Canelo Alvarez confident ahead of first fight in 13 months

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez acknowledged Callum Smith poses a “different” and “hard” challenge but vowed his own skills and experience will be enough to defeat the Englishman.

Alvarez and Smith will do battle at the Alamodome in San Antonio and live on DAZN on Saturday night for the WBC super middleweight title.

ALVAREZ vs. SMITH: Fight date, time, PPV price, odds

The Mexican will drop back down to the 168-pound limit to take on WBA champion Smith, who boasts a 27-0 record.

Alvarez, the four-division world champion, and Smith needed no extra incentive to win, but they were informed last week the vacant WBC strap is now also there for the taking.

Both fighters have won WBC straps previously, the latter holding the super welterweight and middleweight straps and the former the Diamond belt at 168 pounds.

Alvarez has not fought this year; his most recent appearance in the ring came in November 2019 when he stopped Sergey Kovalev to become WBO light heavyweight champion. But he insists he is in the best condition of his career.

“I feel I am in the best time of my career,” he told Stats Perform News. “I feel strong. I am more mature and experienced. So, the truth is I feel better than ever.

“[Smith] is absolutely different to the other fighters I have faced. He is a tall guy and has a big range. He likes to get into the fight, punching the body, great counterattack, so it is going to be absolutely different and it will be hard to beat him.

“However, we are ready and I believe my experience and skills will give me the strength to win it.”

Asked what it would take to overcome Smith, Alvarez said: “Managing my position in the ring and knowing when to keep my distance.

“Don’t waste my punches and use them when I know they will be useful. So, my experience and skills are vital to win this fight. All the fights I did already have given me experience for this kind of fight.”

Around 12,000 supporters will be allowed into the vast Alamodome following an easing of coronavirus restrictions, and Alvarez hopes to put on a show for them.

“I believe 2020, with the pandemic, has been very tough for everyone,” he said. “We had to learn to manage it and get adapted to this time, but thankfully we will be closing up 2020 after 13 months with no fights.

“I feel very happy and motivated. This is a venue for 70,000 people and there will be 12,000 there in order to keep social distance and spread them around. Hopefully they can enjoy a big event.”

Mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim will be in line to face the winner of Alvarez-Smith within 90 days of their bout.

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