Paul Smith will need a miracle against Andre Ward
By Scott Gilfoid: If 32-year-old Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KOs) thought he had in bad in his last two fights against WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham in his two defeats in those fights, Smith is really up against it with his 172 pound catch-weight fight against Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs) on June 20th at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Smith has obviously been brought in as a fodder opponent for the 31-year-old Ward to sharpen up before he goes back to defending his WBA 168 pound title. Smith will need to KO Ward to win this fight because there’s no way that Smith will win a decision against someone as talented as Ward. Indeed, I don’t think Smith will win even a round in this fight.
Ward could have found a quality opponent for his June 20th fight but it’s been over a year and a half since he last fought in November of 2013. Ward didn’t want to take on a tough opponent for his first fight back after a layoff like that even though he would likely beat anyone in the division right now.
Smith isn’t a big puncher, and he’s not fast of hand or foot. He’s just a domestic level fighter who gets beaten each time he steps up a level. We’ve seen Smith get whipped by James DeGale, George Groves, and twice by Abraham. Why Smith keeps getting opportunities is beyond me. About all I can think of is that guys are looking for opponents at the European Boxing Union level that they can beat with relative ease without there being a risk of losing. I mean, Ward wouldn’t bother facing Smith if he hadn’t been out of the ring for nearly two years.
Ward wants to fight guys like Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch and Gennady Golovkin. The problem is that none of those guys want any part of the talented Ward. He’s too dangerous. It’s not because he’s a big knockout threat. It’s more of a case of Ward being someone who would likely beat all these guys by painfully one-sided decisions and they would prefer not to get beaten in this manner.
I doubt that Ward will look to knock Paul Smith out this month in their fight on June 20th. I expect Ward to keep Smith around so that he can get rounds in against him in order to shake off the rust. Ward will likely toy with Smith in the same way that a big cat would toy with a mouse that he was getting ready to eat. Ward will keep Smith around and let him serve his basic purpose of getting in some rounds.