By Charles Brun: Callum Smith doesn’t give himself too much of a chance of getting a big fight against Canelo Alvarez in his next bout in 2020, and says he’s not going to waste his career waiting on that match.
WBA Super World super middleweight champion Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) says he’s never had the belief that Canelo would choose him to fight, because he’s “stylistically” a bad fight for the shorter 5’8″ Mexican star.
Callum thinks that Billy Joe Saunders will be the one that gets the pick to face Canelo on May 2, and he says he’ll be happy for him. At the same time, Callum will be disappointed if Saunders is selected by Canelo, since that would remove 2 options for his next fight. Smith wants to fight Saunders if he can’t get the Canelo match-up, but he won’t be able to do that if they face each other in May.
Callum has ZERO interest in facing Ryder again
A lot of boxing fans want to see Callum fight John Ryder in a rematch, considering that his win over him two months ago on November 23 was questionable. Some believe that ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs) did enough to earn the victory in that fight, which took place in Callum’s backyard at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Callum makes it clear that he’s moving on, and he won’t be giving Ryder a rematch. He feels that he clearly beat Ryder, and he doesn’t see any value in revisiting that fight. The judges’ scored it for Callum by the scores 116-112, 117-111, 116-112.
Callum: I won’t wait for Canelo fight
“Everyone puts it down to me and Billy Joe Saunders for his [Canelo] next opponent,” said Callum to Boxing Social on Canelo Alvarez. “That’s the word on social media. In the last couple of weeks, he seems to be leaning more towards Saunders. I’m not going to sit around, and waste my career for a fight that never ever happens.
“This is a fight that I would jump up for, but I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket,” said Callum in making it clear he won’t wait on Canelo. “I’d be more surprised if I do get it, than if I don’t. If I get it, so be it, and if I don’t, there’s a lot of other big fights out there for me in 2020. It would be a huge fight, but deep down, I never believed I’d get it,” said Callum about a fight with Canelo Alvarez.
“Stylistically, I’m not the best fight for him, and why would you pick me when you can fight anyone else in the world to fight, and still get paid massive money for it,” said Smith about Canelo. “I always felt I’d get the fight if the demand was massive or if I was to go get another belt at super middle,” said Smith.
If Smith and his promoters at Matchroom Boxing haven’t already been contacted by Golden Boy for a fight with Canelo, then it’s obvious that he’s not under consideration.
Canelo is expected to fight the arguably easier option in WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (24-0, 14 KOs), and it would be a big shock if he selected the 6’3″ Smith. It makes sense for Canelo to fight Callum next though, being that he’s coming off of a win over WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
Callum wants Canelo, Saunders, Plant or Benavidez
“I thought I won the fight, and my bad performance beat John Ryder’s good performance,” said Callum to Boxing Social. “It was his big chance and world title opportunity. I always said you were going to see the very best John Ryder. He was a little bit too small from what I imagined, and he was hard to hit clean.
“We move on,” said Callum in making it clear he’s not going to give Ryder a rematch. “If there’s no one else, and no other big fights [then Ryder rematch could happen]. I’m in the sport for the fights that motivates me like the unification fights or the fights against the big names. If I can’t get any of them, then a rematch [against Ryder] does make sense.
“I’d rather a fight against Billy Joe Saunders, Caleb Plant, David Benavidez or Canelo Alvarez,” said Callum. “Those are the fights I want. If I can’t get them, then I’ll look elsewhere. Hopefully we can get a big fight in the spring.
The money for Callum is obviously a lot better in unification fights or against Canelo than in a rematch with Ryder. Smith is looking at it from a business perspective, and not focusing too much on the fact that his win over Ryder wasn’t conclusive.
Of the super middleweight champions at 168, WBC belt holder David Benavidez would likely be Smith’s best bet for a unification fight. Benavidez is fearless, and confident. He wouldn’t turn down a fight with Callum if it were offered to him. Plant and Canelo are probably not going to take a risky fight against Callum for obvious reasons.
Smith doubts Canelo will fight him
“I don’t think that makes sense at the minute,” said Smith about him getting the Canelo fight. “We’ll wait and see. I’m not completely out of the picture, but realistically if you were to ask if my next fight is against Canelo Alvarez, I don’t think it will be.
“I’d be frustrated in that if I don’t get Canelo, my next option would be Billy Joe Saunders,” said Callum when asked if he’d be frustrated if he saw Saunders get the Canelo fight. “That takes away two fights for me. If I can’t get the Canelo fight, then hopefully Billy Joe gets it. He’s a fellow Brit. I think he’s got a good chance of causing Canelo problems,” said Callum.
Canelo is likely looking to go in the path of least resistance for his next fight. In Canelo’s decision to face WBO 175-lb champion Kovalev, he made it obvious that he’s looking for the weakest links right now in terms of the champions.
Saunders is a good fighter, but a lot of fans view him as the weakest link at 168, which means he’s got a great shot at getting the Canelo fight.
Callum and Benavidez would be hard fights for Canelo due to their size, and power. Those guys have the size of light heavyweights, and they would make it difficult for Canelo.
Callum prefers to stay a 168 and NOT move to 175
“Possibly yes,” said Callum when asked if he’d entertain the idea of moving up to 175 if he can’t get big fights at 168. “If there’s no opportunities at super middle, I believe I’m good enough and big enough to compete at 175. But I prefer to stay at super middle.
“I believe there’s a lot of stuff for me to achieve here,” Callum continued in talking about wanting to stay at 168. “There’s three other belts I’d like to get my hands on. At least one of them. Ideally not, but if there’s no other options, then that would be a deal I would consider,” said Callum on him moving up to light heavyweight.
Callum doesn’t seem interested right now in moving up to175, and for good reason. He has the advantage over his opponents at 168 due to his size. Once he moves up to 175, that advantage goes away, and he would then need to rely more on his boxing ability to win fights. However, sooner or later, Callum won’t have any choice but to move up to 175, since he’s already starting to show signs of being drained when making the 168-lb limit. He’s going to get diminishing returns soon, and he’ll have similar poor performances like we saw in his title defense against Ryder.