By Sean Crose
Not many Americans may know who British supermiddleweight Callum Smith is right now, but fight fans on this side of the pond should definitely start taking notice. No one knows what the future holds for any fighter, of course, but the 18-0 Liverpool native is making his presence felt in a huge way. Just this past weekend the man demolished the undefeated Rocky Fielding in the first round in front of a sold out crowd of 10k in England’s Echo arena.
Needless to say, Smith is now in line for some very big things. He’s ranked number one in his division by the WBC, after all. He’s also now earned the British title for supermiddleweight by demolishing Fielding. British boxing is red hot at the moment, and Smith is riding the wave. Not that he’s taking the easy route. Fielding, some may recall, wiped out Brian Vera last June with a second round victory.
“I believe,” said British promoter Eddie Hearn, “Callum Smith will go on and win world championships. We’ll be pushing at the WBC convention for him to become mandatory challenger to Badou Jack.”
Jack, who recently defeated George Groves on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto fight last September, is currently the WBC supermiddleweight champion. Aside from Groves, the man has earned notable victories against the likes of Anthony Dirrell and Marco Antonio Periban. A fight with Smith would most certainly be interesting.
For Smith, long and lanky, has something of a Thomas Hearns quality about him – at least he did on Saturday. He may not hit AS hard as Hearns, but there’s explosiveness of those fists of Smiths. Indeed, he knocked down Fielding so fast on two occasions Saturday that it was hard to see exactly where the shots landed.
Smith can also go to the body with thunderous brutality. This here is a guy that takes the fight out of his opponents by banging away to their torsos. What’s more, his high guard defense is effective, allowing him to absorb blows without necessarily absorbing punishment.
None of this is to say Smith is perfect, however. He stands rather stationary – which makes one wonder how he would do against, say, an Andre Ward. While it’s true Ward is now moving up to light heavyweight, there are still some serious foes at supermiddleweight, like James DeGale, who could give Smith a great deal of trouble.
In short, Smith still has some learning to do. If he keeps growing as a fighter, however, he will truly be a force to be reckoned with. He’s near the top of the heap as it is. One can imagine how far he can go.