Unified middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez, coming off a unanimous decision victory in a title unification fight against Daniel Jacobs on May 4, has yet to decide who he will fight in September, but super middleweight titlist Callum Smith, who is one possibility, is eager for the fight.
In addition to his three major middleweight belts, Alvarez also owns a secondary super middleweight title, which he won by one-sided third-round knockout of Smith’s British countryman Rocky Fielding in December, and has said that besides other major fights at middleweight he is also interested in the biggest fights at super middleweight and eventually even at light heavyweight.
Smith won his 168-pound world title by knocking out countryman George Groves in the seventh round of the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in September and will make his first defense against former middleweight titlist Hassan N’Dam on Saturday (DAZN, 9 p.m.) in the co-feature of the card headlined by the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. heavyweight world title fight in the same Madison Square Garden ring in New York in which Alvarez stopped Fielding.
Smith is heavily favored to defeat N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs), 35, a Cameroon native based in France, and hoping an impressive performance catches Alvarez’s eye.
“The fact is, with Canelo, is that if I slip up on Saturday night, that fight doesn’t happen,” Smith said. “That’s gone. So that’s what keeps me motivated — that I have to come here this Saturday and win to keep those massive fights alive. I’m fully focused on June 1. I’m in a very good place and I had a great training camp.”
Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), 29, could be a backup plan for Alvarez’s next fight if something goes awry and former unified middleweight champion and fierce Alvarez rival Gennady Golovkin loses, or suffers an injury, against Steve Rolls when they meet on June 8 at Madison Square Garden in the first bout of GGG’s six-fight, nine-figure deal with DAZN. Although a third Alvarez-Golovkin fight is not signed most believe that will be the match if Golovkin comes away from the fight against the undefeated but unheralded Rolls unscathed.
If he doesn’t, however, Smith will be there banging the drum for a fight that would be relatively easy to make, since they both fight on DAZN and given how much business his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, and Alvarez promoter Golden Boy have been doing with each other.
Smith has designs on going to light heavyweight but not quite yet.
“I can stay here or move up. I believe I can stay at 168 and fight some good champions and hopefully wait for the Canelo fight,” Smith said. “Then when I’m fully satisfied, I can move up to 175. That’s definitely a possibility but there’s still a lot to achieve at 168; 175 is an interesting division because they are all pretty much as good as each other and there are no standouts. It’s a very good division and one that I could look to enter in a year or two. But 168 is my division right now.”
Soon after Alvarez defeated Jacobs, he told his representatives that Smith was one of the opponents he was interested in fighting.
“We will look at all the top guys (for his next fight), but one of the fights Canelo has told us he would love to do is Callum Smith,” Golden Boy president Eric Gomez told ESPN. “Eddie knows the people at Wembley Stadium (in London), and Canelo wants to fight all the top fights, whatever the biggest challenge is. Smith would be challenge and going to England would be no problem. That would be a huge fight. We’ll sit down and talk about it. Canelo is in a great position right now.”