Canelo Alvarez was the shorter man, but far from the smaller man Saturday in his super middleweight title unification bout against Callum Smith at the Alamodome.
Alvarez showed why he’s the best fighter in the world in running away from Smith to capture the WBA and WBC titles by scores of 119-109 twice and 117-111. Yahoo Sports had it a shutout, 120-108, for Alvarez.
Alvarez walked Smith down from the first bell, backing the bigger man up repeatedly and punishing him with crushing shots. Smith had an eight-inch height advantage, but that was the only edge he had on this night.
Alvarez’s offense was diverse, as he threw every punch there is, and he connected on 43 percent of his total punches and an astounding 57 percent of his power punches.
He was so good that he must be seriously in the conversation now as the finest Mexican-born fighter of all time. That’s been Julio Cesar Chavez for years, and he set a standard that didn’t seem reachable. But Alvarez is closing ground fast and soon there will have to be a discussion.
He’s a brilliant all-around fighter whose defense against Smith was on display throughout the night. He parried and slipped punches, moved his head and feet and was in command all night, holding Smith to just an 18 percent connect rate.
He has won world titles at 154, 160, 168 and 175 pounds, but rarely has he looked as good as he did on Saturday. Still, Alvarez wasn’t ready to call it the best.
“It’s one of the best nights for me and I won the unified titles,” Alvarez said. “It’s one of the greatest nights I’ve had, but I’ll go for more.”
The only blight against Alvarez on Saturday was that he didn’t finish Smith, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He was hitting him with both hands, on the head and in the body, hard, quick and vicious. Smith was reeling several times, but he showed his toughness by refusing to go down.
His brother, Liam, was knocked out in the ninth round by Alvarez in 2016 in a 154-pound title fight, and this was not much different.
“He’s a good fighter, I have to give him credit,” Callum Smith said.
He’s better than good. Let’s get that right: He’s great. There is no finer fighter in the world at this moment, a moment when there are a lot of super elite fighters in their primes.
Alvarez, though, is one of the best and he’s beginning to push himself into that all-time territory.
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