From San Antonio, the ‘Wild West,’ in his own words trainer Joe Gallagher looks forward to Callum Smith’s clash with Canelo Alvarez for the WBC and WBA super-middleweight world titles
WHEN we arrived in America they said, what’s your purpose? And I just turned round and said, “He’s fighting Canelo.” And you pray you get someone on the desk who’s a boxing fan and we did. So it just made getting through that bit easier.
The mood’s very good. We came over a few days ahead of fight week, we’ve had a few training sessions. Everyone’s sleep’s bang on now. We’re looking forward to it.
We went over and looked at the arena. It’s amazing. At capacity it holds 65,000. Looked at the changing rooms, the ring walk, got a feel for it, visualised. It’s just mentally preparing everything for fight night. There’s nothing that’s going to be a surprise.
No one wants to have coronavirus, no one wants to be responsible for having it and making this fight not happen. That’s huge pressure. I could feel the immense pressure on making sure of keeping distance. When the national lockdown ended, I locked down the gym then. No one was allowed in. That’s an added pressure that you’ve never had before.
The training camp we’ve had has been short and sweet. Four-and-a-half weeks’ notice, five weeks’ notice, so full credit to Callum Smith especially in an age where you see everyone trying to make the big fights is saying we’ll wait till next year, wait till there’s a crowd, wait for this. Callum Smith has gone, no, if that’s it then, we’re doing it now.
I think we’re going to see the best Canelo we’ve seen for a very long time. He’s hugely motivated, he wants to make a statement. He’s free from all those legal proceedings, he’s free from Golden Boy and he wants to make a statement. So we’re going to see the best Canelo. We’re going to see the head movement, we’re going to see the punching, we’re going to see a vicious Canelo. Because he knows they’re in a huge fight.
Callum has always wanted the Canelo fight and we’re going to see a very good Callum as well. His training’s gone well. We got the best sparring we could possibly get under the circumstances. I feel if Callum does what I know he can do, he wins.
What we’ve got to be is not intimidated and not in awe. Callum’s got to look across and go, ‘No, there’s no way you’re beating me.’ Callum’s in his prime, he’s 30, not many miles on the clock. Hits hard with either hand, good inside fighter, good long range fighter, he can knock you out with a left hook, right hook, right hand, right uppercut, hits very hard to the body with both hands. Canelo knows how much of a serious threat Callum is to beating him and that’s the hugest compliment you can give.
Canelo loves big fighters, it’s bread and butter for him. There’s a bigger target. He throws them big left hooks. He’ll land either on the shoulder, or bicep, body, kidneys, chin. But Callum’s a different breed. We’ve got a gameplan and as long as Callum applies himself and he has to understand whatever that referee tells you in the changing room, it’s a load of b*****ks. It’s a dog eat dog fight. Once the show’s on, once the fight’s on, it’s on. In Texas you have to fight. Everything goes. We’ve been here with Liam [Callum’s brother when he fought Canelo], stacked hands, electrolytes in the corner, all that stuff. It’s a free for all. It’s the Wild West. It’s a fight and you’ve got to get on with it. Callum can’t be complaining or looking for any help from the referee. If he gets hit with a low shot, do a Ricky Hatton, just come straight back and hit him with a low blow. He’s got to be a dog in this fight.
You’ve been involved in big fights before, well you think you have, but there’s no big fight until you’ve been involved in a Mayweather or Canelo big fight. It’s just a different thing. When they walk in, they do as they please. Everything has to be thrashed out beforehand because you won’t get nothing changed on fight week. You’ll see it in full flow here this week.