News | Feb 26 2019

Smith wants to face Plant

The goal for Callum Smith is to unify his division but fighting on the Canelo Alvarez bill in Las Vegas would be the ideal way to build his profile, writes John Dennen
Callum Smith
World Boxing Super Series Super-Middleweight Final - George Groves v Callum Smith - WBA World Super-Middleweight Title  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

CALLUM SMITH is well aware that Canelo Alvarez is the biggest name in the sport today. He’s seen Canelo fight and beat his own brother, Liam Smith in the past. He’s seen Canelo move up to super-middleweight and take out one of his own former opponents in Rocky Fielding. He hopes one day to get that fight for himself but is aware that even boxing on the next Alvarez bill in Las Vegas would enhance his profile and boost his own career.

Alvarez will box Danny Jacobs on May 4 to unify the WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight title at the T-Mobile Arena. Callum Smith, who won the WBA super-middleweight title against George Groves, is looking to build momentum and boxing on that bill in Las Vegas would be a high profile outing for him.

“The bigger the show, the more eyes that are watching, the more interest it’ll get, the more it gets my name out there. I’ve still got to perform and deliver on the night but the bigger the show, the bigger the audience,” Smith said.

“That’s the dream one, [the Canelo fight itself]. I think every fighter in the world from middleweight to super-middleweight is probably hoping that fight gets offered to them. It’s a lottery whether you get it,” he added. “The Canelos and the Golovkins, they’re massive names so of course any fighter would want to be involved in those fights. If they’re not possible, then the other champions they’re the fights that make me stand up and take notice and make me get excited to want to go into camp and train to prove I’m the best in the world. I believe I am but there’s three other people with world titles who probably believe they are as well… I would like to try my best to clear that situation up.”

Caleb Plant, the new IBF champion, would be the ideal fight for him. “Unification is definitely something I want to be involved in in 2019,” Smith said. “I don’t know what’s happening with [Gilberto] Ramirez, whether he’s given up or whether he hasn’t given up [the WBO super-middleweight title].”

Callum Smith

Ramirez is moving up to light-heavy for a contest and Billy Joe Saunders has announced that he’ll fight little known Shefat Isufi for the vacant title. “[Saunders] of course it’s one I’d like, if he’s got a belt at my weight then he’s on my radar. The fact that he’s British makes it more in demand from the British fans. Whether it would be difficult to make or easy to make, I’m not too sure… It all depends on the time and the promoters and what not. But these are world champions and I’m a world champion in the same weight division, I do believe it’s inevitable those fights should happen, but we’ll wait and see,” Smith said.

Anthony Dirrell also won the WBC 168lbs title at the weekend. Before he entered the World Boxing Super Series Smith had had a long wait to not get a fight with Dirrell for that title. “The WBC belt is something I would like to have, whether I’d like to go into negotiations with Anthony Dirrell again is a different matter. But I believe [David] Benavidez is champion in recess, he’s fighting J’Leon Love next month and then he plans on fighting Dirrell. By the time I fight for the WBC I think Benavidez could champion again, which could be a massive fight for me,” Smith said. “I think the nine months waiting for the original fight to happen put me off having to deal with him [Dirrell].”

Caleb Plant therefore is the fight to push for. Smith reflected, “If they offered me the Plant fight, it’s a fight I’d jump at. A good fight, he’s unbeaten, talented and I was impressed with him when he won the title – but definitely a fighter I believe I’ve got the beating of. So they’re the fights I’m looking for. If he wants to unify the division as much as I want to then I’m sure it’s a fight that can happen.”

For Callum Smith’s take on Chris Eubank Jnr’s win over James DeGale don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine.

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