He was heavily criticized for over-shooting the 172 lb catch-weight limit against Andre Ward last weekend by 4.4 lbs in a fight that from before the first bell, there was only ever one winner – and come the 9th round a bloodied and battered Smith was mercifully halted in what, according to trainer Joe Gallagher, should be the last fight of Paul Smith’s long career.
He said in the Liverpool Echo;
“I’ve told Paul to probably consider retiring now.”
“He’s got a good job on Sky, he’s gone out with the best and he’s had an Indian summer with his last three fights.” (inc. the 2 back to back defeats to Germany’s Arthur Abraham)
“There’s a lot for him on the other side of the ropes. He knows his boxing and has been in the sport a long time.”
“Paul’s going to take some time out now. His missus is due a baby in the Summer so I’d advise him to go and work full-time for Sky.”
After capturing an amateur silver at the Commonwealth games and the British 168 lb title, it was not to be when stepping up a level in the pro’s. Smith was overtaken by both James DeGale and George Groves in that regard, who beat him by 9th and 2nd round stoppages respectively in 2011. He never really recovered.
Following the two losses to Abraham (the last of which was in Feb), many questioned the Liverpudlian getting the call against the returning Ward.
On how the fight played out, Gallagher was realistic and honest;
“It was how I thought it would be. Kessler, Froch, Abraham and Dawson have all tried to beat Andre Ward. Paul was up against it and we weren’t going to outbox him – but we were going to get moments in the fight and when they present(ed) themselves, it was up to Paul to capitalise and take advantage of them.”
“I thought Paul kept it clean. People said he should have gone in more but he would have left himself open and been caught and cut more easily.”
“(But) It’s done now and as far as I’m concerned, that’s it. He’s fought Arthur Abraham twice and now Andre Ward. He’s going out to one of the best on the planet and can hold his head up. He’s no worse than other fighters who have fought P4P greats.”
“At the end of the day, it’s Paul’s decision. He has always been his own man and always will be. He’ll do what’s right for him.”