On Saturday night, Callum Smith will take on Saul 'Canelo' Alverez in a huge super-middleweight world title fight live on DAZN.
It pits the Liverpool man against a man widely regarded as the best pound for pound fighter in the world, in what is a big fight to round off the year.
This fight is still a surprise for fans as Canelo was about to sign a contract to fight Billy Joe Saunders in March, before the pandemic hit. The original plan was to fight Saunders and Gennady Golovkin in the same year, which shows how unlikely Smith was to get this fight.
Nevertheless, the fight is on and it pits Smith, the best super-middleweight in the world against the four weight world champion in what is a mouth watering fight. Smith is looking to avenge his brother Liam's defeat to Canelo back in 2016 and I believe he stands a good chance of doing so.
💪 Callum Smith crushes N'Dam 💪— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 29, 2019
As the year draws to a close we take a look at some of the best knockouts that we've seen on Sky Sports in 2019.
Was Callum Smith's KO in New York your number 1 finish? 🤔👇 pic.twitter.com/rFnjpUflrR
At 30 years of age, Smith is entering his prime and he has established himself as the best in the division - holding the WBA world title and the Ring Magazine title as well. Wins over George Groves, Rocky Fielding, John Ryder and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam have shown his pedigree but he steps up to a challenge like never before.
His strength's come with, firstly, his experience with 27 wins and 19 knockouts. Fighting all over the world and showing variety over his career is certainly a strength. However, his main strength lies in his physical advantages.
Standing very tall at six foot three is very good for a super-middleweight fighter. As he claims, he's a big super-middleweight, bordering on being better suited to the light-heavyweight division. Also, his reach is 78 inches, which rivals the likes of the heavyweight fighters. For context, Alexander Povetkin has a reach of 75 inches.
His height allows him to control most of the fights he's in, as the opponent is always smaller and they have to come forward. He deals with this by using his underrated skills with a stiff jab to control the distance - coupled with power in each hand, he almost always finds a way to land on his opponent.
Whether it's the stunning knockout of N'Dam in New York or the composed finish of Groves or the demolition job of fellow Brit Fielding, he is deadly with both hands. The general consensus is that he will have to stop Canelo if he's going to win - and he certainly has the potential to do so.
🥊🇬🇧 SCORECARDS— BOXING UK 🥊🇬🇧 (@Boxing_UK_) November 3, 2019
Here are the Canelo Kovalev scorecards at the end of the tenth round; Canelo on his way to a points victory it would seem.
We had it 96-94 Kovalev, who defied many with that performance. #CaneloKovalev #CaneloAlvarez #Canelo pic.twitter.com/mARzdB0dtS
Finding weaknesses in Canelo is like trying to find a needle in a haystack because he's absolutely brilliant as a fighter. His pro career began when he was just 15 and he boasts a 53 wins with 36 KO's and two draws and the solitary loss to Floyd Mayweather. What we can look at, is his recent performances against Sergey Kovalev and Daniel Jacobs back in 2019.
Kovalev up at light-heavyweight caused Canelo problems as the bigger man in the fight, before Canelo knocked him out with one of the most eye catching KO's of the year. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had Canelo 96-94 up and the other had it scored as a draw.
It's clear he had issues and the fight was very competitive with someone who was no longer in his prime in Kovalev. Plus, at 36, he had a lot of miles on the clock and had just come off a tough fight against Brit Anthony Yarde.
In the Jacobs fight, two judges had it 115-113 with the other scoring it 116-112. Again, Jacobs was the bigger man and caused Canelo problems winning a lot of rounds. These are little things that Smith can take inspiration from and he will also back himself as a better, fresher, hungrier fighter than those two mentioned.
Smith Has To Be at His Best
Canelo "The Cash Cow" Alvarez returns to action this Saturday against Callum Smith.— ONE37pm (@137pm) December 14, 2020
Is Canelo your number one pound for pound fighter? pic.twitter.com/S5z6laL1fz
When Callum's brother Liam fought Canelo back in 2016, Callum was there to witness Canelo punish his brother with body blows getting the stoppage in the 9th round. He's here to avenge his brother's loss, but he knows how important it is to be at his best.
Another Liverpool based fighter took on Canelo and suffered again from the crippling body shots. I'll give you hint, the video is just above. Fielding was pounded to the body and put down in all three rounds of a short fight.
He towered above Canelo at six foot one, but he allowed the Mexican to work his way in and punish the body to catastrophic effect. It's integral for Smith to avoid any of those body shot onslaught's. It's also worth noting that Canelo is 5-0 with British fighters, with four stoppages.
He will have to show a much improved performance from his last outing, as he struggled to a points victory against John Ryder. Many thought he was lucky to come away with the win as he struggled to land anything significant. But he's had a full camp, despite the short time from announcement to fight week.
A victory for Smith rock the boxing world, as Canelo is arguably the biggest star in the sport. He comes in as the underdog, but with his size, hand speed and power - he certainly offers a sizeable threat to Canelo and his legacy.