A few notes from around the boxing world:
• Junior middleweight title holder Liam Smith, a big underdog in his defense against lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 17 (HBO PPV) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is nonetheless predicting a knockout.
"They'll know in September that they shouldn't be calling me a paper champion,” said Smith, referring to the many who have called the fight a mismatch. “I haven't fought out there (in the United States) just yet, but they'll know why (it's wrong to call me a paper champion) when I do. I’m going in there to stop Canelo. If I don’t stop him, it won’t be for the lack of trying."
England’s Smith, 27, will be making his third title defense when he meets the 26-year-old Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs). Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will be fighting outside of the United Kingdom for the first time and doing so in front of a pro-Alvarez crowd on Mexican Independence Day weekend.
“This is a fight I’ve been asking for [for] 12 months. I jumped at the chance,” Smith said. “It’s a chance for me to make a name for myself. I want to do it against the biggest name in boxing at the moment. Alvarez is the biggest name in boxing. I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against one of the best in the sport.”
• Middleweight prospect Caleb Plant (13-0, 10 KOs), 24, of Nashville, Tennessee, will fight his first scheduled 10-round bout when he faces Juan De Angel (18-4-1, 17 KOs), 29, of Colombia, on Tuesday in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card (FS1/Fox Deportes, 9 p.m. ET) at the Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
"This is a big opportunity for me to show the fans that I have arrived,” said Plant, who has a crowd-pleasing, aggressive style. “FS1 is seen by millions around the word and I'm ready to make a statement to a national audience. I've been working hard to get to this point and I'm going to shine. Like all fights at this level, it's going to be a tough fight. I'm expecting to see a hungry fighter who has nothing to lose. I myself have everything to lose so I'm going to make sure I'm at my best when we step in the ring. De Angel has held some regional belts so I know he has some tricks up his sleeve. One thing I will do is dictate the pace."
Plant hopes to eventually position himself for a title fight, saying, “The middleweight division has plenty of talent. Gennady Golovkin has a stranglehold on the division at the moment but I'm gunning for him and anyone else that's in my way. First I have to get past this fight and then continue my march toward that world title."
• Junior middleweight Chris Pearson (14-1, 10 KOs) suffered a cut in training and has withdrawn from his fight with Justin DeLoach (15-1, 8 KOs) scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Domonique Dolton (17-0-1, 9 KOs), 26, of Detroit, will step in for Pearson and fight DeLoach, 22, of Augusta, Georgia, in the scheduled 10-round co-feature on the PBC card on Bounce TV (9 p.m. ET). The card is headline by a 10-round junior middleweight match between former world titleholder Ishe Smith (28-8, 12 KOs) and Frank Galarza (17-1, 11 KOs).