30.07.05 – By M. Glass: In front of a raucous hometown crowd at Robart’s Arena, China Smith upped his record to 29-2 with a unanimous decision against veteran trial horse Louis Monaco, 14-30-4. In spite of the scoring (98-91, 98-91, 97-92) Monaco managed to land enough telling blows to make Smith’s task difficult.. After a few dreary rounds punctuated by wrestling and sloppy boxing by both fighters, Smith began to find the range in rounds 5, 6 and 7.
Smith’s offensive attack left Monaco resorting to spitting his mouthpiece out as a blatant survival tactic at least five times. In round eight, things heated up further with some competitive exchanges that saw Smith using the same tactic of spitting his mouthpiece out to weather a three punch sequence from Monaco. Smith, 26, regained the upper hand in the ninth as the 37 year old Monaco began to fade badly. In the tenth and final round the southpaw Smith was hitting the 37 year old Monaco, with straight lefts and lead right hooks. Saving the best for last Smith cornered Monaco against the ropes and landed a dozen unanswered punches just before the final bell rang in time to spare Monaco a trip to the canvas.
It’s been a tough few weeks prior to the fight for Smith. He was called out by veteran Oliver McCall, then had his fringe championship belt (NBA) stripped when McCall was deemed his mandatory challenger by the NBA and Smith refused to defend his title. The local press had a field day over the sequence of events printing blistering attacks on Smith’s worthiness and commitment.
It’s possible that a recent visit by McCall to Sarasota in May had something to do with Smith’s reluctance. McCall, the former world champion looked very sharp while defeating Kelvin Hale in a 8 rounder staged at the Sarasota Kennel Club. Now McCall is left with the infamous TBA (to be announced) opponent for his next scheduled fight. Apparently Smith isn’t the only one that doesn’t want to answer McCall’s calls.