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Joe Gallagher: Canelo Alvarez should make Callum Smith a serious offer at 168

The veteran trainer sees Canelo as “a puzzle,” in and out of the ring.

M and S Bank Arena Boxing Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Canelo Alvarez is tentatively due to return to action on Sept. 12, and with COVID-19 travel restrictions still expected to be an issue by then, recent talk has the Mexican superstar fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko at 168 pounds.

Alvarez had planned to return in early May against Billy Joe Saunders, but Saunders, the WBO super middleweight titleholder, would be out due to travel issues. And trainer Joe Gallagher understands the exact same would currently apply to his man, WBA titlist Callum Smith, but he still says he’s not sure Canelo really wants to fight Smith, calling Canelo “a puzzle.”

“You can’t work him out in the ring and you can’t work out what he’s going to do outside of the ring, until it’s nailed on. Him and Callum Smith would be a great fight. Whether they’re serious about fighting Callum Smith, that’s down to them. If they want to fight Callum Smith and fight the No. 1, all they have to do is say, ‘We want to fight you,’ pay the money and the job is done. If they really fancy the job, they’d make an offer, a serious offer.”

Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KO) last fought on Nov. 2, knocking out Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight title, which he immediately vacated with no current plans to fight again at 175 pounds.

Smith (27-0, 19 KO) fought a few weeks later on Nov. 23, controversially beating John Ryder by decision in a fight many — including myself — thought Ryder won.

Smith’s grip on being the No. 1 fighter in the division is loose at best because of that result, but he is a very big, very strong super middleweight, and would tower over Alvarez head-to-head. (Rocky Fielding did, too, but I think we can all agree even if you’re currently low on Callum, he’s a good deal better than Fielding.)

None of this much matters at the moment, anyway. Canelo will fight whomever he’s going to fight next, probably someone based in the United States or Mexico, if he were to choose or be forced to fight in Mexico City instead of, say, Las Vegas.

As for Smith, he really should give Ryder a rematch, in my opinion — it’s the best fight he can make right now other than unifying against Saunders — but that doesn’t seem to be something his team are looking to do any time soon.

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