Alvarez stops Smith to capture WBO title

By John J. Raspanti

Canelo Alvarez captured the WBO super middleweight championship by stopping game former titleholder Liam Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs) in round nine at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Saturday night.

Unlike some recent opponents, like Erislandy Lara and Floyd Mayweather, Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) didn’t have to chase Smith. The Liverpool native came right at him in the first few rounds. Alvarez responded by pounding Smith’s midsection--and pumping his jab. Smith, working behind a high guard, tried to jab but missed most of his blows.

Alvarez landed a number of hard right hands in round two. Smith connected with a left that produced a cut over Alvarez’s left eye. Alvarez, looking extra sharp, connected with a two-punch combo in round three. Smith fired back with a left hook. Alvarez unleashed a number of hard blows that had Smith backing up. Smith landed a huge uppercut at the bell.
Alvarez had easily won the first four rounds. Smith was proving himself to be a tough, but limited opponent. Alvarez went right back to work in round five. He unloaded a five-punch combination. Smith popped Alvarez with a left-right. Alvarez banged home more shots to the body of Smith. The Liverpool native nailed Alvarez with a hard right at the bell.
Smith connected with a lead right hand in round six. Alvarez absorbed the blow, and went back to showcasing his uppercut. Alvarez landed another wicked body shot.
In round seven, Alvarez worked off his jab. He went back to the head and body. A big right hand put Smith down for the first time in his career. Smith, with blood dripping form his eye, backed away. Alvarez went for the gusto, but missed a right and landed a big left hook. Smith fought back in the final seconds of the round.
Alvarez pounded Smith with more hard blows to the head in round eight. The courageous Smith somehow took the blows without toppling over. Seconds later he was fighting back. Alvarez floored Smith with a another hellacious shot to the breadbasket. Smith beat the count and staggered back to his corner.
Smith surprised Alvarez by coming out with more energy in round nine. Alvarez went right back to the midsection. Smith was hurting, but wouldn’t quit. Finally, with 32 seconds to go in the Round, Alvarez landed a destructive left hook to the liver. The blow sent Smith crumbling to the canvas. The referee took one look at the stricken fighter and waved off the contest.
The end came at 2:28 seconds in round nine.
“I told you I was going to give you a great fight and hear it is," said Alvarez in the ring. "In the second round I hurt my hand. I had to use my left more often. I did my job.”
"I have no excuses," said the crestfallen Smith. "I couldn’t really land anything real solid."

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