once said, “It’s hard to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5 am when you sleep in silk pajamas. “
The sight of Alvarez walking around the battle hotel bubble in designer pajamas this week prompted questions about what more he could give.
His status, earning power and lifestyle are very far removed from the life he experienced on his family’s farm as a child, but there is no doubt that his courage and desire remains, and future rivals will have to find something special to stop it.
Smith can be proud of his own journey to face a man he once dreamed of fighting. Alvarez, however, was just too good.
Courses and appeals – what they said …
Cutting a dejected figure in his corner, Smith said he would take time and consider moving to the 175lb light and heavyweight division.
His sentiment led BBC 5 Live commentator Mike Costello to wonder if he was considering talking about his career at the age of 30.
Briton Billy Joe Saunders – who holds the WBO super middleweight belt – quickly tweeted calling on Alvarez to ‘do the right job’ in 2021, but for the most part the boxing world simply praised the bigger one. sports star.
“It was a master class from Canelo,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “I just left Callum’s locker room and everyone is talking about Alvarez. He’s so good. Callum never stopped throwing but he ran into the best fighter on the planet. “
BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce added: “This is what happens when you fight Canelo. You discover things about yourself that you didn’t know and things about him that you didn’t recognize about him before entering the ring. broken. Canelo took away his size, reach and confidence. It’s class. ”
And former world champion George Groves told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Canelo bullied Smith, took him down and used his punching power to control the whole fight. “