/Callum Smith could get some revenge for his brother, Liam, against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday
Callum Smith could get some revenge for his brother, Liam, against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday

Callum Smith could get some revenge for his brother, Liam, against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday

Despite Canelo Alvarez’s history of getting the benefit of the doubts on the scorecards in just about all of his biggest fights, WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith refuses to believe he needs a knockout to win on Saturday.

Smith (27-0, 19 KOs), the youngest of four brothers who went on to be credible pro fighters, will hold a seven-inch height advantage against Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) when the two face off inside the Alamodome in San Antonio (8 pm ET, DAZN, sign up now) in a fight that will also be for the vacant WBC title at 168 pounds.

Alvarez, the 30-year-old Mexican superstar who holds the secondary WBA title at super middleweight, previously received the nod in title bouts that ended in close decisions against Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Gennadiy Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. He also benefitted two controversially wide scorecards favoring him in both a majority decision loss to Floyd Mayweather and a draw against Golovkin in their first meeting that most felt GGG had won.

“Obviously, you read all the stories and it’s probably true,” Smith told “Morning Kombat” last week. “If I was watching someone else fight him, I would probably say he needs to go and knock him out. But when it’s you, you never really feel it’s going to happen to you. If it’s close and I feel I have done enough when the bell goes, I feel like I will get the decision. I can’t really change my game plan and become reckless to try and finish. I have to believe I can get the decision.”

Smith captured his world title in 2018 by knocking out George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. The 30-year old from Liverpool, England, then defended his belt twice with mixed results.

Following a stoppage win over faded former middleweight titleholder Hassan N’Dam, Smith received a controversial nod of his own when he edged John Ryder last November in a fight that made Smith look anything like a future Alvarez conqueror.

“It was just a below par performance for myself,” Smith said. “Obviously, as the champion, you have the pressure to deliver every fight, but we are human and have performances where we are not 100 percent. It is what it is but I think I showed I was a true champion by winning on a night where I wasn’t my best.”

Although Smith has been rumored to be in the Canelo sweepstakes for over a year, Alvarez’s recent emancipation from both DAZN and promoter Golden Boy made it feel as if the dream had died. But Smith stayed in the gym regardless and when the call came after Alvarez agreed to return to DAZN for a one-fight deal, Smith was ready.

“The big stage brings out big performances and I feel like I will deliver,” Smith said. “The world knows how good Canelo Alvarez is but I don’t think the world knows how good I am just yet.”

All three of Smith’s fighting older brothers — Paul, Stephen and Liam — have held or at least fought for a major world title as professionals. The experience of coming up as the runt of the group not only helped Callum Smith get to the point he is now as potentially the best of the family following years of sparring each other, it also made it feel as if everything that’s happening is normal.

Case in point, Smith was by his brother Liam’s side in 2016 when he lost his WBO junior middleweight title to Alvarez via body-shot knockout inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Every position I have been in, I feel I have been in here before because of my brothers,” Smith said. “Even now, fighting Canelo, I feel like I have been here before because of [Liam]. I have seen how big the occasion is and I always felt it benefitted me massively being the youngest of the four. I believe that’s why I am in the position I am in today.”

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Asked if he’s seeking revenge for his family name against Alvarez, Smith somewhat disagreed.

“Yes and no. It would be nice to get some revenge but this fight will be huge regardless,” Smith said. “It was tough to take at the time, it was [Liam’s] first loss. I think Liam knew he lost to a very good fighter. My brother had success on the night, but Canelo was huge for the weight at 154.”

Smith said he regularly envisions what it will feel like to score a victory as big the challenge he accepted to face Alvarez and echoed his earlier thoughts about the judges by saying he can only control the performance he puts forward and nothing else.

“Every win is special but this will be the biggest one of [my] career,” Smith said. “We are on the biggest stage now and it’s not about the belts as much as it’s about winning the biggest fights possible. This is a huge opportunity to get recognition for all the hard work over the years. I have put my body through hell in training camp to make sure the best version of me shows up and I believe the best version of me beats him.”