Sunday, June 16, 2024  |


Callum Smith excited about possible Canelo fight, but must handle Hassan N’Dam first

Fighters Network

Callum Smith hasn’t been in action since September, when he defeated George Groves by seventh-round knockout to win the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).

So, imagine how the WBA “Super” super middleweight champion’s ears perked up when he heard Saul “Canelo” Alvarez mention him earlier this month as a fighter he’d like to face.

“I think every fighter from light middleweight to light heavyweight would like that fight [with Canelo],” Smith told Sporting News. “The fact he mentioned me out of all those fights obviously shows that I am at that level with the likes of them names.

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“I think he’s a special fighter, I’m a big Canelo fan, but I think he’s a special fighter at middleweight and I think a lot of his advantages he has at that level, he’ll lose when he steps up to super middleweight,” Smith continued. “He’s still the same fighter and very skilful, but is he as effective at super middleweight? I don’t believe he is against a good, solid super middleweight like myself.

“It would be an interesting fight, it’s one that excites me,” he added. “I just got to keep on doing what I’m doing, keep winning and when he does steps up to super middleweight, then the only fight that makes sense for him is against me.”

To not squander that possible opportunity against Canelo, the undefeated Smtih (25-0, 18 KOs) will need to defend his WBA “Super,” WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam on Saturday night, as part of the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. main card at Madison Square Garden, live on DAZN.

The 35-year-old N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) won the WBA middleweight title in 2016 against Ryota Murata and defeated Britain’s Martin Murray in December for the WBC Silver middleweight title. But Smith knows all about N’Dam, as they sparred together when Smith was training for the WBSS final against Groves.

“Hassan N’Dam is a very good fighter, he’s very experienced and been around a long time,” Smith said. “He’s got good footwork, very good movement. He’s a former two-time world champion down at middleweight and always mixes it with the best and only the very best have beaten him.

“I believe I am the very best at my weight division, so if that’s true then I should beat him also and I believe I should look good in doing it,” Smith continued. “I’ve been out of the ring for a while, so I need to come in and put in a good performance and just remind people I am still here, I am the best in the world and that I am ready for the bigger names in the division.

“There’s a lot of big fights potentially out there for me, but none of them are possible if I slip up against N’Dam,” he added, “so I’m fully focused on him and putting in a big performance.”

If Smith wins convincingly Saturday night, perhaps facing Canelo becomes more of a reality. “Mundo” watched Alvarez move up to 168 pounds to destroy Rocky Fielding by third-round TKO in December, but wasn’t exactly impressed.

“I think he was testing the waters — he didn’t step up and fight one of the best in the division,” Smith said. “In my opinion he stepped up and fought one of the lower level guys. Obviously, it may be size-wise a good judge, but there’s giving away size and giving away size with a lot more ability as well, which I feel would be the case against myself or against David Benavidez or Gilberto Ramirez or those type of fighters.

“If he does want to move back up, he’ll have to fight one of the champions and hopefully that’s me,” he added. “It’s a fight I’d love. It does excite me, it does make me want to get out of bed in the morning and go training. They’re the fights I want.”

Defeating N’Dam will bring him one step closer.

Feature by Brian Cullen