Callum Smith: The UK’s Finest Prospect

Callum Smith with Matt Hamilton

Callum Smith with Matt Hamilton

16 fights into his professional career Callum Smith has been given a varied introduction to the paid ranks – he’s already faced Nikola SjeklocaRuben Eduardo AcostaPatrick Mendy – all fighters with some if not earth shattering pedigree. ‘Mundo‘ next faces the accomplished world #24* Christopher Rebrasse whose most notable fight came against George Groves during which he displayed ruggedness & extreme durability. Indeed even before facing the Frenchman the Liverpudlian has ascended to as high as #11 in the world in the ultra-competitive Super Middleweight division based on accomplishment – above the likes of Anthony DirrellBrandon GonzalesJ’Leon Love & interestingly enough his own brother Paul Smith.

On the basis of recent evidence the top 4 168lbers in the UK – Carl Froch, James DeGale, George Groves & Callum Smith – are briskly going to evaporate into the Big 2 as Froch walks off into the sunset (£9.2 million cheque in hand from Wembley) & Groves – who looks a spent force at the elite level – endures a long, less glittering second half of a career that peaked far too early & ultimately far too briefly. The likely short to medium term target for the WBC’s #3 ranked contender Smith appears to be the still sell-able George Groves – who happens to hold the WBC Silver title.

If you’re asking how the most heavily touted of the Smith brothers did in the amateurs… Callum Smith’s attempt to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London ended in controversy at the final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Turkey. Smith ‘lost’ 16:14 in comically corrupt fashion to Vatan Huseynli. He’s thus a non-Olympian in the same sense as Mike Tyson was a non-Olympian – with a huge asterisk next to that fact.

The AIBA subsequently decided that an invitational place at the Olympics was to be made available to a wildcard pick of their choice. This place was somehow given to Boško Drašković of Montenegro, a fighter Smith had convincingly beaten earlier in the tournament. Drašković, unsurprisingly, was knocked out of the Olympics in the first round. As many amateur boxing trainers often remind me – corruption & skulduggery are not the exclusive remit of the professional ranks. This travesty though – to me anyway – makes the 25 year old more likely, not less likely, to forge a very successful professional career – he knows more than most in his blue chip prospect position what real hunger means & he’s been shaped by (unjust) adversity.

Hamilton’s Top 10 UK Prospects*

* Prospect as defined as never having previously fought for a World title. Criteria include the perceived sum of talent; youth & promotional situation – ie. a very talented fighter who isn’t particularly young & doesn’t have strong promotional backing they can still rank should that talent be of significant enough significance to overcome these handicaps.

  1. Callum Smith
  2. Anthony Joshua
  3. Luke Campbell
  4. Sam Eggington
  5. Rocky Fielding
  6. John Ryder
  7. Khalid Yafai
  8. Larry Ekundayo
  9. Jack Catterall
  10. Hughie Fury

Will Carl Froch Fight Again?

Froch vs Groves 2: Preview & Predictions

Froch Looks To Cement Legacy With Second Big Win Over Live Contender Groves

The people who think I’m going to get beaten don’t think it’s because George Groves is fantastic, it’s because they think I’m over the hill.Carl Froch

The funny thing is, so many different people have told me how to beat Carl in so many different ways. It’s like: ‘Who do I believe and which one do I pick?’” George Groves

Union Jack

Froch v Groves is the proverbial Battle of Britain.

Predictions

Ben Doughty: Groves

Nigel Benn: Groves

Colin Nathan: Froch

Brendon Krause: Froch

Peter Broderick : Groves

Phil Lyndsay: Groves

Chris Walker: Groves

Michael Nashed: Froch

Nelson Stanley: Groves

Zdravko Petrov: Froch

Jon Briggs: Froch

Tom McQueen: Groves

Phil Anderson: Froch

Martin Supple: Groves

Danny Wright: Froch

Marc Stockings: Froch

Matt Gipon: Groves

James Bairstow: Groves

Oliver Fennell: Froch

Will Hale: Froch

Altaf Mubarik: Groves

Aggregate: Froch 11 Groves 11(including MH’s)

Matt Hamilton’s Prediction: Froch 10th Round KO

1) Carl Froch is 36 years old. George Groves is 26 years old. Froch has fought 240 rounds as a professional in 12 years 2 months & 15 days. George Groves has fought 104 rounds as a professional in 5 years 6 months & 16 days. By way of reference Chris Eubank passed the 240 round mark vs. Ray Close in 1993 whilst Nigel Benn never did (fighting only 237 rounds in his entire career). Steve Collins went over 240 rounds in his second fight with Eubank – having two wins vs. Nigel Benn still in his bag of tricks to come. Joe Calzaghe went through this mileage on his odometer vs. Bernard Hopkins. I think Froch is a relatively well preserved 36 & we won’t see a deterioration of skills (chin, toughness) he relied on earlier in his career at any great rate.

