Connect with us

Sports

Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith: Canelo shows lofty ambitions in return

Published

on

Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith: Canelo shows lofty ambitions in return

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez faces a tall order when he fights for the first time in 13 months on Saturday, taking on the undefeated Callum Smith in a pre-Christmas treat for boxing fans.

No longer with Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo is back campaigning at super middleweight in what is an intriguing bout between two world champions at the limit.

CANELO-SMITH: Date, time, PPV info, odds

The Mexican superstar was last seen in the ring against Sergey Kovalev at light heavyweight, stopping his Russian opponent with a stunning knockout in the 11th round in November 2019.

Now Alvarez drops back down to face a fighter regarded by The Ring magazine as the best at 168 pounds. So, has he bitten off more than he can possibly chew this time around?

The head-to-head pictures taken ahead of the bout show the size of the problem: Smith towers over his opponent, giving him a huge advantage for the main event at the Alamodome in San Antonio and live on DAZN.

Canelo has fought bigger guys before, of course. In his previous outing at super middleweight, back in December 2018, he demolished another British boxer, Rocky Fielding, inside three rounds.

Still, Smith produced the same outcome in less than three minutes when he fought Fielding in a domestic title fight earlier in his career, one of 27 straight victories for the youngest of four boxing brothers from Liverpool.

MORE: Canelo embraces ‘risk’ of fighting Smith

He is not the first in the family to take on this particular challenge, either. Liam Smith failed in his bid to beat Alvarez in September 2016, though “Beefy” could not lean on the same physical advantages his “little” sibling will have this weekend.

Callum now gets his turn, the WBA (Super) champion finally securing a huge fight more than two years since being crowned the winner of the World Boxing Super Series thanks to a superb stoppage of George Groves. To dangle a further carrot, the WBC has confirmed its vacant belt will also be on the line.

If he can make his height and reach advantage count, the 30-year-old Smith could produce an upset. However, Canelo does not take on such tasks without having a plan for success, which is why the contest should make for such a fascinating watch at the end of what has been a frustrating year for the sport.

Recent history

Canelo became a four-weight world champion by beating Kovalev, furthering his legacy in the process. What appeared set to be a close result on the judges’ scorecards ended up as a spectacular stoppage.

That was the second of two outings in 2019, as earlier in the year he had record a unanimous, but still close, points triumph over Daniel Jacobs in a unification fight at middleweight.

As for Smith, he also fought twice last year. In the first, he emphatically stopped the experienced Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in June.

However, his most recent appearance, against John Ryder, was much, much closer. The final scorecards (117-111, then 116-112 twice) were criticized, considering the challenger had done such a good job of getting in close to bother Smith, who was cut. Canelo and his team will no doubt have taken note while doing due diligence on their next foe.

Tale of the tape

SAUL ALVAREZ

Age: 30
Height: 5-8
Weight: 168 pounds
Reach: 70.5 inches
Professional record: 53-1-2 (36 KOs)
Major career titles: WBA, WBC & WBO light middleweight, IBF, WBA & WBC (Franchise) middleweight, WBA super middleweight, WBO light heavyweight

CALLUM SMITH

Age: 30
Height: 6-3
Weight: 168 pounds
Reach: 78 inches
Professional record: 27-0 (19 KOs)
Major career titles: WBA, WBC (Diamond) super middleweight

The undercard

Christian Alan Gomez Duran meets Angel Hernandez in an eight-round contest at welterweight, though the latter’s 17-15-2 record suggests it is less of a fight and more a foregone conclusion.

Middleweight Austin Williams will aim to maintain his perfect record when he makes his seventh outing as a pro against Isiah Jones, while undefeated featherweight Raymond Ford takes on Juan Antonio Lopez over six rounds.

Meanwhile, someone will have to deal with a first loss after the clash between unbeaten duo Alexis Eduardo Molina and Robert Greenwood at featherweight, plus there is a pro debut for Marc Castro.

What they had to say

Alvarez on the task he faces: “I’m fighting the No. 1 at 168 pounds so these are challenges for me and I continue to bring challenges forward and I like the risk of it. I like challenges to continue making history.”

Smith, who is out to upset the odds: “I understand I’m the underdog, you look at social media, a lot of people don’t really give me a chance in this fight but I’ve been here before, I was the underdog in my world title fight. If anything, it gives me a little bit more motivation, a little bit of a point to prove to prove my worth.”

Joe Gallagher, Smith’s trainer: “This has all the makings of a great rivalry, one that could become a trilogy between the two fighters.”

