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Boxing Results: Callum Smith beats John Ryder, then calls for big names

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By Charles Brun: Callum Smith did what he had to do for him to beat John Ryder in a fight much closer than the scores handed down by the judges at the M & S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. In the end, Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) stayed undefeated in winning a 12 round unanimous decision over his mandatory challenger Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs), but he probably didn’t win any new fans.

Ryder, 5’8″, was giving away a lot of size and power to Smith. He made up for his lack of power with his pressure. Although Ryder was getting hit with some big shots occasionally from Smith, he continued to pressure him and wore him down in the later rounds.

Ryder’s wore Callum out

The fight proved that guys don’t need a lot of power to wear down the bigger punchers. They just need to stay in long enough to wear them out with volume-punching, and Ryder was doing that. In the 11th and 12th, Ryder had Smith in distress, and holding on from the shots he was hitting him with. Smith, who was bleeding from his right eye and nose, looked exhausted and beaten.

The victory enabled Smith to retain his WBA 168-lb title, and move forward to possibly a big money fight. Smith wants Saul Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin or Billy Joe Saunders.

It wouldn’t be surprising if he gets none of those fighters to bite. Canelo would likely easily beat Smith. This would arguably be a big step down for Canelo from his last fight against Sergey Kovalev.

Smith didn’t fight like a world champion

The performance by the 29-year-old Callum showed that a lot of boxing fans have been rating him too highly by saying he’s the number 1 fighter at 168, because he might not even be a top 5 guy in reality. After tonight, Smith will be viewed as a paper champion by a lot of fans, and compared to his brother Paul Smith in terms of talent.

Ryder looked like the winner

The fans on social media complained bitterly about the decision, saying that it was a ROBBERY, and that Ryder was given a raw. He did fight well enough to win, but not with this set of judges tonight.

The judges had it 117-111, 116-112, 116-112. This writer scored it for Ryder 115-113. He did enough to deserve the victory, but he was fighting in Callum’s backyard in Liverpool, and there was little chance that he was going to be given the decision.

Even Smith’s own promoter Eddie Hearn appeared flustered and visibly shaken at the end of the fight when he tried to give a positive outlook to Smith looking bad. Hearn told the crowd of pro-Smith supporters that it could be “easier to make fights” for him. Hearn was then promptly booed is if on cue by the crowd. Smith might get the big names to fight him, but he’s probably not going to beat any of them.

Smith may have problems getting big names

Callum could be finished if he faces a big name. If Smith is lucky, Hearn will set him up in a fight against Canelo Alvarez, and he’ll get a good cash out payday like Sergey Kovalev did earlier this month. If Callum is unlikely, hell wind up with a smaller payday against a nonstar, and still wind up losing.

“Sometimes when you don’t put in a blistering performance, it makes it easier to make fights,” said Smith’s promoter Hearn moments after the fight. “It was never going to be easy for Callum tonight.”

On the contrary, a lot of people thought it was going to be a very easy win for Smith heading into the fight. A lot of people were predicting an early knockout win for Smith, and they were giving ‘Gorilla’ Ryder NO chance of winning. But he showed them what a fighter can do that has a ton of heart, and the engine to fight hard for 12 rounds. In no way did Ryder possess the same kind of punching power as

Callum came unglued

“I thought that was harsh,” said Ryder. “And I thought I forced the fight, he was just nicking rounds, if that. I thought I done enough to win that.”

Ryder had Smith bleeding from the right eye, and nose from his accurate shots. Smith was initially cut from a clash of heads in the sixth, but the cut worsened from the hard shots from Ryder.

Callum TURNED his back on Ryder and walked away after a clash  of heads

Smith lost composure as the fight wore on, as he complained openly to the referee when the two would clash heads. In the 9th, Smith turned his back and walked away from Ryder after they bumped heads. It was an amateurish move on Smith’s part, because a more aggressive fighter would have taken advantage and brained him to the back of the head.

You NEVER turn your back on your opponent during a fight, especially when the referee hasn’t stopped the action. Smith fought like an amateur, but was lucky that the Ryder didn’t have enough power and talent to take advantage of it. Smith is also lucky he was fighting at home in Liverpool, because this same fight might have gone Ryder’s way if it were staged in another location.

“I want the best names in the division and I’m not disrespecting John Ryder but there was no fear tonight,” Smith said to Sky after the fight. “I didn’t believe John Ryder was good enough to beat me. There are fighters that I believe are good enough to beat me that don’t perform and that’s going to bring out the best in me. That’s what I want, I want the big names. It wasn’t the best performance from myself, but I was due a bad one,” said Callum.

Bellew believes Smith pulled it out in championship rounds

“I don’t believe for a minute he will want Callum Smith!” said Sky pundit Tony Bellew about Canelo Alvarez. “Callum for me, was the one that won tonight, and won in a way that he didn’t need to win. He did what champions do, found the reserves in the later rounds.”

A lot of boxing fans would disagree with Bellew about Smith winning the fight in the championship rounds. It was Ryder, who fought better in rounds 10, 11 and 12. Smith was worn and exhausted, and mainly holding on to try and slow Ryder down.

After the performance Ryder put in, he deserves a rematch against Callum, but he probably won’t get one. Hearn is already talking about wanting to try and match Callum against a big name. He’s not going to have him fight Ryder again, no matter how controversial the results where. This is all about business, and not about the sport.


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