Canelo Alvarez will officially return to the 154-pound division when he faces WBO titlist Liam Smith September 17 on HBO pay-per-view.
Having faced criticism for dropping the WBC middleweight title over facing Gennady Golovkin this year, Canelo claims to have wanted a competitive fight worthy of Mexican Independence Day weekend.
“I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world title owner,” said Alvarez. “I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand on September 17.”
Nicknamed “Beefy” for his stocky 5’9 frame, the Liverpool-raised Smith is on a eight-fight KO streak that dates back to 2013. He picked up the vacant WBO title with a seventh round stoppage over John Thompson last October, and has made two successive defenses. On June 4, he stopped Predrag Radosevic in two rounds.
“This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that,” said Smith, who will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time. “I thank my team for getting me this opportunity: Frank Warren, BoxNation, Daniel and of course Golden Boy for providing it. I am confident of winning this fight and returning to the great city of Liverpool with my belt still around my waist.”
At press time, the venue and ticket information have not been finalized. The card will be distributed in the UK by Box Nation.