Former Canelo Alvarez opponent Matthew Hatton knows first hand of the dangers facing compatriot Liam Smith ahead of his Texas clash on September 17.
Retired Hatton, 35, went the distance with a young Canelo in March 2011 losing a wide points decision for the vacant WBC super welterweight title at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Since then, Canelo has risen to become one of the current stars of the sport and aims to clinch a fourth world title against Smith when the pair collide at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Smith is a massive underdog despite being the undefeated champion and Hatton believes Canelo’s favouritism is fully justified as the Mexican has all the attributes to take the belt, but not without a few scares along the way.
“I’m really excited about the Canelo v Smith fight as I think the styles will gel superbly and it will be a very entertaining tear up,” Hatton exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Smith has developed into a superb inside fighter and his punch variety / selection on the inside is tremendous.”
On the possibility of Smith being overawed by the occasion, Hatton added: “I don’t think going into the lion’s den will phase Liam at all. He seems a stubborn kind of character to me who might even relish fighting Alvarez on away turf. But both are tremendous inside fighters and neither man will back down to the other.
“Alvarez is freakishly strong though so will be happy to fight on the inside and for me has the better skills on the outside. I’m really struggling for a way Smith wins the fight.
“Smith will obviously target the body, which no-one has been able to do with Alvarez. It’s a good tactic but putting it into practice will be very difficult against such a strong heavy handed fighter as Alvarez.
“I see a great contest with Liam having his moments but simply see him coming off second best to the more complete fighter.
“Liam’s stock will rise in the fight and he will secure big future fights both in the UK and US on the back of this. I hope he can do it this time but just don’t see it. He has a great team around him but I think they might have to step in during this to save him for another day.
“The future is bright for him, just unfortunately for me, he’s a little outgunned this time but I truly hope I’m wrong.”