Canelo v Smith: Alvarez out to continue devastating dominance of British challengers

By Ben Spratt 18 December 2020 44
Canelo v Smith: Alvarez out to continue devastating dominance of British challengers

Callum Smith will aim to become just the second fighter to beat Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez when he defends his super-middleweight titles on Saturday.

However, several British boxers have tried and failed in the past to get the better of the Mexican superstar, who will be taking part in his 57th career bout and is still only 30.

Canelo told Stats Perform News this week Smith is "absolutely different to the other fighters I have faced", and the WBA champion will hope for a different result, too.

Take a trip down memory lane as we look back at the previous times Alvarez has come up against Brits in the ring.


Matthew Hatton - March 2011 (won by unanimous decision)

Canelo, already with 36 fights to his name (35-0-1), earned his breakthrough world title shot aged just 20 and took on Ricky Hatton's brother in California for the vacant WBC light-middleweight belt. It was also Hatton's first - and last - championship chance, though, and he was outclassed.

The beaten opponent reflected on "a long night" earlier this year as he told Sky Sports: "I left the ring that night believing that I'd been in with someone special who would go on to have a brilliant career." He was not wrong.
 

Ryan Rhodes - June 2011 (won by technical knockout)

Just three months on from the Hatton fight, in his very next bout, Alvarez defended his title back in Mexico against Rhodes, another Brit. It was an impressive display from the champion as he stayed patient after Rhodes recovered from a no-count knockdown in the fourth, decisively ending the contest against a staggering opponent in the final round.

Rhodes said he was "beaten up by a superstar of boxing", although he acknowledged he "probably underestimated him, underestimated his power". It was a mistake no man can afford to make against Canelo, who declared himself "ready for anybody".
 

Amir Khan - May 2016 (won by knockout)

Alvarez backed up that big talk in the aftermath of the Rhodes win but had tasted his sole career defeat - against Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 - by the time he next faced a Brit. Khan moved up two weight divisions to challenge for the WBC middleweight strap, yet it proved several steps too far.

A brutal right hand downed Khan in round six, before Canelo called out Gennady Golovkin, setting in motion their epic rivalry. Khan told Sky Sports his opponent was "a beast" and would now back him to beat Mayweather in a rematch.
 

Liam Smith - September 2016 (won by knockout)

The Mexican did not immediately move on to GGG and instead next tackled Smith, returning to light-middleweight to take the WBO crown. It was another devastating, dominant showing against a champion Alvarez had described as having "real knockout power". Smith went to the canvas in the seventh, eighth and, finally, ninth rounds.

"There are world champions, then there are elite fighters," Smith told Sky Sports, feeling his opponent had fallen firmly into the latter camp.
 

Rocky Fielding - December 2018 (won by technical knockout)

Smith's assessment was echoed by the fifth Brit to come up short against Canelo. "I tried my best but that's what elite fighters are like," Fielding told Sky Sports, saying he "dared to be great" by taking the fight. By that point, Alvarez had twice faced Golovkin, winning a rematch after a controversial initial draw.

There was nothing contentious about the defeat of Fielding, who was knocked down four times inside three rounds before the Madison Square Garden bout was halted. "The better man won," said Fielding.

It is now up to Callum Smith to upset the odds and prove he can be the better man.

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