Liam Smith has backed Brian Castano to become the new WBO super-welterweight champion when the Argentine challenges Patrick Teixeira in Indio, California, on Saturday night.

Teixeira captured the interim version of the WBO title in November 2019 when he upset the odds by defeating Carlos Adames by unanimous decision. Four days later, the Brazilian was promoted to ‘full’ champion status by the sanctioning body after previous title holder Jaime Munguia vacated the belt to campaign at middleweight.

Castano previously held the WBA ‘Regular’ strap but relinquished the belt in 2019 when he chose not to face his mandatory challenger, ‘Gold’ title-holder Michel Soro, as the Frenchman’s promoter Univent refused to place Castano’s purse in escrow or put Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing in place. Castano’s demands were made as a result of him having to wait four months to be paid after his earlier victory over Soro in July 2017.

The Argentine has established himself as a threat in the highly competitive 154lbs division, defeating Soro and putting on a valiant display against Erislandy Lara in a bout that resulted in a split draw.

Smith, who held the same WBO super-welterweight title for a year between 2015 and 2016, believes Castano will finally reach the pinnacle of the sport tonight.

“If you took me to the edge of a cliff and asked me to pick, it would be Castano, but the size and southpaw [stance of Teixeira] might [be] a factor,” Smith (29-2-1, 16 KOs) told Boxing Social

“Castano is short and built, Teixeira is a tall, rangy southpaw, but I think Teixeira’s downfall is that he likes a fight too much and I think that will play into Castano’s hands.”

Smith is currently the third highest ranked challenger with the WBO, behind Tim Tszyu and Castano. As such, the Liverpool man is hoping to challenge the winner in the near future. While Teixeira’s height and reach advantages, allied with his portsider stance, would typically make him the sort of opponent that Smith would rather not face, the champion’s willingness to engage in a brawl makes Smith eager to take him on if the Brazilian retains the title.

“Obviously, I don’t want to be fighting big southpaws, but if you look at Teixeira’s style, I’d love that fight because he doesn’t shy away from a fight and he’s not hard to drag into a fight,” Smith said. 

“On paper, if you asked me would I want to fight a 6’1” southpaw, I’d say: ‘No,’ but then you show me Patrick Teixeira, I’d bite your hand off. That’s why I’d love that fight.”

Main image: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions.