Boxing: ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to Fight Liam Smith on Sept. 17

By Mike Sloan Jun 24, 2016
When the announcement came earlier in the week that Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Russian knockout sensation Gennady “GGG” Golovkin had finally agreed to fight each other -- in 2017 -- speculation was rampant as to whom Alvarez would fight in the meantime.

Alvarez’ promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, secured the date of Sept. 17 for his next outing at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with HBO Pay-Per-View televising. “Canelo” and his camp revealed that they wanted the fighter to have one or two fights at the 160-pound limit so his body would be better prepared for the middleweight division when he takes on Golovkin next year, though he is the current WBC middleweight champion.

As it turns out, those plans aren’t going to be followed to the T just yet, as it was announced Friday afternoon that the popular Mexican slugger will drop back down to the junior middleweight division to challenge unbeaten Brit Liam Smith for his WBO 154-pound title.

Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) has been on a tear lately, scoring eight consecutive knockouts. He most recently fought on June 4, when he knocked out Predrag Radosevic in the second round to defend his title. Smith won his WBO crown in October 2015 by stopping John Thompson in the seventh round.

“I am delighted to get the opportunity to defend my world title against the biggest name in world boxing and to headline in the U.S. which is a dream I have had since I started in the sport of boxing,” Smith stated in a release. “This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that. I am confident of winning this fight and returning to the great city of Liverpool with my belt still around my waist.”

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) is coming off a highlight reel knockout of Amir Khan in May and is aiming to become a champion at junior middleweight for the third time.

“I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world title owner,” stated Alvarez. “I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand on 17 September.”

The event will be televised live by HBO PPV starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. A full undercard and co-feature will be announced in the coming weeks.

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