The United Kingdom is done with 2020 in a venue sense but for an end of year treat next Saturday the 19th of December in San Antonio, Texas the battle of all battles is the super middleweight action fight for the WBA title between Callum Smith and Saul Canelo Alvarez.
There are hopes, there are dreams… This is it. The biggest fight of Smith’s career. By some considerable margin.
He may have won the Ali Trophy, won riches beyond his dreams but THIS is the defining moment in his career. With John Ryder having won last weekend and Golovkin, on the same bill as Ryder, having returned so emphatically, this has so much, even at the end of such a traumatic year, riding on it.
I have always believed that Callum Smith was a superstar in the making. His fight with Ryder showed frailties that can be exploited but, in his corner, is a wily fox. Joe Gallagher will have an exceptional game plan. He shall have studied and learnt from what Alvarez does best and what his weaknesses are. I believe anyone who beats Alvarez, has to study everything about him and come in with the right plan. They also need exceptional power. Alvarez has taken Golovkin’s power and shrugged it off. Can Smith show he is tougher and better than Golovkin. In the early hours of Saturday, we shall find out. I think he can. I think Smith is THAT good. BUT. He needs to concentrate completely and fight like never before to show it.
On the same night in Kinshasa, in The Democratic Republic of Congo, the WBC cruiserweight title is on the line between Ilunga Junior Makuba and Olanrewaju Durodola. My knowledge of African boxers is almost as good as my conversational Swahili, but Makuba is the name we recognise form that night in Everton Football Ground. Makuba has regained his WBC title since losing it then to Tony Bellew and this is his fourth defence of it. On paper it looks pretty straightforward for him.
The following night, Sunday the 20th December in Cologne, there is action between super middleweight Christina Hammer and Sanna Turunen for the WBC and IBF female titles. Hammer has only lost to Clarissa Shields whilst Turunen counts a loss to Hannah Rankin on her record – looks like Hammer time once again…
Saturday 2nd January
The IBF title is on the line between Felix Alvarado and Deejay Kriel at light flyweight, Rene Alvarado at featherweight fights Roger Gutierrez for the WBA title and top of the bill is the WBA lightweight fight between Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia.