Canelo Alvarez offer rejected by Callum Smith: Pros and cons
Until Artur Beterbiev defeated then WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October, lineal super middleweight champion Callum Smith sat in RING Magazine's top 10 pound-for-pound list.
And at 27-0, 19 KO, his placement was deserved.
However, aside from hardcore boxing fans in the UK, Smith would be virtually unrecognized on any street corner in the world. Hence, he's not nearly as well-known or as well-paid as most of the fighters on that list today, including Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Vasyl Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao.
So, why did Team Smith reject an offer to face the most popular fighter in the world?
A win over Canelo Alvarez would have certainly created a lot of lucrative opportunities for Smith, who dabbles in relative obscurity these days.
And his credentials and ring style suggest he'd have a decent shot at defeating Canelo.
Why did Team Smith refuse the offer?
The 29 year old Smith is a giant 6'3" super middleweight with a 78 inch reach. He fights tall, knows how to maximize his height and reach and would boast a 7 inch / 7 1/2 height / reach advantage over Alvarez.
And in 2 of his last 3 fights, he KO'd Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam and George Groves.
But, of most importance, Smith knows how to get the most of his height and reach. Being rangy, of course, doesn't necessarily mean a fighter understands how to maximize that advantage.
So, why didn't Team Smith, along with promoter Eddie Hearn, not accept the offer from Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo's handlers?
Hearn insists it was a low-ball offer but consensus suggests Smith should have been salivating at the chance. If Smith really wanted that fight, he should have jumped at the "opportunity." With a win over Canelo, Callum hits the lottery.
Smith is an elite fighter and would have certainly been a very live dog against Canelo Alvarez.
Maybe we're overestimating Callum Smith a bit? Perhaps his handlers aren't convinced Smith is ready for an opponent like Canelo?
Fact: Team Canelo refused to face Floyd Mayweather when the offer was made a few years prior to when they fought. Given Alvarez decisively lost to Floyd in their 2013 bout, it's likely he would have fared worse had they fought in 2011.
Aside from Groves, Smith doesn't have any big names on his ledger. Moreover, he looked vulnerable in his most recent bout against a much smaller John Ryder (then 28-4).
Smith won via a unanimous decision but many believe the scorecards were too favourable towards Smith. To his credit, Ryder, the underdog, gave a brilliant performance in Smith’s backyard. With a height and reach comparable to Canelo's, Ryder was able to get in behind the jab and land significant punches.
The scores were 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 all in favour of Smith, who retained his world titles. However, ans were enraged with the decision and took to Twitter to question how it had been scored so wide. At a point, the word ‘Robbery’ was the number one trending topic on the social media platform.
Perhaps Smith vs Ryder, which took place in November of last year, told the former's handlers all they needed to know about Callum's maturation?
Lastly, let's not forget Canelo, like Smith against Ryder, would be the strong A-side versus Callum. Alvarez would be awarded rounds that were anywhere near close.
Smith is not a celebrity but he is the undefeated lineal super middleweight champion. And given he's only 29, he has time to mature and improve.
Maybe rejecting the offer was the right move.