2) Groves threw 50 punches in the first round of their first fight. 38 in Round 2. 36 in Round 3 (swelling becomes apparent under left eye & is treated with end-swell at end of the round). 24 in Round 4. 37 in Round 5. 48 in Round 6. 32 in Round 7. 39 in Round 8. 18 in Round 9 (1:32 into the Round when it was stopped – rate of  35 for the full round). 322 punches thrown in 8 rounds, 1 minute & 32 seconds. Froch threw 46 in Round 1. 53 in Round 2. 59 in Round 3. 39 in Round 4. 51 in Round 5. 73 in Round 6. 47 in Round 7. 70 in Round 8. 49 in Round 9 (1:32 into the Round when it was stopped – rate of  96 for the full round). 487 punches thrown in 8 rounds, 1 minute & 32 seconds. Whilst Groves was far more accurate (especially with the jab) I view these numbers as indicative of the result of a gradual wearing down of Groves’ energy stores vs. a more savvy fighter with enough left in the engine to step on the gas at opportune moments. 

3) Despite the fact that I view George Groves as the superior boxer with substantially better fundamentals I lean somewhat decidedly toward Carl Froch. If you look at the first bout I think a hugely overlooked aspect was quite how badly Groves’ natural punch resistance fared against Froch’s power on the relatively few times he was tagged. He was marked up as early as the third round & retrospectively I think he was looking for a second wind as early as the 5th or 6th round. Groves has only gone 12 rounds twice – against a 400 year old Glenn Johnson & then in what I felt was a clear losing effort against James DeGale – I’m inclined to thus agree with Carl’s assertion that Groves isn’t (or to my mind, at least, thus far proven himself to be) a 12 round fighter. I don’t see the judges (should they be needed) doing Groves any favours, certainly not to the scale of his frankly gifted decision vs. DeGale & am thus left fancying Froch for the win – be it by mid to late round stoppage again or by unanimous decision. Gun to my head, I have it as a Froch KO win in the 10th. (more…)

The Proposed Golovkin vs. Froch Fight Is a Great Recipe For An Exciting Event

It appears as though Golovkin is now the front page material in the world of boxing, and he most certainly deserves to be there.

According to various reports, Golovkin vs. Froch is a fight that seems feasible, and more importantly likely to actually take place sometime soon, possible by the end of 2013. Don’t get me wrong, I like Froch, and he just like Golovkin, has battled his way to the top and has shown that he is a legitimate world champion. But can he hang with GGG?

The answer to this question is like a double edged sword: yes he can, but he shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that he should take the fight, it only means that he should re-style his offensive technique and work on fighting off the back foot on the outside. Golovkin is simply too strong to duke it out with, but I do believe that Froch can and would fight the right fight, and although most people would go for Golovkin in a bet, I would actually favor Froch to last the 12 rounds and come out a UD winner.

But where would this fight take place? Las Vegas? Or would Gennady travel to the U.K.? Either way, Golovkin has made his way to the “PPV League” and I think that boxing fans would do whatever they can to avoid missing his fights. Of course with Froch’s tremendous following, this fight would have no trouble selling out in the U.K., but if priced a bit too high, Las Vegas might not be able to plant a body in every single seat.

I am curious to see who gets to cross the ropes against GGG next!

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Should Andre Ward Travel Overseas To Fight Carl Froch?

If anyone believes that this is a complicated question, they must be entangled in the web of lies, conspiracies, and the business part of boxing.

The answer is a very simple, solid, yes!

There is absolutely no doubt that Andre Ward is a sensational boxer, with absolutely stunning technical skills. Maybe he doesn’t always provide an explosive fight, but he gets the results that many envy him for.

With all those great attributes, he is missing one very important piece of the boxing puzzle: championship level competition. Sure there are numerous dream fights, those that the boxing fans discuss and hypothesize on a daily basis, but there aren’t that many realistic fights to be made.

There is absolutely no room for argument, at least in my opinion, that Carl Froch is the best fight out there for Andre Ward right now, and vice versa. There would be no pay cut for Ward if he fought in the U.K., as a matter of fact I am pretty sure he would come out with a healthier payday fighting there rather than in his hometown of Oakland,CA.

I understand why Ward would want to train and fight in his hometown, but right now, without a good fight in sight; I think it would be wise to take the Froch challenge in his backyard. Unless of course another good challenger comes along, but who would that be?

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