There’s that old cliché in life that you should be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. But it just goes to show how much confidence Callum Smith has in his own world class ability that he called out arguably the worlds P4P No1 Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in the immediate aftermath of the Mexican’s demolition job on Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas at the weekend up at light-heavyweight.
That victory ensured Canelo would become a four-weight world champion, and he is yet to rule out going for an incredible fifth at the cruiserweight mark. However, many expect him to step down for his next fight, and that would put Smith firmly in the crosshairs given that he is ranked number one in the world at the 168lb classification.
And there would be no backward step from the Liverpudlian, who gets a chance to strut his stuff on home soil when he tackles John Ryder in defence of his WBA strap at the M&S Bank Arena in his home city on November 23. “I’ve seen an interview, saying he’d [Canelo] consider cruiserweight,” Smith has said. “I don’t know, but if he comes to 168, I believe I’m the number one in that division, so he’ll have to come and beat me to take that place.”
It’s probable that the proud Mexican will fight next on his homeland’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations in 2020, as he has done in three of the last four years. It will be interesting to see if a fight – presumably in Las Vegas or even in Mexico City – could be finalised and whether Smith would be the man to step up to the plate against arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Super Middleweight Class Flourishing
Even if a date with Canelo cannot be made, it is not as if Smith is short of options at the 168lb level. But first he must get past Ryder, a dangerous sort who must be taken seriously. ‘The Gorilla’, as he is known, is something of an animal when fighting on the inside, and while the 31-year-old has not been all that active of late he still holds the honour of giving Billie-Joe Saunders one of the toughest fights of his career so far.
The bookmakers have the champion down as a heavy favourite at 1/16 to see off the challenge of the Londoner in the latest betting odds for Callum Smith vs John Ryder, but as we know in the fight game, it would be reckless to write off an underdog with absolutely nothing to lose. Presuming Smith gets through that November date, numerous doors will surely open for the 29-year-old.
🗣️ "My last three fights have been on the road and whilst they have been incredible experiences, there is nothing quite like a big fight night in Liverpool" – @CallumSmith23 👑#SmithRyder pic.twitter.com/4oVvhnYg1n— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 27, 2019
What are Smith’s options?
Presuming he does get past Ryder and don’t expect it to be a walk in the park if he does, he could instruct his management team to set him on the road to unifying the division, perhaps starting with a bout against WBC champion David Benavidez or IBF holder Caleb Plant. Either of those fighters could surely be tempted to travel to Liverpool for a big purse and a shot at the divisional champ.
Closer to home, the prospect of a Smith-Saunders tear-up would attract plenty of interest and sell out any arena on UK soil, while Chris Eubank Jr is another enticing proposition if he can be persuaded to return from his American adventure in the spring next year.
There will be many options for the Scouse banger, but get past Ryder and the smart money is on Smith to top the bill at Anfield next year with his brothers also appearing on a monumental fight card at the home of Liverpool football club. Could Canelo be tempted to come to the UK to take on Smith? Watch this space!
The future is bright for Smith regardless, and while there aren’t many who wouldn’t want to see him lock horns with Canelo in May 2020, it may be that he has to go and assert his dominance on the super middleweight division elsewhere.