Liam Smith goes in as a big underdog this weekend as he defends his WBO super-welterweight world title against Mexican sensation Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez.
The Liverpudlian (23-0-1, 13 KOs) won the vacant strap in October last year and has since defended it twice, taking his run of consecutive knockout victories to eight.
Stopping John Thompson of America inside seven rounds in Manchester was swiftly followed by the early “Christmas wages” ending of Jimmy Kelly Jr. in December.
The 28-year-old then had some time away from the ring before blowing out Montenegro’s Predrag Radosević, 31, inside two rounds in his home city on June 4, just 20 days before his mammoth showdown with Álvarez was rubber-stamped by promoter Frank Warren.
‘Canelo’ doesn’t boast that string of knockouts, but his record is full of massive names and he has a large number of victories for a 26-year-old, having turned his hand to the paid code at the tender age of 15.
The Mexican (47-1-1, 33 KOs) has only been beaten by Floyd Mayweather [on points in September, 2013], while he has seen off the likes of Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Shane Mosley and most recently ‘Beefy’s’ fellow Brit Amir Khan, who he sensationally knocked out in the sixth round back in May in a defence of his old WBC middleweight crown at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
So, as the pair embark on a clash for supremacy in the 154-pound division, which is arguably the most talent-laden weight class in the sport, Instant Boxing has your handy all-you-need-to-know guide to the big fight.
When is the Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez vs. Liam Smith fight?
The bout is on Saturday, September 17 in the United States, with it likely to start at around 3am (Sunday morning) BST.
Where is it being held?
It is being staged at the 80,000-seater AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which is the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
What TV channel is showing Canelo vs Smith?
BoxNation are showing the fight in the UK, with coverage starting from 01.00 BST, while HBO Pay-Per-View has control of the US right, with their coverage expected to begin at 9pm ET/6pm PT.
Who is on the undercard?
The undercard consists of four title fights. The chief support comes from Gabriel Rosado (23-9, 13 KOs), who takes on Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs), for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title.
Meanwhile, Joseph Diaz (21-0, 12 KOs) will put his NABF featherweight crown at stake against Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs) and Diego de la Hoya, the undefeated WBC Youth titlist, will put his belt and 15-0 (9 KOs) ledger on the line when he steps in with Luis Orlando Del Valle of Puerto Rico, who has a record of 22-2 (16 KOs), over the 10-round distance.
Elsewhere, there is a slew of non-title fights as part of the 12-fight card, including a six-round showcase for Ilford’s highly-rated light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde, who is currently 7-0 with six inside-the-distance victories.
What’s been said?
The pair have been very respectful in the build-up to their clash, complimenting each other on enough occasions for journalists who wish to to at least do a double-page spread on the fight.
A number of UK media outlets will be sending representatives to Dallas for the fight, so expect plenty of reaction to the result in the aftermath.
For now, though, here are some of the best bits from both fighters.
Liam Smith: “Saul Álvarez is one of the biggest names out there and I am going to stop him.
“When this fight was put on the table, I jumped at the chance. It’s a chance for me to make a name for myself. I know I’m the champion and [this is] my biggest fight, but it’s a fight I’ve asked for since before I became champion.
“I may not have had the world-class names, but you can see the improvements and I’ve still gone about the job like a champion.”
Saul Álvarez: “Liam is a great fighter, who is hungry to win. We know what’s in front of us and we know he is dangerous.
“We have trained like never before to give everyone a great fight and give the fans what they want to see.”
Who are the officials?
Luis Pabon has been entrusted with the job of refereeing the fight, while Nelson Vazquez, Levi Martinez and Oren Shellenberger have been named as the three scoring judges.
Pabon, from Puerto Rico, has been the man in the middle for some notable occasions and most recently took charge of the world championship contest between Kohei Kono and Luis Concepcion in which the challenger was victorious and as a result claimed the WBA title at super-flyweight.
BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, will televise this fight on Sky channel 437, Freeview channel 255, Virgin channel 546 and TalkTalk channel 415.
Alternatively, you can watch the fight online at www.watch.boxnation.com and via apps on iOS, Android and Amazon devices.
Go to www.boxnation.com to find out how you can watch this fight and more live!