Callum Smith believes the onus is on his shoulders to establish his supremacy at super-middleweight and leave Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez with little option but to agree to a high-profile showdown.
Smith, as the WBA ‘Super’ champion and holder of the prestigious Ring Magazine belt, is regarded by many as the number one fighter in the 168lbs division and a bout against Alvarez would generate huge levels of interest.
Before coronavirus brought major sporting events to a standstill, Smith was on the shortlist to face Alvarez but the Mexican superstar was instead on the verge of signing a deal to fight WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.
There is no bitterness from Smith, who is instead focused on his own career path and is eyeing contests against fellow Briton Saunders as well as WBC champion David Benavidez and IBF belt holder Caleb Plant.
If he can dethrone any of the trio, Smith knows he would edge closer to facing Alvarez, who has held world titles in four weight classes between light-middleweight and light-heavyweight.
Smith, who has won all 27 of his professional contests, told the PA news agency: “If I keep winning and do unify the division then the demand for the fight would be a lot bigger.
“I wouldn’t say it would be forced but it may be the only fight possible for each other if I clean out the super-middleweight division and if he’s in that division then I’m the only fight for him.
“Whereas at the minute, there are four champions he can pick from, there are other fighters at different weights he can pick from.
“I’ve just got to make it my position to get some of the other belts so that the only fight for him at super-middle that makes sense is me.
“But If the fight comes, it comes. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t. It’s a great fight and one I would love but I’m not going to sit round and stall my own career waiting for it when it could never, ever happen.
“I’m just going to go after the other champions and just make my own career a better career.
“There are four world champions but I believe I’m the number one and I’d like to think over the next year or two, we can clear that up and hopefully just get the one champion.”
While Smith seems satisfied with what he has already achieved in his career, it is that sense of unfinished business which is currently stopping him from moving up to light-heavyweight.
Smith’s height of 6ft 3in means he is taller than all of the leading contenders at 175lbs but he said: “It is a jump that I will do but when and how, I’m not too sure.
“I believe I’m big enough and good enough to go up and become a world champion at 175. But there’s big fights and big opportunities for me still at 168 so I’d like to do as much as I can before making the jump up.
“If none of the big fights can be made at 168 then I’ll make the jump up a little bit earlier than I would like.”
The Liverpudlian earlier this week returned to his training base in Bolton, albeit with a number of restrictions including no sparring as part of the latest guidance from the Government and the British Boxing Board of Control.
Just being able to use the punching bag is a sign of things slowly returning to normal for Smith, who admitted he would reluctantly fight behind closed doors if necessary.
He added: “If it’s a case of waiting a couple of more months to fight with a crowd then of course I’d choose that.
“But if there’s not going to be crowds for another 12 months then you’ve just got to bite the bullet and get on with it. I can’t really afford to be taking 12 months out at this stage of my career.”