Former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith says he isn’t sure whether compatriot Billy Joe Saunders has the power to get the respect of Mexican star Canelo Alvarez when they meet on May 8. 

Smith, who lost his title to Canelo back in December over twelve rounds, says the unified super middleweight king will walk down WBO champion Saunders if the Brit cannot put a dent in him. 

“Everybody said me and Billy Joe had styles to trouble him but in completely different ways because we are completely different fighters,” Smith said to Sky Sports.

“Billy Joe has got movement, he’s a southpaw, a bit awkward and can probably stay out of trouble. But I don’t know if he’s got anything to keep Canelo off – enough power. Canelo is hard to hit clean and I don’t know if Billy Joe has enough to get his respect, and put a dent in him.

“I see Canelo finding a way. Walking him down, starting to land as the fight goes on. I will always back a Brit but I don’t think anyone beats Canelo. He is very clever in terms of the jab. He walks you down. With anybody else, you would jab. 

“But he wants you to jab because he’s a counter-puncher. So you don’t throw as many jabs and while you are waiting, he closes the space down without throwing anything.

“Then he jabs and hits you. You think: ‘How did that land?’. He keeps you guessing all the time. You are hesitant. His best asset was his presence and his defence. 

“He was so hard to hit clean. When I was throwing he was riding them, making me miss. You aren’t landing so you stop fully committing to shots. He takes away what you are good at.”