Callum Smith insists he has the size and ability to make Canelo Alvarez think again about fighting above the middleweight division.
The 6-foot-3 English boxer makes a third defense of the WBA "super" middleweight world title against the 5-foot-8 Alvarez, of Mexico, at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs), 30, captured a world title in a fourth weight class in his last fight when he stepped up to light heavyweight to knock out Sergey Kovalev in Round 11 in November 2019.
But Smith, (27-0, 19 KOs), 30, ESPN's No. 1 at 168 pounds, is not convinced Alvarez is physically equipped to beat the best in divisions above middleweight.
"In my opinion, no, he's not a super middleweight," Smith told ESPN. "Yes, he's been there before, fought Kovalev, but if you look at the champions at super middleweight, they are all big lads. There's only so much size your ability can make up for. We saw it with [Vasiliy] Lomachenko [against Teofimo Lopez]. I believe that will be the case for Canelo against me, I will be too big for him. But I'm not just a big lump, I've got skills and ability, too; I've shown I belong at a world level. If I can use the size and ability, I've got the beating of Canelo at 168 pounds."
Smith, whose elder brother Liam lost to Alvarez by ninth-round stoppage in 2016, insists Alvarez's win over Kovalev does not prove Alvarez can operate beyond middleweight.
"There were parts of the fight where he wasn't special and Kovalev was a bit lazy, which helped Canelo, and maybe that was his plan to get him late on," Smith said. "Kovalev is a very good fighter, a tough fighter, but Canelo did what Canelo does and deserves respect for that win. But he didn't dominate every round against Kovalev, and there are positives to take from it for me, and it shows you have to respect his power. Stylistically, I'm different, and I believe I can do what it takes to beat Alvarez if I perform to the best of my ability."
Smith also knows the size is an advantage if used the right way. Alvarez won the WBA "regular" super middleweight title two years ago by defeating Rocky Fielding, who is 6-foot-1, and dominated every second of the three rounds the fight lasted.
"You have to utilize what you are good at, and it's no good being the taller boxer if you are not going to use it to your advantage," Smith said. "I'm sure he can cut the ring down, and I will have to work on that. But I believe I have reached this level because of my skills and ability... I can beat him. I think he's a better 160 fighter than he is at 168, and a good big 'un beats a small little 'un."
Preparation for this fight has been a bit different as Smith didn't know Alvarez would be his opponent until last month. He admits it caught him by surprise after Alvarez's split from streaming service DAZN and promoter Golden Boy in early November.
"I just wanted to finish this year with a fight, I didn't think it would be Canelo," Smith said. "But then things changed. The Canelo fight had been mentioned a couple times before, so I just didn't expect to get it until it was announced. I've been preparing regardless of Canelo, working hard in the gym throughout this year."
Smith said he worked hard to win the title and wanted to make sure he was ready to face a fighter with Alvarez's abilities. So, he stayed ready.
"He's a very good fighter: He can box on the back foot, he's got good head movement, he's got good lateral movement, he's smart, he's strong and I will be prepared for the hardest fight of my career, but I believe I've got the beating of him," said Smith. "If I deliver the best of my ability, I beat him."