VERY few were giving British super-middleweight Paul Smith a chance against Andre Ward before he flew out to Oakland for tonight’s showdown, and now he’s weighed in – at a whopping 176lbs – nobody is.
Not so long ago Smith was considering dropping down to middleweight (160lbs) after a career of accusations that he was fighting above his best weight. Then came the opportunity to fight WBO super-middle boss Arthur Abraham, and after a stirring effort resulted in a return (he lost both fights on points), Smith found himself getting the golden ticket to fight Ward.
His trainer Joe Gallagher last week told Boxing News that they have a specific plan for Ward, that attempting to outpoint the gifted slickster is a waste of time. Considering Smith’s weight (five pounds above Ward, and four pounds above the agreed limit) it would seem the plan is to go for broke in the first few rounds.
There is no money to be found in betting on Ward – 1-50 favourite – but perhaps picking the manner and time of the American’s seemingly inevitable triumph is where the real value lies. Considering Smith has built himself to bully Ward, his stamina may be lacking once we get past six rounds. So he might be ripe for the picking come rounds seven, eight and nine. Each of those – for a Ward win – are priced at 11-1.