Callum Smith to fight Badou Jack or Anthony Dirrell next
By Scott Gilfoid: #1 WBC contender Callum Smith is waiting to find out if he’s going to get his mandatory title shot against WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack or face #2 WBC Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC title. The World Boxing Organization has ordered the Jack vs. Callum Smith fight, and they have a deadline of February 17 to get the fight made.
It’ll go to a purse bid if the fight isn’t negotiated by that point. Badou’s promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. said they plan on moving up to 175 now that the unification fight against IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale is behind them.
Mayweather wants to match Jack against WBC 175lb champion Adonis Stevenson next, and he thinks he can make the fight a reality. Either way, Jack is moving up in weight. In the meantime, Smith will need to wait until Jack makes it official that he’s going to be vacating the title. Once that happens, the WBC will order Smith to fight Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC 168lb title.
Joe Gallagher, the trainer for Smith, says that Jack is the one that they prefer for Smith to fight, as he’s better known in the UK than Dirrell. Jack beat George Groves in 2015 by a 12 round decision, and he fought to a 12 round draw last Saturday night against DeGale. Gallagher isn’t buying into Jack having problems making the 168lb limit. He thinks he’s making it fine.
Gallagher said this to skysports.com about Smith wanting Jack rather than Dirrell:
“We want the Jack fight and Floyd [Mayweather] did mention ringside that he wants to check Smith out as a challenger so it is still a possibility,” Gallagher said. “It’s frustrating for Smith because Jack has fought both [George] Groves and DeGale so he is better known to the UK fans and the fight is bigger.”
I wonder if the real reason Gallagher wants Smith to fight Jack is because Dirrell is such a dangerous and accurate power puncher. Dirrell throws a lot of straight shots with incredible power. He’s got the perfect style to take advantage of Smith’s habit of throwing a lot of body shots. Smith ducks down and puts everything he has on his body shots.
Smith also likes to throw wide hooks, which leaves him open to straight shots down the middle. I think Dirrell would be hitting Smith all night long with his straight power shots to the head each time he tried to load up with a hook to the body or head. Dirrell would be a nightmare for Smith, and would likely knock him out. If I was Gallagher, I’d want Jack as Smith’s opponent rather than Dirrell. That’s not to say that Jack would be an easy fight. I would still think Smith would lose, but he stands a better chance against Jack than Dirrell in my view.
“If he does vacate then it will go out for Smith to face Dirrell, who is a very good fighter and has only lost once,” said Gallagher. “Smith welcomes the fight.”
So, Smith “welcomes the fight” against Dirrell? If he welcomes the fight, then why is Gallagher so interested in Badou Jack for him? Something is not right here. If Gallagher is so eager for Smith to fight Jack, then why is he talking about Dirrell? I don’t buy it. They want Jack all the way. Dirrell is too dangerous for Smith, and I think Gallagher knows it, but of course he’s not going to say it.