Undefeated 168-pound boxing champion Callum Smith is set to take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
But in a recent chat, the 30-year-old Liverpoolian also wasn’t afraid to tackle one of the toughest topics making the rounds in boxing right now: all these strange exhibition bouts.
In short, Smith isn’t a huge fan of the movement, but the fighter did admit that UFC superstar Conor McGregor probably had the best case for participating in them.
“I think in terms of, out of them all, I think Conor McGregor has the most right to it. He is a fighter, and he is good with his hands,” Smith said.
But Smith didn’t feel the same way about YouTubers Logan Paul, Jake Paul and others.
Additionally, the fighter revealed he believes there were way too many people getting “a little bit too carried away” with the idea that former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson could actually beat one of today’s titleholders.
You can watch Smith vs. McGregor, Tyson, and all these YouTubers suddenly in the boxing world in the short video clip below.
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Smith on Mayweather vs. Paul, Tyson vs. Jones, and McGregor vs. Pacquiao
“Yeah, it’s weird,” Smith said about retired boxing champ Floyd Mayweather announcing his boxing exhibition bout against YouTuber Logan Paul.
But Smith didn’t just think that one was strange on its own. The boxing champ also wasn’t so sure what to think about the recent Tyson vs. Jones exhibition boxing bout.
“Even like the Tyson-Jones thing, I was a massive Tyson fan and a huge Jones fan, if they’re doing it for charity, then fair enough,” Smith said. “But it’s when…you see talk of Tyson–I think it was George Foreman who said Tyson could actually win a version of the world title–I think people are getting a little bit too carried away.”
Smith believes older fighters such as Tyson and Jones had their time in the sport, and that it might be dangerous for them to keep fighting.
“It’s good to see him living a good lifestyle and back training again…but actually competing, I think they’ve had their time and I think it’s only going to be dangerous fighting at 54 years of age,” Smith said.
And what about Conor McGregor hoping to face boxing legend and 147-pound titleholder Manny Pacquiao next?
“I think in terms of out of them all I think Conor McGregor has the most right to it. He is a fighter, and he is good with his hands,” Smith said.
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Smith Talks YouTubers vs. Legit Professionals
But what about YouTubers Logan Paul, Jake Paul, and others wanting to get in on the action, too?
“It’s just, I think when it’s like these YouTubers are getting paid probably more money than most world champions are getting paid, that’s when the credibility is lost,” Smith said.
Smith isn’t trying to hate on anybody. The boxing champ just can’t quite get behind celebrity boxers taking shine away from legit professionals.
“Like I said, I think if someone wants to get in the ring to fight for charity, fair play. I’ll give them a round of applause because it takes a man to get in the ring,” Smith said.
“To actually turn professional and do it, it kind of takes away from, there are fighters that have been doing it for their whole life who are very good fighters who don’t get the same type of opportunities…” Smith said.
It’s true, while Smith and Alvarez are sure to be paid handsomely for their work this weekend in the main event on DAZN, there are plenty of pro boxers on the undercard and other places who have given way more of their lives to the sport without getting near the same kind of reward as the YouTube boxers.
“So you have to fear for them type of fighters,” Smith added.
But Smith stopped short of saying the likes of Logan Paul and Jake Paul shouldn’t be in the sport at all. He’ll leave that decision to those guys.
“But I’m just a boxer,” Smith said. “I have to do my own thing. If they want to do it and make money, who am I to stop them?”
Smith Feels ‘Sad and Frustrated’ by YouTubers
Smith’s biggest point about the YouTubers is one probably way more valid than either of the Paul brothers are likely to admit right now.
“There are a lot of fighters who are 1-0 or 2-0 who would beat them easy. It’s sad to me, and it’s frustrating,” Smith said. “We’ve been doing this all our lives, we come through the amateurs, and for someone to just come through and fight another fellow YouTuber and be paid a lot of money, it’s frustrating.”
Still, the boxing champ reiterated it was only his personal opinion on the matter. He’s not out to stop anyone from making a buck in the sport.
“But, again, if they can make money off it, fair play to them,” Smith said.
Smith: ‘I Need To Prove I Can Compete at the Elite Level’
Canelo vs. Smith takes place live on Saturday night, December 19, in San Antonio, Texas.
It’s the biggest fight left on boxing’s calendar in 2020.
The main card begins at 8 p.m. ET, with Alvarez-Smith set to begin around 11 p.m. ET. All the fights will be streamed live via DAZN.
“It’s a chance for me to show the world how good I really am,” Smith said. “I proved I was a world-class fighter by becoming a world champion, now I need to prove I can compete at the elite level, the next level up from being just a world champion…this is definitely an opportunity for me to prove that.”
Smith currently holds The Ring magazine and WBA super middleweight titles.
Meanwhile, Alvarez is ranked the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing by The Ring.
The 30-year-old Mexican has already won legit world titles in three different weight classes (154, 160, and 175) as well as a secondary title in a fourth division (168).
Canelo vs. Smith is a massive fight.
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