We knew it was coming, and now it’s official. Canelo Alvarez will make his first appearance of 2020 on December 19th, taking on WBA “super” super middleweight champion Callum Smith. DAZN airs the card, which will land somewhere in Texas to allow a live audience.
The fight, Alvarez’s (53-1-2, 36 KO) first since separating from Golden Boy, will unify the Mexican superstar’s “world” title with Smith’s (27-0, 19 KO) genuine article. It marks Smith’s third defense of the “super” belt, which he took from George Groves in their dramatic 2018 WBSS finale.
It’s an excellent matchup, among the best that could reasonably be made in this timeframe, but also one that’s lost a bit of luster since it was first proposed. When Smith was on a hot streak, crushing Groves and Hassan N’Dam, this would have been viewed as a toss-up. Smith’s strong fundamentals and ridiculous size for the division looked like strong counters for the compact Alvarez.
Then came another squat bruiser in John Ryder, who appeared to decisively beat a flat “Mundo” last November before the judges disagreed. Smith had been eyeing a move to 175, and it remains to be seen whether he can still consistently make 168 without draining himself. If he’s on his A-game, though, this could be very hazardous for Alvarez, who was neck-and-neck with Sergey Kovalev before landing a fight-ending bomb in the 11th and had some trouble with Daniel Jacobs in his close-but-clear decision win.
No word yet as to the undercard, but I would put good money on Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell landing on it. Two Latino stars and two English stars make for a nice bit of synergy.