UK trainer Joe Gallagher has all but admitted that Liam Smith needs a knockout to retain his super-welterweight championship against Canelo Alvarez on September 17.
The pair collide at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas in a breakthrough fight for Smith that the Merseysider has been craving for some time.
A world title victory over John Thompson in October of last year has been followed up with successful defences against Jimmy Kelly and Pedrag Radosevic, although ‘Beefy’ has longed to share the spotlight with one of the big name fighters in the world.
That’s where Canelo comes in, with Gallagher disagreeing with the massive underdog tag pinned on Smith, whilst at the same time doubting the undefeated Scouser will be given a fair shake upon hearing the final bell.
“Mission Impossible – some people are calling it, but I don’t see it that way,” Gallagher exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Liam’s got a very good chance of beating Alvarez but I don’t think he’ll get it by the judges. We’ll have to go out there and see.
“I think he’ll go out there and give a good account of himself. We’ve already started working on the game plan and working with sparring partners for the fight, so we’re well up for it. It’s a huge opportunity.”
Asked his thoughts on hearing the fight was a possibility in the first place, Gallagher added: “Firstly his name was attached to Cotto, then Alvarez earlier this year. We were a bit disappointed that the Cotto fight didn’t happen and then Alvarez fought Amir Khan. Then it was rumoured again and just didn’t believe it until it as done. Liam is over the moon with it.
“It’s the big fight that he wanted. He’s going out there very much like Kell Brook is against Golovkin – as a big underdog – but Liam is very much an improved fighter and I don’t think he gets the credit that he should do.
“He’s been a good world champion and always shown progress to improve over the last 24 months. Liam’s one of the most improved fighters in Britain and I’d say he’s one of the top five world champions that the UK has right now,” Gallagher pointed out.
Smith and Canelo went face-to-face twice this week in a two-city press tour and will begin to knuckle down to the business of preparation for what is set to be a massive event on either side of the Atlantic.