Smith vs Ryder: Callum Smith issues warning to John Ryder

21 November 2019, 14:07 | Updated: 21 November 2019, 14:50

Callum Smith says John Ryder will receive a painful 'shock' if he believes talk of a Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez fight has been a distraction ahead of their world title fight.

The Liverpudlian has been linked with a big-name bout against the likes of 'Canelo', with plans in place for an Anfield fight next year, but he must firstly defend his WBA 'super' belt against Ryder at the M&S; Bank Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

Smith has played down speculation about a blockbuster battle at Liverpool football club, insisting he is solely focused on producing another destructive title defence against mandatory challenger Ryder.

"It's a massive opportunity for him," Smith told Sky Sports. "He'll have had the best training camp he's ever had and he'll be coming to give it his all.

"But no matter what version of him turns up, the best version of me beats any version of him and I treat every fight that way. I concentrate on myself and make sure the best version of me turns up, and if that's the case, I believe I beat anyone in the world.

"I'm too professional, too much of a perfectionist to take my eye off the ball. I treat every camp the same. Every fight since my debut has always been a must-win.

"A loss along the way would have set me back. There's talk of a massive 2020, but none of that happens if I lose at the weekend. I've been in this game long enough to know I can't take my eye off the ball. I've had a very good camp, I've trained just as well or hard as I've ever done before. If that's what he's banking on then he's in for a big shock."

Ryder recognises why some of the sport's star performers have already been mentioned for Smith, who is considered as the division's top fighter, although the Londoner remains confident that he can produce a massive upset win.

"Listen, if you buy a lottery ticket, you consider what you're going to do with the winnings. You haven't even won it yet," said Ryder.

"But I get it, he's the champion, he's the No 1. There's these big options out there for him after, but they say they're not overlooking me. I've trained as the underdog and I will go in there and put on a performance on Saturday night."

Watch Callum Smith's WBA title fight against John Ryder on Saturday night, from 7pm on Sky Sports Action.