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Sergey Kovalev option for Callum Smith at Anfield – Joe Gallagher

Sergey Kovalev

By Charles Brun: Trainer Joe Gallagher reveals that he would like Callum Smith to face former unified light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev in Anfield in Liverpool. Gallagher says Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) is well known in the area due to his recent fight against Anthony Yarde, and he’d be an ideal opponent for Callum for that venue.

Joe says Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) needs a high profile name for his fight in Anfield in order to bring in the boxing fans. Gallagher doesn’t want to have an opponent that can only bring in 10,000 to 15,000 fans. Anfield has a seating capacity of 54,000.

Smith defends against Ryder on Nov.30

Callum Smith will be back in action at the end of this month against WBO mandatory John Ryder on November 30 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) is making a defense of his WBA Super World middleweight title.

Although the fight is seen as a mismatch by most boxing fans, Gallagher isn’t looking past the threat that Ryder poses to Smith. He feels it could be a tough fight, even though Ryder previously lost to Smith victim Rocky Fielding.

Gallagher says an impressive victory for Callum over Kovalev could put pressure on Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) to agree to a fight with him. Right now, Callum’s resume is too thin for him to lure the big names like Canelo and Gennadiy Golovkin to come over to fight Callum in Anfield. That could change if Callum defeats Kovalev in short order.

Kovalev is a GOOD name for Callum at Anfield – Gallagher

“Whether Matchroom, Sky and DAZN have enough money to bring Canelo over and whether they have the kind of money to bring GGG over,” said Gallagher to Boxing Social. “Those are the type of opponents that you’d want for it,” said trainer Joe Gallagher to Boxing Social about top fighters that he’s interested in to face Callum Smith at Anfield in Liverpool.

“I think Kovalev is a good name for Anfield. I think he has a good profile over here from his fight against [Anthony] Yarde.

“He just fought Canelo in a close fight until he got stopped. Obviously, if we fought Kovalev and did it quicker and better than Ward or Canelo had, then that creates more pressure to make the Canelo. Whichever,” said Gallagher when asked if he would want to make the Callum vs. Kovalev fight at 175.

The timing of getting Kovalev to come over to Anfield to face Callum is bad. Kovalev just lost to Saul Canelo Alvarez by a 2nd round knockout on November 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Callum fights Kovalev right now, he’s not going to get ANY credit from the boxing public.

Kovalev’s star power has dimmed

It’s hard to imagine a huge crowd would turn up to see Callum fight Kovalev at Anfield. Moreover, it wouldn’t be easy to get Kovalev to agree to fight Callum unless Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn offered him a lot of money. Kovalev reportedly got $12 million+ for his fight against Canelo.

The 36-year-old Kovalev probably isn’t going to agree to come over to fight the hard-hitting 6’3” Callum in Anfield for chicken feed. How much would it take to get Kovalev to come over to the UK for a fight against Callum would depend on how eager he is for a payday. If Kovalev is satisfied with the big payday he got against Canelo, it could take many millions to bring him over for a fight against Smith.

Callum may need to move to 175 for big fights

“First and foremost, we have the John Ryder fight,” said Gallagher. “I think it’s quite disrespectful to overlook John Ryder and talk Anfield too much when we haven’t gotten passed John Ryder yet. Callum Smith was lighter than John Ryder at the check weight. The kid can make the weight and do the weight.

“The only talk about 175 is to get the big fights, because we can’t get [David] Benavidez and [Caleb] Plant because they’re over with Al Haymon, who is with Fox, and they won’t work with Eddie Hearn or Matchroom and DAZN.

“So as much as we want, we CAN’T get them. And so we move up to 175, and there’s more fights up in that division. So that’s the reason why we’d do it. But at 168, it’s not a problem,” said Gallagher.

It’s academic at this stage of Callum’s career that he only has one direction to go in for him to get important fights. He’s got to move up to 175 to get the name fighters to face him, because he’s NEVER going to get the top 160 or 168-lb fighters to face him.

Callum wants Canelo and Golovkin to fight him at 168, but that’s a PIPE DREAM. It’s not going to happen. Those guys have no reason to want to fight a super middleweight, who arguably should be fighting at light heavyweight.

Gallagher: It’s unfair to call Callum Smith a ‘Weight bully’

“To say he’s a ‘weight bully,’ I think that’s a big unfair,” said Gallagher. “There are a lot of big fighters for weight divisions. Lawrence Okolie is a big cruiserweight. Tommy Hearns was big for a welterweight, and you’ve seen him fight at cruiserweight,” said Gallagher.

Unfortunately for Callum, the perception out there in the boxing world is that he’s a WEIGHT Bully, who fights in a division below his body size. The reality is Callum is HUGE for the super middleweight division, both in height with his frame.

Gallagher argues that Callum can still easily make the 168 pound limit for the super middleweight division. That doesn’t matter though. He’s seen as a light heavyweight by a lot of people, and he’s not getting the fights that he wants.

If Callum stays at 168, there’s a good chance he’ll be frozen out by the top fighters for the remainder of his career. He might get some fights when he gets older, and has lost a few steps but it probably won’t be against a big name. Smith isn’t particularly charismatic, and not a great talker like some British fighters.

If Smith moves up to 175, he could build a name for himself by taking on champions Artur Beterbiev, Jean Pascal and Dmitry Bivol. Wins over those guys would turn Callum into a household name with many boxing fans around the world. Of course, if Callum lacks the confidence to beat those guys, then maybe he’s better off staying at 168. The drawback to that move would be the fact that he’ll likely never get the big fights that he wants.


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