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Canelo vs Smith odds: Upset probable, but power is a huge equalizer

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Did Team Canelo make a mistake when opting to face RING Magazine Super Middleweight Champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KO)?

Canelo vs Smith should happen, but is it the right time?

Smith represents the biggest challenge for Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2; 36 KO) since the latter faced Floyd Mayweather (Sep 2013).

Canelo vs Smith
December 19
San Antonio, TX
RING Magazine / WBA Super Middleweight Title
Champion: Smith

Callum is arguably a top 12 pound-for-pound fighter, is unbeaten and, at 6’3”/78” reach, is freakishly rangy for a super middleweight.

Sure, Callum looked vulnerable is his most recent bout against 5’9” John Ryder in September 2019, and that’s probably why Team Canelo selected the Brit. But, rest-assured, Alvarez will be facing a better version of Smith come fight night as Callum and Co. have had ample time to examine the Ryder fight and tweak Smith's approach when fighting at close range. 

Canelo vs Smith Odds
Bovada has released the Canelo vs Smith odds with the former as the -650 favorite and Smith, the real and legitimate super middleweight champion, at +425. Hence, a $650 bet on Canelo would yield $100 while a $100 wager on Smith would generate $425 in revenue.

Surely, Canelo vs Smith is a lot closer than the odds indicate. In fact, Team Smith should be a bit insulted the odds aren’t narrower.

Alvarez, in his most recent fight in November 2019, was just a -420 favorite against then light heavyweight belt holder Sergey Kovalev. The latter sat at +310.

How were Canelo vs Kovalev odds tighter than Canelo vs Smith? After all, Sergey was considered past his prime and was only 4-3 in his last seven fights. Smith is just 30 years old and seemingly in his prime.

Perhaps Smith is being shunned a bit because he lacks the name recognition of a star?

Canelo vs Smith: Who do you like?

Canelo Alvarez
It’s usually not wise to bet against a fighter ranked No.1 in the world pound for pound by RING Magazine; And that’s where Canelo is sitting at the moment.

Alvarez does everything so well. He boasts one-punch knockout power, is extremely hard to hit flush and has incredible reflexes. Moreover, he’s learned to cut off the ring through the years.

He can box well and brawl effectively, is always in superb cardiovascular shape and appears to be durable (we haven’t seen Alvarez take much punishment, but he’s absorbed shots well thus far, especially against Gennady Golovkin in their rematch). In addition, Canelo has also shown exceptional ring intelligence by effectively setting traps and outsmarting opponents.

Strategically, Canelo has a few things that are overwhelmingly in his favor: 1) A-side status, 2) judge-friendly fighting style and 3) the ability to end a fight with one punch.

Alvarez will be the A-side against Smith and will likely get the benefit of all doubts with the judges. Just as important, Canelo has an eye-friendly, crowd-pleasing style. When he unlashes shots, he looks like he's generating a lot of hurt, regardless of whether he lands.

For those reasons (A-side status and pretty style), Canelo, who also has decent hit-and-move boxing skills, will win all the rounds that are anywhere near close.

We saw that scenario playout against Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Daniel Jacobs and, most of all, in the rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

CaneloGGG Hoganphotos2

Call it Canelo’s superb ring generalship or an unfair advantage due to his A-side status and fight style, the fact remains Smith won’t be awarded many – if any – close rounds.

Also, for those who like the odds and are looking to bet on Canelo, Alvarez’s ability to end the fight with quickly is certainly a sizzle.

Remember how well Amir Khan and Sergey Kovalev were fighting before one punch from Alvarez ended matters?

canelo vs khan

Explosive, powerful and quick enough to seize opportunities, Alvarez is ALWAYS dangerous because he's proven he can knockout elite opponents with just one or two shots.

And make no mistake, Team Canelo believes their man, over 12 rounds, can find or create that window of opportunity against Callum Smith.

Canelo knocked out Smith's brother, Liam, with a single body shot in Rpund 10 in 2017.

