THE speed with which Deontay Wilder stuck his boot into a still-grounded Anthony Joshua following his shocking seventh-round knockout defeat to Andy Ruiz Jnr on Saturday (June 1) said many things about both Wilder and his own ill-fated fight with Joshua.
His put-downs were packed with spite, nastiness, and a fair bit of joy – joy at witnessing another man’s demise. Yet they were also laced with no small amount of regret, resentment and frustration, for Wilder may now have bragging rights but has lost out on the biggest payday of his career, at least for the time being.
“I have been telling people, we have been trying to tell them,” Wilder told 78 Sports TV.
“We have been trying to make this fight for so long and now we know why they are dodging us. Like I said before, his whole career, he is not a true champion.
“The motherf***er f***ing quit. At least Frank Bruno got KO’d by [Mike] Tyson. He’s worse than Bruno.
“I think he’s a broken man. His promoter, that b**ch a** n**** Eddie Hearn, what you say now? We want to hear you say some s*** now. Now we know who’s been running from who.”
Ultimately, in a situation as messed up as this, it’s hard to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys. Certainly, though, Wilder’s decision to announce fight with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury during Joshua vs. Ruiz fight week was hardly indicative of a WBC champion hellbent on securing a fight with the man who, until Saturday, owned three of the other major heavyweight titles.
On a night of mixed fortunes for British boxers, one man who did dazzle beneath the lights of Madison Square Garden on Saturday was Liverpool’s Callum Smith.
The gifted WBA super-middleweight champion put Hassan N’Dam to the sword in just three rounds, becoming only the second man to stop him, and all who witnessed the demolition were suitably impressed.
One man Smith hoped to impress at MSG was Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, owner of the WBA regular super-middleweight belt and a whole host of middleweight titles.
Canelo had mentioned Smith as a possible opponent for later this year and Smith, knowing the riches this would accrue, and believing he has every chance of upsetting the flame-haired champion, was eager to keep up his end of the bargain in New York.
“After Canelo’s last fight, he mentioned Callum Smith as a possible opponent and Callum Smith put himself in the shop window on Saturday night and did what was expected of him in front of the American audience,” Joe Gallagher, Smith’s trainer, told Sky Sports.
“He defended his world title, defended his crown as the number one super-middleweight in the world, and he did it in spectacular fashion, knocking out Hassan N’Dam in three rounds.
“N’Dam had only been stopped once before and was coming off a points win over Martin Murray in December, so it was a fantastic win and whet the appetite for everybody over there.
“The reception, and the talk in the press conference afterwards, was all Canelo, Canelo, Canelo. If there are any slight problems with Canelo-GGG (Gennady Golovkin), I’ve spoken to Callum Smith and he says if that phone call comes, he’ll take it with both hands. He’ll face Canelo in September.”
Golovkin is expected to put on his own little showcase performance this Saturday (June 8) in New York when he faces the unheralded Canadian Steve Rolls at MSG. Win that, and he should, and it’s likely the hard-hitting Kazakh will renew hostilities with Canelo in September.
However, Smith, now a major player on the world scene, is now waiting in the wings, more than happy to give Canelo the UK debut he has often mentioned.
“Obviously we’d really want it to be at Anfield,” said Gallagher. “Canelo himself and Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez, they’ve spoken about it – coming to the UK.
“Callum Smith has said everyone’s had their moment. Ricky Hatton’s had Man City, Tony Bellew’s had Goodison Park. Callum Smith is the right kid. He’s the world champion from Liverpool for Liverpool to have their moment now.
“Callum Smith versus Canelo is the right fight for the right stadium and the right time of year, I think.
“There’s a date there available in September and it’s just getting Canelo over here. If it means a two-fight deal, we’ll fight him here and we’ll fight him over in Vegas, but things have to move quite quickly.”
There’s now an urgency about Callum Smith his career has perhaps lacked, through no fault of his own, in years gone by. A good thing, too. On Saturday’s evidence, Smith might just be the best talent Britain have to offer in 2019.