Callum Smith could move up to face Kovalev at 175
By Tim Royner: Trainer Joe Gallagher says unbeaten WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) might move up to light heavyweight to challenge WBO champion Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) if he can’t get the other champions at 168 to fight him.
Smith, 28, wants unification fights at super middleweight, and if he can’t get them, then he’s going to move up to 175 and go after ‘Krusher’ Kovalev, who is viewed as a vulnerable champion.
Smith recently won the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] tournament in beating WBA super middleweight champion George Groves by a seventh round knockout in the final last September in Saudi Arabia.
“The unification fights, that’s what we want, that’s what we’ve said to Eddie Hearn,” said Gallagher said to skysports.com. ”They’re the big fights we want…there’s a possibility if no one wants to dance with us at super-middleweight, that we’d move up and fight Kovalev. I think that would get everyone excited, but they’re the type of fights we want for Callum Smith.”
Kovalev would likely beat Smith with ease. Now that Kovalev is boxing instead of slugging, he would potentially make Smith look like he had two left feet. Smith had problems beating former kick boxer Nieky Holzken in the WBSS tournament. All Holzken did was box Smith, and he gave all kinds of problems.
Kovalev recently beat World Boxing Organization 175 lb champion Eleider Alvarez by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night on February 2 to avenge his loss to him last year. Kovalev is now the WBO light heavyweight champion once again, and he’s said to be interested in unifying the 175 lb division. Just what Kovalev would get from fighting Smith is unclear. Smith holds a title 168, so he’s got nothing for Kovalev at 175.
Kovalev isn’t going to move down to 168 to fight Smith for his WBA title. The only thing Smith and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing can offer Kovalev is money. However, Kovalev is co-promoted by Top Rank, and they have a deal with ESPN. If Hearn were to try and put a fight together between Callum and Kovalev, he would surely want that fight to be shown on DAZN. Under that condition, there’s no reason why Top Rank would be willing to put together between Kovalev and Smith if it means that the fight will take place on DAZN rather than ESPN.
The boxing public in the UK would like to see a fight between Kovalev and Callum Smith, but that fight wouldn’t likely generate a lot of interest from American boxing fans, especially the casual fans. Smith isn’t a big enough name for a Kovalev-Smith fight to register on the Geiger counter. There might be money for Kovalev to be made fighting Smith in the UK, but again, it won’t likely happen if the fight has to be shown on DAZN rather than ESPN.