Even if Alvarez drops the first six or seven rounds, he’s very much still in the fight.

Callum Smith
When evaluating the lineal Super Middleweight Champion, the first thing that comes to mind is size. He’s 6’3”, has a 78” reach and fights big. And against Canelo, who will be a small super middleweight, Smith will have a massive 7" and 7 ½" height and reach advantage, respectively.

And while Canelo can box well and possesses quickness, he’s not Floyd Mayweather or Sugar Ray Leonard. He doesn’t have that level of boxing skill nor that kind of sustained quickness, or speed, to outbox a big man with Smith's technical capabilities, 

Hence, it’s unlikely he’ll box rings around Callum Smith the same way Mayweather did against Diego Corrales or Leonard against Donny Lalonde.

“He’s special, he’s the face of boxing at the minute and nobody rates him more than me. I just think he’s a middleweight,” Smith, speaking to RING TV, said of Alvarez when speaking of a potential Canelo vs Smith match-up.

“To come up to super middle is a big ask for him..”

pjimage 9
“Canelo is a good fighter, great to watch and I do rate him. The things is, I rate (Vasiliy) Lomachenko, but I don’t believe he’ll win junior welterweight or welterweight titles."

"There’s only so much size you can give away where your ability makes up for it. I see size as being a big advantage for me if the Canelo fight happens.”

How ironic is it that Smith appears to have accurately predicted Lomachenko would lose to Teofimo Lopez?

Prior to the 2020 U.S Presidential Election, campaign experts accurately predicted the winner of Michigan would win Pennsylvania (and vice versa) because the states’ demographics are so similar. Although certainly not an apples to apples comparison, Lomachenko vs Lopez may be a foreshadower of Canelo vs Smith.

Like Lopez against Lomachenko, Smith will have height and reach advantages, solid (although not mind-numbing) speed and power, and elite level technical proficiencies.

So, there are some comparisons we can make between Lomachenko vs Lopez and Canelo vs Smith.

Lopez was the clear victor in his fight;..  And even when awarding Loma all the close rounds, he'd still come up short.

If Canelo vs Smith goes the distance, the latter will need a Teofimo Lopez-like performance to win.

Callum smith punch

It wouldn't be advisable for Smith to trade with Canelo, but the Brit can still use his power, defensively, to sting Canelo and keep him outside just as Lopez did against Lomachenko.

Let’s not forget, with 19 knockouts in 27 fights, Smith isn’t short on power. He has 10 first round knockouts and boasts KO wins over formidable opponents Hassan N'Dam and George Groves.

Expect Smith to give Canelo a taste of his power within the first 6 minutes, just as Lopez did with Lomachenko. If Smith can force Canelo to be tentative early, a la Loma against Lopez, it’ll be a long night for the Mexican.

Callum will have to (in this order) earn Canelo’s respect early with power shots to keep the Mexican at bay, outbox him, and then not lose his composure when Alvarez is desperate in the back half of the fight and looking to land a home run combination.

Of course, all of that’s easier said than done. But, it's certainly a possibility.

As Callum stated earlier this year, “There’s only so much size you can give away where your ability makes up for it.”

loma vs lopez

Even the great Lomachenko fell short against a naturally bigger, stronger opponent who not only had speed and power, but the poise to get the most of his strengths.

BUT, Lomachenko, at jr welterweight, didn’t have the one-punch power Canelo boasts and super middleweight.

Sometimes power is the great equalizer.

In the end, Smith needs to be more flawless than Canelo in order to win.

Look for Smith to try to use his power to make Canelo tentative early, pile on the points and then attempt to safely box him from long range for the last 3 or 4 rounds of the fight to en route to try to win a decision.

And expect Canelo, anytime between Rounds 1 and 12, to look to find and/or create an opening where he can use his power to end the fight in seconds.

Please share your thoughts on the Canelo vs Smith odds.


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