After months of conflict between Canelo Alvarez, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally heading back to the ring. Alvarez will meet Callum Smith to unify WBA super middleweight titles in Texas in December, sources close to the negotiations revealed to ESPN. This will be Alvarez's first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
The target dates for the fight are Dec. 18, 19 or 20, sources said.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces "Mundo" Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It is very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy, could carry the fight in the U.S.
The fight -- targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas -- will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith's trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez's trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.
Both fighters are 30 years old, but Smith is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn't fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.
Smith is the WBA "super" super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA "regular" belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.
Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN. Hearn's Matchroom also offers other interesting opponents for Alvarez's future in WBO super middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders and IBF middleweight world titlist Gennadiy Golovkin. There's also IBF super middleweight titleholder Caleb Plant, who is part of the Premier Boxing Champions group. Alvarez defeated Smith's older brother, Liam Smith, by KO at AT&T Stadium in 2016. Alvarez dropped Liam Smith in the seventh and eighth rounds, before finishing the fight with a body shot in the ninth.
The undercard will be announced in the coming days, but it's likely Julio Cesar Martinez will defend his WBC flyweight title on the card and that the Luke Campbell-Ryan Garcia lightweight eliminator fight, which was postponed on Tuesday when Campbell tested positive for COVID-19, could be rescheduled for that day.