In a poor performance, WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) labored hard to win a 12 round unanimous decision over John ‘Gorilla’ Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs) on Saturday night at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
Smith’s performance likely will take him out of the running for a fight against Canelo Alvarez, but you never know. Canelo might see this fight, and like the idea of facing Smith with him looking like a carbon copy of Rocky Fielding.
Callum looked bloody & battered
Ryder bloodied Smith’s face from an accidental head-butt early in the fight, but he bloodied his nose from a legitimate punch. Ryder fought well enough to deserve a draw. He appeared to win 6 rounds in winning 3 of the first half, and then another 3 in the second half. Smith, 29, looked gaunt, and weight drained from the earliest moments in the fight.
The judges had Smith winning by the following scores: 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112. Those scores were absolutely poor, and not indicative of the fight that took place tonight.
Although at the end of the fight, Smith said he made the mistake of staying in 1st gear for too long at the start, but that doesn’t explain the way he faded. He just looked weight drained, which isn’t surprising because he’s essentially a light heavyweight, who melt down to fight in the 168-lb division.
It’s been a smart move for Callum up until now, but it looks like his body is no longer letting him get away with this at age 29. Things change of fighters that game the system when they near the 30s, as they can’t continue to fight in weight classes that their bodies can no longer support.
Hearn puts positive spin on Callum’s performance
“Sometimes when you don’t put in a blistering performance, it makes it easier to make fights, said Callum’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing trying to put a positive spin on his horrid performance. “It was never going to be easy for Callum tonight.”
Hearn could be right that some of the bigger names at 168 or 160 might want to fight Callum after tonight’s performance, but that’s still not a positive. The way Callum looked tonight, he would would lose to the following fighters:
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Canelo Alvarez
- David Benavidez
- Demtrius Andrade
- Caleb Plant
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
- Daniel Jacobs
- Jermall Charlo
- David Lemieux
- Ryota Murata
Callum was basically exposed by Ryder, and Hearn looks silly trying to make it seem like a positive that was given a gift draw. It was Hearn who said before the fight that Smith was the #1 super middleweight in the division bar bone, but that clearly isn’t the case. Off of this perfomance, Smith looks like he’s the 5th best super middleweight.
Ryder upset at wide scores
“I feel like it was harsh. I felt like I forced the fight,” said a visibly upset Ryder after the fight. “I think I’ve done more than enough to show that I’m credible for this. I’ll come again.”
Ryder will come again, but it probably won’t be against Smith, because he’s days are numbered as the WBA 168-lb champion.
“I knew he was a tough fighter, I knew it was a tough fight,” said Callum. “It wasn’t the best performance from myself, but I was due a bad one. I’m a perfectionist and I always want to do the best as possible. Listen, I know how good I am, how good I can be. I want the best names in the division. The fear brings out the best performance in myself,” said Smith.
Callum Smith W PTS 12 John Ryder
(117-111, 116-112, 116-112)
Chris Billam-Smith W TKO 5 Craig Glover
Anthony Fowler W PTS 10 Harry Scarff
Sean Dodd W TD 4 Tom Farrell
Tom Aitchson W 4 Matija Petrinic
James Tennyson TKO 11 Craig Evans
Stephen Smith W PTS 6 Jonny Phillips
Marcos Molloy PTS 4 Jamie Quinn