Former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith has switched out Joe Gallagher in favor of trainer Buddy McGirt to get him ready for his move up to 175.
The 31-year-old Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) looked godawful in his last fight against Canelo Alvarez, losing a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision against him last December.
The tall 6’3″ Smith made an odd move to give up his height and reach, choosing to fight off the ropes against the shorter 5’8″ Canelo.
It’s unclear why Smith’s trainer at the time, Gallagher, didn’t have him make some adjustments by getting off the ropes to battle Canelo in the center of the ring. You can definitely second guess the strategy for that fight. But Smith deserves a lot of blame as well.
Any fighter worth their salt would have had the common sense to get off the ropes if they were taking a beating from a much shorter fighter.
The fact that Smith ever tried makes you wonder if he’s got the ring IQ needed to be a success at 175. Even with McGirt training Smith, he will be lost at light-heavyweight if he can’t think for himself to make adjustments during the rounds.
Against Canelo, Smith was outboxed, out jabbed, and outthought in losing by the scores 117-111, 119-109, 119-109. Smith fought well in the first round, but after that point on, it was all Canelo.
Callum isn’t saying what his Plan-B option is if his move up to 175 fails to be successful. He’s going to have a tough time trying to beat these top-level fighters at light heavyweight:
- Dimitry Bivol
- Joe Smith Jr
- Artur Beterbiev
- Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
- Joshua Buatsi
- Badou Jack
- Maxim Vlasov
- Marcus Browne
If Callum Smith starts losing to those fighters, he needs to smell the coffee and return to the 168-b division.
Smith can beat Browne, but he would be hard put to be even competitive with the other guys. If Smith is going to fight like a sparring partner by going to the ropes against his opposition at 175, he’s not going to beat anyone.
Smith was doing okay in that division until he ran into John Ryder and Canelo. He should have stayed there.
If Smith had shucked his trainer Gallagher after his controversial 12 round decision win over John Ryder in November 2019, a new coach could have addressed his mistakes in that fight.
Against Ryder, Smith spent much of the fight with his back against the ropes, letting him tee off. From watching that fight, most boxing fans concluded that Smith had no chance against Canelo.
What was surprising is that Smith’s trainer didn’t make adjustments to the mistakes he made against Ryder. There’s no way that Smith should have spent the entire fight against Canelo with his back against the ropes, taking shots all night.