Mexican star Canelo Alvarez has distanced himself from a third fight with Gennady Golovkin stating he will chase super-middleweight unification bouts, should he defeat WBA Super champion Callum Smith on December 19.

IBF middleweight king Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) desperately wants to settle their score after a controversial draw and majority decision defeat in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Talks were underway for a third fight before the Covid-19 Pandemic stopped boxing in its tracks, but now Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is focused on cleaning out the division at a higher poundage. The Mexican is angling for IBF champion Caleb Plant and WBO title-holder Billy Joe Saunders, if he negotiates a difficult task against Smith in two weeks’ time. The WBC title is currently vacant.

“We are happy with this great challenge and winning this fight is the start to unify all the belts at 168 pounds,” Eddie Reynoso, Alvarez’s manager and trainer, told ESPN.com. “Callum Smith is one of the best at 168 pounds. He just won the [World Boxing Super Series] in his division as well. If you believe you are the best, you should show it fighting the best. That’s why we choose to face Smith and no other fighters who really don’t have this level of success.”

Canelo believes Liverpool’s Smith is the premier fighter in the division and that victory will begin his path towards unification at 168lbs.

“We all know that the only fight Golovkin wants, maybe to retire after, is the fight against me,” Alvarez told ESPN.com. “We were in talks with Golovkin before the pandemic started, we were in talks to make a fight this year, but unfortunately this whole pandemic issue happened and all that was cancelled.

“But right now the most important thing, what we have in mind, are other objectives. The first is Callum Smith, and as Eddie said, we want to unify the titles at 168 and continue making history. We will see about Golovkin later.

“Smith is a great opponent, the best at 168 pounds. He’s a tall, strong opponent that motivates me a lot and one that, despite everything that happened in 2020, will allowed me to close the year with a flourish.”