Liam Smith expects Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to stop Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday and move on to fight Gennady Golovkin next.
Smith was knocked out by a body shot in the ninth round last September by Alvarez [48-1-1, 34 KOs], who faces his rival Mexican Chavez Jr. [50-2-1, 32 KOs] at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez meets Chavez at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds after dropping down to super-welterweight to take Smith’s WBO world title.
Briton Smith [25-1-1, 14 KOs] expects Canelo to continue his recent good form and claim his fourth stoppage win from his last five fights.
“I don’t think Chavez has got a chance, but I think it will be a good fight,” Smith told ESPN.
“It just depends what Chavez turns up. If it’s the same Chavez against Andy Lee [in 2012, by 7th round TKO] that turns up, it will be a tough fight for Canelo.
“But we haven’t seen that Chavez for a number of years and I think Canelo wins in round six in a very good, entertaining fight, along the lines of Canelo’s fight with James Kirkland [WKO 3 in 2015].
“What’s the best Chavez we’ve seen? It was a long time ago. But a lot of pride is a stake and a lot of needle. If Chavez can’t get up for an all-Mexican fight with Canelo, he can’t get up for any fight.
“What impressed me about Canelo was his speed and timing, not so much his power that made you think f— that, but his explosiveness.
“I fell short with two jabs early on against him and I saw him flip and hit me, I knew it was coming, and I thought I can’t keep getting hit like that. But it was hard to avoid.”
Alvarez says he will return to fighting at middleweight after Saturday and promoters are hopeful about a much-anticipated match-up with world middleweight No. 1 Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), speculated to happen on Sept. 16.
Smith prefers Triple G to the Mexican if the fight gets made this year.
“I think the fight with Golovkin will get made next for both fighters,” Smith told ESPN. “I’ve always said Triple G wins, but I think Canelo will be willing and he will look very good in that fight, but may be get stopped.”
Smith, from Liverpool, is hoping a rematch with Liam Williams can be made for July or September after the Welshman was retired by his corner with a bad cut in the ninth round a month ago.