It seems like forever that we have used the term ‘Prospect’ to describe Callum Smith, who has taken the long route to a world title which has so far evaded his grasp. It’s been so long that Rocky Fielding who you may remember lost to Smith in 2015 has beaten him to the sports biggest of prizes when he took the title in Germany earlier this year.
I don’t think it’s unfair of me to say that Callum is by far the most talented of the Smith brothers so it becomes even more quizzical why it has taken 24 fights to get a shot at a world title. Nevertheless, in the hot climates of the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia he will take on WBA Super Middleweight champion George Groves in the climax of the World Boxing Super Series.
The fight was scheduled to happen earlier in the year but due to a shoulder injury suffered by Groves in his win over Chris Eubank Jr, it meant that the fight would need to be postponed to a later date which happens to fall on this Friday.
Smith comes into the bout with a spotless 24-0 record, beating late replacement Nieky Holzken to step into the final of the Sauerland created tournament, giving the impression that maybe, just maybe he’s arrived at the destination of his promised world title.
An opportunity he is looking to grasp with both hands, believing that on Saturday night he will have enough firepower to get the job done within the distance, telling media:
“He’s been there and done it, it took himself four goes and he kept himself up and kept himself going, and you’ve got to respect him for that,” Smith exclusively told Sky Sports.
“But I also think the great career he’s had has a downside. He’s put a lot of miles on the clock and had a very tough career for a 30-year-old, but I am the opposite, I haven’t had a tough career yet.
“I’ve still got to land and I’ve still got to get rid of him, but if I do land, yes, he’s done well to get where he has so far, but because of the vulnerability with the added mileage on the clock, I do feel he’s there for the taking. I feel now it’s my time to do it.”
Groves, on the other hand, looks to be a completely different entity, there was a time after he was disposed of by Carl Froch that I thought we would never witness his full potential but somehow from somewhere, we have started to see glimpses of the fighter that was once promised.
Beating Fedor Chudinov, Jamie Cox and a one-sided schooling of Chris Eubank Jr took his record to 28-3, seemingly evolving into a more complete fighter along the way.
He sees the dangers lurking within the younger fighter but believes he has enough experience and skill to retain his crown whilst capturing the Ali Trophy in the process.
“In terms of the tournament, he’ll be the toughest test yet,” Groves conceded recently before saying “It’ll be another comfortable win. So far the tournament’s gone to form book… I don’t envisage anything different this time around.
“Callum’s still an unknown quantity at the top level. He’s yet to make that final step. We’ll have to find out.”
This fight has many moving parts which could shift at any given time, How good is Smith? Will Groves’ shoulder hold up? Who’s tactic will be come out on top? How will the fighters deal with the intense heat?
These are all questions that need answering but fortunately we won’t have long to find out