On Monday, sweet science superstar Canelo Alvarez said his sole focus was discarding his next opponent rather than his critics, who have accused one of the world’s most popular boxing figures of talking out of both sides of his mouth.
As coincidences go, it was quite a mark of happenstance considering it occurred on the same day the quadrennial presidential election season started to climb to temperatures even the devil fears.
But whatever the case, after weeks of speculation, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined boxing promoter Oscar De La Hoya in announcing that AT&T Stadium had landed Alvarez’s next fight, a challenge of WBA junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith on Sept. 17.
He believes in himself. He knows the ability he has. I know the ability he has.
Middlweight boxing champion Canelo Alvarez, on his Sept. 17 bout with Liam Smith
It’s not the fight the boxing world wanted to see. Fight observers had hoped Alvarez would take up the challenge posed by Gennady Golovkin for the WBC middleweight belt.
But with Alvarez’s name on the marquee this fight will more than do. The son of Guadalajara is 47-1 with 33 knockouts, his only blemish a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“He looked very confident,” Alvarez said of the 27-year-old Smith, a Brit who is 23-0 with one draw. “He believes in himself. He knows the ability he has. I know the ability he has.
“I know what he brings to the table. We’re going to prepare ourselves for that fight.”
Tickets range from $40 to $750, though the steepest prices aren’t expected to deter sales, which begin at noon Thursday. The date of the fight, the Saturday after Mexico’s Independence Day, is no coincidence.
Mexico’s Independence Day holiday weekend will be a treat for her sports fans.
“I know how much boxing means to the fans of Mexico. To have this happen on Mexico Independence Day is just a great thrill for us,” Jones said. “While we are going to be even-handed as we can be with [Smith’s delegation], we also know what a great hero Canelo is to Mexican sports fans. That is the incentive for me to be standing here today.”
The bout marks boxing’s return to AT&T Stadium, which twice hosted fights involving Manny Pacquiao in 2010. Those drew crowds of more than 50,000 and 41,000.
Said Alvarez of potentially drawing more than 80,000: “I hope so. All I know is there will be a lot of Mexican fans here to support me.”
Boxing insiders consider Smith somewhat over his head and an underdog to Alvarez, though the Brit has won his last eight fights by stoppage.
Tickets for Alvarez vs. Smith will go on sale at noon Thursday through Ticketmaster, by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Walk-up purchases can be made 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the AT&T Stadium box office. Prices range from $750 to $40, not including applicable service charges. Total ticket limit is eight per person.