Canelo Alvarez had to break Liam Smith down to get him out tonight, and he did so, dropping Smith in three straight rounds to end the fight with a brutal left hook to the body at 2:28 of round nine.
Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KO) picks up the WBO junior middleweight title, handing Smith (23-1-1, 13 KO) his first loss as a professional. Smith had never been down in his pro career before tonight, but a hard right up top dropped him in the seventh, a right to the body in the eighth, and then the coup de grâce, the vicious left hook to the kidney that ended things in the ninth.
Alvarez started abnormally fast in this fight, and was targeting the body all the way. Smith did manage to keep it competitive through six rounds, and even rallied after the first knockdown in the seventh, closing that round strong.
But the body shot knockdown in the eighth took pretty much what he had left in his legs. He got through the round, but there was little pep in his step in the eighth, and Canelo found the target.
Alvarez landed 37% (157/422) of his total shots, including 51% (113/220) of his power shots. Smith landed 29% (115/403) of his total punches, and 33% (68/208) of his power punches.
Canelo said after the fight that he hurt his right hand in the second round. He was asked about Gennady Golovkin, of course, after the fight, but we all know that’s not happening in December -- when it’s expected Alvarez will fight on HBO, possibly against Willie Monroe Jr — and it’s not likely for May 5 of next year, either.
The official attendance for tonight’s fight at AT&T Stadium was 51,240.