Canelo Alvarez's fight with junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Golden Boy Promotions announced Monday.
Alvarez, the lineal middleweight world champion, is dropping to junior middleweight, a division where he once unified two titles, to challenge Smith on Sept. 17 (9 p.m. ET, HBO pay-per-view). The fight is during Mexican Independence Day weekend, a date important to Alvarez because it is typically a weekend with a big fight involving a Mexican star.
Alvarez-Smith will headline the third boxing card to be held at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. In 2010, Manny Pacquiao headlined there twice and won both fights by lopsided decision -- a welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey followed by his history-making victory against Antonio Margarito to win a world title in a record eighth weight division.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have been talking about bringing an Alvarez fight to Arlington for several months, although most people want to see Alvarez face unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin.
But the 25-year-old Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), Mexico's most popular fighter, is a natural fit for AT&T Stadium because he has an enormous Hispanic fan base in Texas.
"Texas loves Canelo and Canelo loves Texas, so it was a no-brainer to have this fight at AT&T Stadium," De La Hoya said. "Texas is like Canelo's second home, and he has stated that he wants to fight in Texas once a year for his fans. My friend Jerry Jones extended the invitation to Canelo to fight at AT&T Stadium, so it was an easy decision for us."
Jones, who is a boxing fan, has made no secret that he has wanted Alvarez to perform in his building. In February, De La Hoya toured the stadium with Jones, and they met for about three hours to discuss the prospect of bringing an Alvarez fight there. Jones was also a ringside guest of De La Hoya's at Alvarez's sixth-round knockout of Amir Khan on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"AT&T Stadium was built to host great events like Canelo vs. Smith," Jones said. "Having Canelo Alvarez, one of the best fighters in the world, in this stadium will be a thrill for not only the fans of North Texas but also for boxing fans around the world."
Alvarez has fought twice in Texas and drawn big crowds. In 2013, he won a unanimous decision against Austin Trout in a junior middleweight title-unification fight that drew about 40,000 to the Alamodome in San Antonio. Fourteen months ago, Alvarez drew a crowd of 31,000 to Minute Maid Park in Houston, where he scored a ferocious third-round knockout -- the 2015 ESPN.com KO of the year -- of James Kirkland.
Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs), 27, of England, will be making his third title defense as well as his United States debut after having all of his previous fights in England.
Alvarez, Smith and their teams will conduct a two-city media tour to promote the fight. It will begin Monday afternoon at AT&T Stadium followed by a news conference Wednesday at the Landmark Hotel in London.
In light of the recent tragic police officer shootings in Dallas, Golden Boy and the Cowboys pledged to donate a percentage of proceeds to a charity of the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Area Rapid Transit's choosing.
"We are deeply saddened and mourn the loss of the dedicated Dallas police and DART officers that paid the ultimate sacrifice giving their lives to protect this community," Jones and De La Hoya said in a joint statement. "In memory of these brave officers, we will donate a portion of the proceeds from this event in support of their loved ones, the other victims and the Dallas community."