Chris Eubank Jr, to Sky Sports: “Canelo is a better, more advanced version of Ryder. Smith will have a lot of trouble in this fight. I don’t see him being effective.”

Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, on the presence of a reduced-capacity crowd at the venue: “Mexicans are very loud and enthusiastic, so it will sound like there are 100,000 fans in there.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Auburn’s Sharife Cooper continues incredible college start with first-half double-double vs. South Carolina

Published

on

Auburn's Sharife Cooper continues incredible college start with first-half double-double vs. South Carolina

He has only played in five games this season, but Auburn guard Sharife Cooper is making a strong case as the top freshman in college basketball for the 2020-21 season.

Cooper, a five-star recruit in the class of 2020 and its No. 24 overall player, missed the Tigers’ first 12 games — and 78 practices — as the NCAA investigated his eligibility. He was declared eligible on Jan. 9, the same day Auburn played rival Alabama. Cooper suited up for the first time this season and, despite playing in a losing effort, immediately showed why he was a consensus top-25 player among recruiting boards.

Cooper shot 8 of 19 from the field (42.1 percent) for 26 points, adding nine assists, four rebounds and three steals in the loss. And he hasn’t slowed down since.

MORE: March Madness schedule could create greatest day (or days) in NCAA Tournament history

For the season, Cooper has averaged 22.5 points, 8.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He has scored in the double digits in all five contests, including three games in which he scored at least 25 points. He also has two double-doubles, against Georgia and South Carolina. Auburn is 3-2 since Cooper began playing.

Cooper’s latest performance came in Saturday’s 109-86 win against the Gamecocks, against whom he shot 4 of 10 from the field (2 of 3 from 3-point range), earning 16 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. He had earned his double-double at halftime, dropping 10 points and 11 assists.

Auburn has nothing to play for in the way of postseason tournaments; the team announced a self-imposed postseason ban on Nov. 22 as part of bribery charges brought against former basketball assistant Chuck Person. Were it eligible, however, it’s possible Cooper could help lead the team (9-7, 3-5 SEC) back into NCAA Tournament contention.

Even so, the Tigers are still a team worth watching — if for no other reason than Cooper’s incredible play.

Continue Reading

Sports

What channel is Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 on tonight? How to watch, buy UFC 257 on pay-per-view

Published

on

What channel is Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 on tonight? How to watch, buy UFC 257 on pay-per-view

Conor McGregor is coming out of retirement (again) to face off against Dustin Poirier (again) at UFC 257.

McGregor (22-4) first met Poirier (26-6-1) in the Octagon in 2014, securing a first-round TKO to improve his record to 16-2 at the time. That said, this will be McGregor’s first fight in over a year after securing a TKO victory over Donald Cerrone on Jan. 18, 2020. Prior to that, his last UFC match came two years earlier: a defeat via submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. Will that relative time off have any effect on the fight?

Poirier has been slightly more active recently, going 2-1 in his last three fights in 2019 and ’20. Curiously, his only loss — and second-to-last fight — was also a defeat to Nurmagomedov, also via submission.

MORE: Save over 30% when you buy UFC 257 and an ESPN+ Annual Plan for only $89.98

Speaking of which: There’s a slim chance Nurmagomedov could come out of retirement if he sees “something spectacular” out of McGregor or Poirier in their rematch. Something to consider as the fighters face off for the second time in the Octagon.

In all, 11 fights will take place before McGregor and Poirier face off in their rematch. With that, here’s everything you need to know to watch McGregor vs. Poirier 2, as well as the rest of the UFC 257 card:

What channel is UFC 257 on tonight?

UFC 257 will be split into early prelims, prelims and the main card. All three stages of the fight can be seen on ESPN+ and, in the case of the preliminaries, ESPN.

  • UFC 257 early prelims TV channel: ESPN+
  • UFC 257 prelims TV channel: ESPN, ESPN+
  • UFC 257 main card channel: ESPN+

In Canada, the early prelims are on UFC Fight Pass, the prelims are on TSN and RDS, and the main card PPV can be ordered via major cable providers and UFC PPV on UFC Fight Pass.

What time does Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 start?

Each stage of the McGregor-Poirier fight card has multiple fights, so it’s uncertain when exactly the two fighters will begin their ring walks. The early preliminaries, which start at 7 p.m. ET, have two fights; the prelims, which start at 8 p.m. ET, have four; the main card, which starts at 10 p.m. ET, has five (not including McGregor vs. Poirier). With that in mind, it’s likely the two won’t begin their rematch till midnight or later.

