A very drained & pale-looking Callum Smith feels he’s been overlooked by people going into his rescheduled title shot against IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev on January 13th at the Centre Videotron, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Smith’s appearance is unhealthy-looking, and you have to wonder if he’s taken too much weight off already in preparing for the fight with Beterbiev. His skin looks very pale, and he has a deathly appearance.
Boxing fans and the media have generally counted out the former WBA super middleweight champion Callum (29-1, 21 KOs), viewing him as a speed bump for Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and wanting to see him face WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.
The problem that the 33-year-old Smith has is the people can’t erase the image from their minds of him getting schooled against Canelo Alvarez in his one-sided twelve round unanimous decision loss in December 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.
It may not seem possible, but the stork-like 6’4″ Smith performed worse against Canelo than Jermell Charlo did because he basically stood with his back against the roped and shelled up for twelve painful-to-watch rounds.
Smith was little more than a sparring partner, and a bad one at that for Canelo. He didn’t even try to get off the ropes, and Canelo had fun, targeting his biceps to swell up his arms, making it difficult for him to hold up his guard.
Callum returned from that defeat, beating fringe light heavyweight contenders Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique at 175, but he’s still not fought anyone of quality in the division until now.
Callum feels disrespected
“I don’t blame people for wanting to see Beterbiev-Bivol. As a boxing fan, that’s a fight that I would like to see,” said Callum Smith to Boxing Social. “It is a little disrespectful when there are people in boxing posting, and I’m due to fight him [Beterbiev] in January.”
Fans would believe in Callum a little bit if he’d taken some risks after moving up to 175 by fighting one of the talented fighters instead of a couple of soft touches.
When a fighter takes a couple of gimmes after a loss, as Smith did, fans will continue to not believe in the fighter.
It’s Smith’s fault for not putting his foot down with his promoters and telling them that he wanted to fight someone good like one of these fighters:
- Joshua Buatsi
- Dan Azeez
- Gilberto Ramirez
- Anthony Yarde
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Richard Rivera
“I’m confident in my own ability, and I feel I can beat him when I’m at my best,” said Smith. I believe the best version of me beats anyone in the world. In my eyes, it’ll be me [beating] Beterbiev and then me against Bivol after that. So, I think I can ruin people’s plans.
“I’m not angry for people wanting to see the fight because it’s a fight that people want to see. At the moment, they’re the two champions in this weight division. So, I can’t really take too much offense about it,” said Callum about the Beterbiev vs. Bivol undisputed light heavyweight championship.
Hopefully, Smith doesn’t lose his nerve once he feels the power of Beterbiev, and retreats to the ropes and shell up again like he did against Canelo.
If he does that against Beterbiev, his chances of going the distance will be slim. He punches harder than Canelo, and is dangerous on the inside with his short punches.
“I’m just fully focused on my job on January 13th. I plan on ripping up the script and becoming world champion again,” said Smith.
“As boxing fans, you always remember for certain performances, and regardless of what I’ve done since and even what I’ve done before,” said Smith.
If Smith wants to make fans believe in him again, he’s got to either defeat Beterbiev or at least put up a fight in the center of the ring.
“People will always judge me on that, which is frustrating because I’ve shown since moving up that I’m a different fighter since then,” said Callum about fans remembering his poor performance in his one-sided loss to Canelo Alvarez in December 2020.
That’s how people know Callum, from his awful performances against Canelo and John Ryder. He looked poor in both fights, and other than them, he hasn’t fought anyone good enough to make fans believe in him.
Smith confident of victory over Beterbiev
“Again, whether people are constantly praising me or constantly putting me down, it’s what I believe in myself, and I’m quite strong mentally,” said Smith. “I believe I’m good enough to become the best light heavyweight on the planet.
“It starts on January 13th. I’m not going over there [Quebec City] to make the numbers up. I’ve done very well after boxing. I don’t have to box for financial reasons. I do it because I believe I can become the best in the world again, and that’s all the motivation I need,” said Smith.
If Smith is victorious against Beterbiev, it’ll be him that faces Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed championship next, and that’ll be a big on.
Beterbiev vs. Bivol is expected to take place in Saudi Arabia. Whether the Saudis would be interested in a Bivol vs. Callum Smith fight in their country is unclear.
“People have different motivations, and my motivation is to be the best, and if I didn’t believe I could do it, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I would be retired as a former world champion, which is a goal that I set out to do. But I’d feel I’d underachieved,” said Smith.
“I’ve had a great career, but I feel I’m capable of more, and that’s why I’m sitting here today. That’s why I’m putting myself through training. That’s why I’m taking myself away to America, away from my family.
“I sacrifice a lot for boxing, but I know the awards and how good they are and what I’m capable of achieving. I’ve had great support with people backing me and people close to me. I’ve always said my way of thanking them is to bring the world titles back to the UK and back to England. Hopefully, I can bring another three back and become a two-division work champion.
“It’s been a long camp, as the weeks are going, I feel like I’m improving on little things with Buddy [McGirt.], and it’s basically a second camp for the same fight [against Beterbiev].
“Possibly, he’s a good fighter,” said Callum when asked if Lyndon Arthur can defeat WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on December 23rd. “Bivol is a very, very good fighter. Bivol is the type of fighter who raises his game. He was plateauing out a little bit.
“He underperformed in the Craig Richards fight [in May 2021 in Manchester, England] and then turned it on for Canelo and Gilberto Ramirez. He might look at this [Lyndon Arthur] as a step back motivational-wise if he isn’t at his best. Lyndon Arthur, he’s earned the right to be there, and I wish him all the best,” said Smith.