Liam Smith Aims To Be “Elite Fighter,” Like Canelo
By: Sean Crose
The final press conference for Liam Smith’s defense of his WBO super welterweight title against Saul Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night in Texas didn’t deliver controversy. Indeed, there were no insults thrown, no slaps, no grandstanding. Sure enough, it was a professional affair, replete with the expected grandiosity and hyperbole. Still, there were some telling things that were mentioned, statements which may offer insight into the minds of the participants involved with this weekend’s pay per view event. “He fights in the style of a Mexican,” British promoter Frank Warren said of Smith. “I believe you’re going to become great fans of him.”
Here was an old boxing hand looking to expand his fighter’s fan base to a vast new market. “Mexican style,” has become code of sorts for an exciting and honorable fighter. Warren then went on to laud AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, where the match will be held. “Without a doubt,” he said, “this is the best stadium I’ve ever been to.” Some people know just the right things to say. Canelo’s trainer, Chepo Reynoso, joined football bigwig Jerry Jones in hyping the possibility that a record crowd would gather for Saturday’s matchup.
Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, expressed excitement at the likeliness that the fight would indeed be something to remember. “The underlying currents for the fight are really good,” he claimed. As for Smith, he made it clear that he understands where he is in the minds of most fight fans – at least for the moment. “Now,” he claimed, “there’s world champions and there’s elite fighters.” Sure enough, the undefeated Englishman indicated he has ambition. “This,” he stated, “is a chance to see if I can step on that ladder.” He certainly will be well regarded should he pull off the upset this weekend.
Still, the skilled and popular Canelo will be quite a test. Not that Canelo is taking the fight lightly. “Many of you might not know Liam Smith,” Canelo told the crowd, “but the important thing is we know Liam Smith.” It was a keen distinction that made it clear team Canelo isn’t taking this widely unknown opponent lightly. For Smith is an aggressive fighter who isn’t lacking in talent. Those who argue Smith has a real, though perhaps limited, chance to win on Saturday are, in the opinion of this author at least, offering more than empty words. Perhaps Smith will indeed stun a lot of people this weekend.