Here are the start times for the early prelims, preliminaries and main card at UFC 257:

  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 23
  • Early prelims: 7 p.m. ET
  • Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
  • Main card: 10 p.m. ET
  • Live stream: ESPN+

How much does UFC 257 cost on PPV?

The main card is available to stream on ESPN+ for the pay-per-view cost of $69.99 for current subscribers. ESPN is also offering a bundle of $89.98 for new subscribers, which includes the fight and a year’s subscription to the streaming service — a savings offer of 30 percent.

Earlier fights are available for free on ESPN+ though, in the case of the early prelims, fans will need access to UFC Fight Pass. The preliminaries will also be available on ESPN.

UFC 257 fight card

Main card

  • Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier (lightweight)
  • Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler (lightweight)
  • Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood (women’s flyweight)
  • Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar (lightweight)
  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas (women’s strawweight)
  • Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov (middleweight)

Prelims

  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Arman Tsarukyan (lightweight)
  • Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (middleweight)
  • Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann (women’s bantamweight)
  • Khalil Rountree Jr vs. Marcin Prachnio (light heavyweight)

Early prelims

  • Movsar Evloev vs. Nik Lentz (catchweight)
  • Amir Albazi vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (flyweight)

Continue Reading

Sports

What time is Conor McGregor’s fight today? UFC 257 schedule, PPV card start time vs. Dustin Poirier

Published

on

What time is Conor McGregor's fight today? UFC 257 schedule, PPV card start time vs. Dustin Poirier

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will face off for only the second time in their storied careers at UFC 257 on Saturday.

McGregor (22-4) is favored in the rematch against Poirier following his first-round TKO victory in their 2014 bout. That said, the No. 4-ranked fighter in the UFC lightweight division hasn’t fought in over a year, and only once since 2018. Poirier, the division’s top challenger, has had a little more action in the Octagon, fighting three times in the last two years.

Here’s everything you need to watch the entire McGregor vs. Poirier 2 card, including the start time and price for the PPV card on ESPN+.

MORE: Save over 30% when you buy UFC 257 and an ESPN+ Annual Plan for only $89.98

What time does UFC 254 main card start?

  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 23
  • Early prelims: 7 p.m. ET
  • Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
  • Main card: 10 p.m. ET
  • Live stream: ESPN+

The main card of UFC 257 is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET, following the early prelims (7 p.m. ET) and preliminaries (8 p.m. ET).

How to watch UFC 257: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

Fans will need ESPN+ to watch the entire UFC 257 card, from the early prelims to preliminaries to the main card. The early prelims are also available on UFC Fight Pass; the preliminaries are available on ESPN; the main card is pay-per-view.

In Canada, early prelims are on UFC Fight Pass, prelims continue on TSN and RDS, and the PPV main card is available to purchase via major cable providers and UFC Fight Pass.

How much does UFC 257 cost? PPV price for McGregor vs. Poirier

The UFC 257 main card is only available via pay-per-view on ESPN+ (which requires a subscription). The PPV price is $69.99 for current subscribers. New subscribers, however, can pay a bundle price of $89.98 for both the UFC 257 main card and a year-long ESPN+ subscription — saving over 30 percent.

Click here to learn about the different pricing and bundling options with the ESPN+ platform.

Where is UFC 257?

UFC 257 will take place at Fight Island at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, though fans will not attend due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It will be both fighters’ first time fighting at the venue. Fight Island has hosted 10 previous UFC events prior to Saturday’s rematch between McGregor and Poirier, including UFC 251, 253 and 254.

Conor McGregor record

  • Name: Conor McGregor
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Born: July 14, 1988
  • Height: 5-9
  • Reach: 74 inches
  • Total fights: 26
  • Record: 22-4

Dustin Poirier record

  • Name: Dustin Poirier
  • Nationality: American
  • Born: Jan. 19, 1989
  • Height: 5-9
  • Reach: 72 inches
  • Total fights: 33
  • Record: 26-6-1

UFC 257 fight card

Main card

  • Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier (lightweight)
  • Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler (lightweight)
  • Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood (women’s flyweight)
  • Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar (lightweight)
  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas (women’s strawweight)
  • Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov (middleweight)

Prelims

  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Arman Tsarukyan (lightweight)
  • Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (middleweight)
  • Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann (women’s bantamweight)
  • Khalil Rountree Jr vs. Marcin Prachnio (light heavyweight)

Early prelims

  • Movsar Evloev vs. Nik Lentz (catchweight)
  • Amir Albazi vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (flyweight)

Continue Reading

Trending