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Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith Prediction

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) vs. Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) Fight Preview and Pick to Win
When: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Weight Class: WBO Light Middleweight Title: 154 Pounds
by Scott of

Betting Odds: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez -1250, Liam Smith +800
Over/Under: Over 7.5 (-130), Under 7.5 (+110). Bet your Alvarez/Smith prediction using your credit card at an online boxing betting site where it WILL work for deposits and where you'll receive a generous 100% bonus on your first deposit: MyBookie.

Fight Analysis:

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez takes on Liam Smith in Las Vegas on September 17. After winning the middleweight belt, Canelo returns to his old weight class to challenge Smith for the Englishman’s WBO 154-pound belt. Can Smith make the long trip to Vegas and shake up the boxing world? Or are we in store for another big win from one of the sport’s top stars?

We know what we have in Canelo, a well-established superstar fighter at just 25 years old. The question is what we have with Liverpool’s Liam “Beefy” Smith, an unbeaten 28-year old from a fighting family, where two brothers and a cousin are prominent fighters in their own right. He may be the best of the bunch. He’s going to need a lot more than that to hang with Canelo.

Smith isn’t your standard English pug who builds up a big record before getting chopped to pieces by a superior champion once he steps up in competition. Not that it won’t happen, but he looks to be at the head of a wave of what is really a renaissance of boxing in the UK. We’re seeing quality champions emerging at a higher rate with more-nuanced boxers and differently-abled fighters across all lines and styles. Smith is a responsible fighter who keeps a tight defense, looking to land a nice right hand. Nothing about him leaps off the screen, but he has a subtle and understated aspect to him. There’s another side to his competent and more-straightforward approach.

Smith is a bit one-dimensional and he’s available to be hit. But he has a nice bounce to him, able to get in and out without much expenditure of effort. He can work an active and accurate jab well and he has a nice arsenal of punches, ehich he launches with a high level of suddenness. He’s undefeated, so his ceiling hasn’t been established yet. At first glance, he might not strike one as a good candidate to beat Canelo, but you never know. There could be some opportunity in the fact that Alvarez is in a biding-time-period, filling dates, while waiting for the Golovkin fight to materialize next year.

That’s a dangerous period for a fighter like Canelo and we’ve seen it come back to bite superstar boxers before. There is an obvious blockbuster fight to make and as they try to milk the big fight for maximum earning power, bad things can happen at the hands of fighters looking to fulfill their own dreams. It can divert a fighter’s focus and present an opportunity for a fighter like Smith to do some big things. Then again, Alvarez is a devoted professional, a young veteran who approaches boxing in a very businesslike manner. Banking on him to overlook an opponent could be a losing game at the end of the day.

Canelo will be 26 by fight night and there’s another thought that maybe his ring age surpasses his chronological age. Just looking at him, he appears to be a battle-worn veteran. He has taken a lot of punches. Not that he has shown any signs of slipping, but he might not be the fresh-faced newcomer some make him out to be. It’s a bit curious that he moved back down to 154 pounds for this bout, as he tries to build up interest in a middleweight title fight with GGG.

Alvarez is a massive 154-pounder, weighing 20 pounds more than that by the time he steps into the ring. It’s almost as if he’s been spending extra time and effort creating a real KO punch. In recent outings, we’ve seen him one-punching guys and that’s more of a new part of his vast arsenal. That could be bad news for a guy like Smith, who will tasting that kind of leather for the first time.

Smith can also find a bit of comfort that Alvarez hasn’t seen everything go his way in his career. He always seemed vulnerable to slick boxing on his way up and it really manifested in a loss to Mayweather and debatable wins over Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara. His November 2015 decision win over Miguel Cotto was widely-scored, but this observer didn’t find Alvarez to be a clear winner by any stretch.

The problem for Smith isn’t just in how he matches up with Canelo from a boxing standpoint, but there’s also the political angle. It’s sad that we need to account for that variable, but reality dictates that we do. Even if you fancy Smith’s chances to spring an upset, you have to gauge exactly by how wide of a margin will he need to dominate Canelo by to get the decision. It’s Mexican Independence weekend. It’s in Las Vegas. Simply edging Canelo, a best-case scenario in all reality, probably wouldn’t get the job done for Smith. Anyone who has seen Canelo fight knows opponents don’t always seem to get full credit for their work on the scorecards. That doesn’t mean that Canelo didn’t rightfully earn all his success or deserve to win all of his fights, but the score-tallies don’t always seem to represent reality.

I like Smith’s energy and skills, as well as his fearless disposition. You’re at least going to get a credible effort. But to hang with Canelo, you need elite boxing skills or bone-crunching power and Smith hasn’t shown those dimensions and maybe never will. The guys who have troubled Canelo are superior boxers, whereas Smith is more of a forward-moving fighter. In addition, Smith has beaten some good fighters domestically, but nothing to suggest he is ready for this quantum leap in class. All his fights have taken place in the UK and his best win was over American John Thompson—a fringe contender. You’d at least liked to have seen Smith beat a former champion or a real contender because this is going to be a jarring jump in caliber for the Liverpool belt-holder.

It’s really hard to go with Smith in this fight. He is being brought in to lose. The entire promotion is geared for him to lose. But with Canelo maybe looking ahead a bit and not struck with total fear by the prospects of fighting Smith, it’s hard to picture him being in an ultra-urgent state. Combine that with Smith’s capability and determination, there’s a chance this one could go some rounds. The total is set at 7.5 rounds, meaning 1:30 into the 8th round and I think Smith makes it past that point.

My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting over 7.5 at -130. Canelo has his opponent outgunned, but Smith is a competent and defensively-sound fighter who has shown a good chin. With Canelo not feeling terribly threatened, he might cruise a bit and let this one go into the late-rounds. Find the largest array of Boxing/UFC betting options at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes. You pay less for odds there!

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