Who else for Callum Smith if not Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez?
The WBA 'super' champion is planning his next move after talks with Eddie Hearn
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 07/07/19 4:48pm
Callum Smith has welcomed a super fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, but who else could be on the shortlist for the world's No 1 super-middleweight?
The undefeated 29-year-old is roundly recognised as the finest fighter at 168lbs after he claimed the WBA 'super' title with a commanding stoppage win over George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final.
Smith returned in New York last month, demolishing Hassan N'Dam in the third round, a clinical performance that delivered a dig in the ribs to watchers who had questioned the status of the Liverpudlian following a spell of inactivity.
But after blitzing his way up the rankings, collecting British, European and the fringe level WBC 'silver' belt, Smith is yearning to test himself further against an elite level performer.
Alvarez's team had mentioned Smith's name in the aftermath of a middleweight unification win over Daniel Jacobs in May, with the Mexican star seemingly willing to step back up to super-middleweight.
'Canelo' claimed the WBA 'regular' belt in December following a third round stoppage of Rocky Fielding, a British foe who Smith had overwhelmed in a round, but now appears unlikely to move back up in weight as fellow countryman Jaime Munguia is the current front-runner to fight him at 160lbs.
Smith held talks with promoter Eddie Hearn last week to discuss his next career move and Joe Gallagher, his manager and trainer, wants bouts in September and December to herald an exciting British hero.
Standing at 6'3" tall, with muscle packed onto his imposing frame, Smith somehow manages to make the limit, and is a daunting proposition for challengers and champions, mixing up jolting jabs, booming right hands, and spiteful hooks.
Unification fights could be hard to secure, through no fault of Smith, as negotiations with current WBC champion Anthony Dirrell proved troublesome in the past, while fellow American Caleb Plant, the IBF holder, is tied up with his next title defence against Mike Lee later this month.
Billy Joe Saunders is willing to put his WBO belt at stake, an intriguing match-up of differing sizes, fighting styles and personality, but it remains to be seen whether terms can be agreed for a battle of Britain.
John Ryder is also waiting in the wings for Smith, having cemented his position as the WBA's mandatory challenger by blasting out Bilal Akkawy in May.
There is much to ponder for Smith, but the calm, understated champion wants a significant victory to ensure his name is ringing out again with the likes of 'Canelo'.