By Elliot Foster
Liam Smith and Saul Álvarez hit the scales ahead of their clash at the AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
The pair will square off at the venue in Arlington, Texas, for Smith’s WBO super-welterweight title, with Álvarez stepping back down from middleweight in an attempt to achieve the feat of becoming a world champion for the third time.
‘Beefy’ (23-0-1, 13 KOs) tipped the scales at a comfortable 154 pounds, while former WBC middleweight king Álvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), who goes by the ring moniker ‘Canelo’, was on the scales for what seemed like about five seconds and had to strip bare as he just about made the weight for the first time since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand back in September, 2014 when both fighters were contracted to scale 10st 12lbs.
Smith believes Alvarez could be overlooking him in the fight and hopes that he will get a fair crack of the whip from the judges, should they be required, ahead of their BoxNation-aired clash, which is also set to be shown on HBO Pay-Per-View in the States.
“I’m coming to fight ‘Canelo’ and you’re going to be in for a massive shock,” Smith said in the build-up to the fight. “I’m ready for this fight. I’m a world champion going into this fight, the defending champion.
“This fight is a fight that will allow me to make a name for myself all over the world, establishing myself to the world of boxing and not just British fight fans.”
‘Canelo’, who it has emerged in the build-up loves motor racing, has cut a smiley, happy character ahead of his latest ring appearance, despite his obvious struggles to make the weight, which is in stark contrast to the attitude of IBO, IBF, WBA Super and WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who didn’t do any media work in the build-up to his defeat of IBF welterweight king Kell Brook in London last week.
“I’ve prepared for a very tough fight against a tough opponent,” Álvarez said. “Some people in the US might not know who Smith is yet but I definitely do.
“He’s a world champion for a reason and the important thing is that I know what he has and what he brings. That is what I have prepared for and that is what I have worked really hard for.
“I love his aggressive come-forward style, I think our styles will gel and we will provide fight fans around the world with an exciting contest.
“We have had an amazing camp and come Saturday night we can all celebrate together and say ‘Viva Mexico’ because we are taking home the title.”
The majority are predicting the challenger will win the fight on the night and be in line for a clash against Gennady Golovkin up at 160lbs, but Smith –– who has been so positive in the build-up, so confident and convincing –– insists he’s not travelling Stateside just to make up the numbers.
“My mind is just set on ‘Canelo’,” Smith continued, “and when I beat [him], my next fight will be ‘Canelo’ again because I know they will throw everything back.
“They overlooked me and I know that after September 17 the excuses are going to come.
“I know on paper I’m the B-side of this fight and ‘Canelo’ is the big name, but I’m the champion and that is one reason why I hope they’ll respect that I’m champion and be fair.”
“I’ve taken this fight because it’s an opportunity to make a name for myself,” Smith added.
“I’m not in a situation where I have nothing to lose in this fight. I have a title to lose. And [if I win I will] establish myself as one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world.”
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.
There was some bad blood in the final head-to-head between these two, after they had weighed in at 159.25lbs and 158.75lbs, respectively.
Meanwhile, Joseph Diaz (21-0, 12 KOs), who scaled 125.5lbs, will put his NABF featherweight crown at stake against Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs), who was forced to show all –– behind a towel, of course –– to meet the 126lb limit, 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. The pair each scaled 121.75lbs.
Elsewhere, there is a slew of non-title fights as part of the 11-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.
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!