Callum Smith vs. Juergen Braehmer next Saturday on Feb.24
By Tim Royner: Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) will be fighting former WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs) next Saturday night on February 24 in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament at the Arena Nurnberger, in Nuremberg, Germany.
Braehmer is the far better boxer and with amateur experience that Smith never had. As an amateur, Braehmer twice beat Ricky Hatton, and he also defeated Carl Froch and Felix Sturm. Braehmer’s amateur record is 95-5. In the last 10 years, Braehmer’s only 2 defeats came against Hugo Hernan Garay and Nathan Cleverly.
Smith, 27, is the much younger guy than the 39-year-old Braehmer, but he’s not the mobile or more active of the two. The southpaw Braehmer has a big advantage with his quick feet and his ability to fight at range. This be a stylistic nightmare for Smith, who needs to fight at fairly close range for him to land his hooks to the body and uppercuts.
Smith’s fighting style is suited to stationary fighters that don’t move an inch. Braehmer is the opposite. He moves constantly, jabs and doesn’t allow for too much inside fighting. That’s bad news for Smith, because it means he’s going to need to cut off the ring on Braehmer and hope he can work him over against the ropes when he does chase him down. There’s a very good chance Braehmer will beat Smith as badly as he did his last opponent previously unbeaten Rob Brant last October. Braehmer schooled Brant in defeating him by a one-sided 12 round decision in Germany.
The 6’3” Smith will have 3 ½” height advantage over the 5’11 ½” Braehmer in this fight. However, the height will be meaningless due to Braehmer fighting at range, and Smith not being able to throw punches from the outside. Smith has an out school 1950s fighting style with him crowing his opponents and throwing a lot of body shots, hooks to the head and uppercuts. The style has worked for Smith against the type of opposition that his promoter has matched him against.
These are the best fighters Smith has fought during his 6-year pro career:
• Erik Skoglund
• Luke Blackledge
• Norbert Nemesapati
• Hadillah Mohhoumadi
• Rocky Fielding
• Christopher Rebrasse
• Nikola Sjekloca
• Vladine Biosse – Smith had a lot of problems with Biosse. The scores don’t reflect the wide range of problems that Biosse gave Smith. Suffice it to say, Smith knew he’d been in a fight by the end of this match. Biosse was the first guy that could stand up to Smith’s uppercuts and body shots and fire back hurtful shots that got his attention
Skoglund is easily the best of the bunch, and he’s not anywhere near as good as Braehmer. Smith beat Skoglund by a 12 round unanimous decision in their quarterfinals fight in the World Boxing Super Series tournament last September at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. The scores were 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111.Smith fought well at the first 4 and last 4 rounds. In between that, he let Skoglund win rounds. If that had been Braehmer, he would have taken advantage of the situation and won the fight. Smith can’t afford to mentally let off his foot on the gas pedal against a fighter like Braehmer because he’ll run away with the fight and score and easy 12 round decision win.
Braehmer has lost only 1 fight in the last 10 years, and that was to Nathan Cleverly in October 2016. Brahemer suffered an arm injury that caused him to bow out after 6 rounds. Braehmer was winning the fight on all 3 of the judges’ scorecards, and it’s likely he would have won if he’d not suffered the injury.
If Braehmer were to have fought Cleverly in a rematch, he’d likely have schooled him. He was a much better fighter. Braehmer’s best wins of his career have been against these fighters:
• Rob Brant
• Eduard Gutknecht
• Enzo Maccarinelli
• Robin Krasniqi
• Roberto Bolonti
• Konni Konrad
• Marcus Oliveira
• Vikapita Meroro
• Dmitry Sukhotsky
• Aleksy Kuziemski
• Mario Veit
• Andre Thysse
• Henry Pooras
There’s a big gap in experience between Braehmer and Smith. It’s not even close. Smith has been matched against a lot of guys that haven’t done anything with their careers. These are decent fighters, but not talented guys.
Braehmer is up there in age. It’s possible that he might be too worn out to beat Smith at this point in his career, but a lot of boxing fans thought the German fighter was going to lose his last fight against Brant. That turned out to be a mismatch in favor of Braehmer.
Smith doesn’t look good against fighters with slick and awkward fighting styles. Smith has the size, power and youth going for him in this fight, but he doesn’t possess the wheels, jab or the long-range fighting ability that Braehmer has going for him. Those are things that Smith will never possess. Braehmer looked a lot younger than his 39-years in his last fight against Brant. I would dare say that Braehmer fought a like a younger fighter than the 27-year-old Smith.
Braehmer will be fighting at home in Germany against Smith this Saturday night, and that could play a key factor in the outside of the fight. Braehmer has only lost 3 fights during his career in Germany. He’s hard to beat at home, especially when his boxing fans are cheering for him. When Braehmer is the zone and fighting on all 8 cylinders, he’s hard to beat. Braehmer has been fighting mostly at light heavyweight for the last 10 years against guys with punching power.
Maccarinelli is an example of a fighter with more power than Callum Smith, and yet Braehmer beat him with ease in jabbing him until the fight was stopped after 5 rounds due to Maccarinelli’s left eye closing on him. Callum Smith is a good puncher, but he’s not in the same class as Maccarinelli was. Braehmer’s slick fighting style is going to make it very difficult for Smith to deal with in this fight. Braehmer’s boxing skills and with the fight taking place in his home country of Germany, it’s going to give him a big advantage.
It won’t be surprising if Smith loses this fight because he’s not had the chance to fight anyone with boxing skills since he turned pro, and he has an old school style of fighting that isn’t conducive to the style that Braehmer employs. This could be a real mismatch with Braehmer making it look easy in beating Smith.
If Braehmer doesn’t beat Smith, then George Groves will do the job if he’s healthy enough to continue fighting in the World Boxing Super Series tournament following his shoulder injury last Saturday night against Chris Eubank Jr. in their semifinals fight at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Groves beat Eubank Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision, but his left shoulder came out of the socket in the 12th and it stayed out of the socket for the entire round. Smith tends to go for quick knockouts in his fights. If he can’t score a knockout, his form starts to fall apart quickly, and he looks ragged. Smith doesn’t fight well when facing opponents that throw jabs and fight on the outside. Smith has no answers to that type of fighting style, and I don’t think he ever will. If Smith can’t crowd his opponents and stop them, he winds up struggling.