Canelo Alvarez KOs Liam Smith, calls for GGG bout intensify

© Jerome Miron
Mexican powerhouse Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez became the new WBO light middleweight champion by stopping Liam Smith in the ninth round of their bout on Saturday night.

Smith was defending the belt for the third time, but the Liverpool fighter was ultimately outclassed and overpowered by the devastatingly explosive Canelo.

The 28-year-old became champion with a win over American fighter John Thompson in August 2015, and had made two defenses in England. Smith had ended all three fights early.

But this time at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, it was Canelo’s power and movement that decided a one-sided bout to inflict Smith’s first career defeat.

The former middleweight champion now boasts an impressive professional record of 48 wins, one draw and only one loss, which came against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Canelo also knocked another Briton in Amir Khan earlier this year.

Canelo was the sharper of the two fighters in the early rounds, and his usual tactic of fighting in strong bursts of quick-fire attacks wore Smith down. The champion did have some success, however, cutting Canelo by the right eye with a punch in round two.

In the middle rounds, the challenger struck particularly hard. Canelo sent Smith to the canvas in round seven on a stunning right hook to the head, and then knocked Smith down again with a powerful body shot in round eight.

The end came in round nine, when Canelo dug in another jarring body punch to send Smith to the canvas for the full count of ten to call a halt to the proceedings at 2 minutes 28 seconds of the round.

The 26-year-old Canelo said he delivered on his pre-fight promise to win the belt.

“I told you I was going to give you a great fight and bring you the championship and here it is,” he said.

“I started controlling him but in the second round I hurt my hand. I hurt my right hand so I had to use my left more often. I could only use my right sparingly.

“I felt he was very strong in the beginning. I felt I had to put the body work in so his strength would dwindle, so that’s what I did.”

All eyes will now be on whether Canelo will finally face middleweight monster Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin.

Canelo still holds The Ring magazine championship at middleweight, but Kazakhstan’s Golovkin is generally considered number one in the division, and one of the most feared fighters in the world.

READ MORE: Gennady Golovkin dominates Kell Brook to retain titles & unbeaten record

“I offered Golovkin double, triple the amount to make the fight happen and he still hasn’t answered,” Canelo said after the fight.

Golovkin defeated Kell Brook in commanding fashion earlier this month and it now appears that the matchup depends on each side’s promotional team to make the much-anticipated clash happen.

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