Callum Smith has told us that facing Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will be the toughest fight of his career, but that when he’s at the top of his game he’s capable of beating anyone on the planet.

Smith will defend his WBA (Super) and The Ring super-middleweight titles against Canelo in San Antonio, Texas on 19th December, with his Mexican opponent believed by many to be the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

“It’s the toughest fight of my career, it’s the biggest profile fight,” Smith said. “He’s the first pound-for-pound fighter I’ve fought so you’ve got to say it’s my toughest fight to date, but I’m expecting that. I’m preparing for that.

“He’s the most skilful fighter I’ll have been in the ring with and I’m looking forward to that and seeing how good he is. I believe how good he is will bring out how good I am.”

Smith added: “He’s boxed so many different styles and has shown he can do a bit of everything. I’ve got to expect all different forms of Canelo Alvarez and I’ve got to make sure the best version of me steps through those ropes.

“And I’ve always felt the best version of me can beat anyone in the world. I walk into the ring believing I can beat anyone – and that includes Canelo.”

Smith has yet to taste defeat in his professional career, winning all 27 of his fights to date, and so he believes he has earned the right to face a fighter of the stature of Canelo.

“Seeing the reaction to the fight from everyone has got me buzzing – that’s what you want as a fighter, you want the biggest fight possible and to be involved in one,” Smith said. “To see the reaction of the fans was recognition for all the hard work I’ve done over the years.

“I do believe I deserve to be in this fight. I am number one in the world, I haven’t been picked out of a hat and given a random opportunity. I deserve to be in this fight. Now it’s time to show I’m not just a world champion but I can compete at the elite level.”

Meanwhile, Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn says Canelo is so good that he is the modern-day equivalent of boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard.

When asked how big a result a Smith win would be for British boxing, Hearn said: “Massive.

“One of the reasons I love this fight so much is because you get some great British fighters and they get to a point where they’re number one in the division, but can they be a pound-for-pound great? I think a lot of British fighters in the past have struggled – they’ve won a world title but they haven’t been able to beat a Marvin Hagler or a Donald Curry or a Sugar Ray Leonard, these kind of level guys.

“But Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is Sugar Ray Leonard, he’s the pound-for-pound number one of our generation. So to see a Brit go out and compete against him and to see a Brit beat him would be huge, and a lot of people give Callum a great chance.”

Hearn added: “Smith has the height, he has the reach, he has the power, but Canelo Alvarez is really good and he really fancies it. One thing I’ve noticed through dealing with Canelo and (manager) Eddy Reynoso is they’ll fight all comers, they fear no-one and they want all the champions. And they’re really confident – and that worries me a little bit.”

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