With great risk comes great opportunity for the British Super-Middleweight champion Paul Smith Jr as he travels to Kiel, Germany to attempt to dethrone the reigning WBO Super Middleweight champion of the world ‘King’ Arthur Abraham on the 27th September.
Arthur Abraham is largely considered one of the weakest, if not the weakest, of the current world champions holding a world title strap in the 168lbs super middleweight division. Smith’s promoter, Eddie Hearn has stated his belief that Abraham is coming to the twilight of his career and could be there for the taking but that is arguably true of both fighters. This is likely to be Paul Smith’s one and only shot at world title glory which may just give him an extra edge to perform to his maximum which he will need to if he is to stand any chance of winning. Despite lacking speed he has good power in his shots which ultimately gives him a chance. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain whilst his opponent has everything to lose and given the fact that this is a voluntary defence, Abraham will likely be viewing this as an easy fight and is therefore in danger of under estimating the challenger.
However, despite being ranked at number five with the WBO Organisation, Smith enters the fight as a massive underdog and has had many corners of the boxing fraternity questioning whether he actually deserves to be given a world title shot. A good working relationship between the Sauerland Bro’s and Matchroom Sport combined with Paul Smith representing a relatively low risk for relatively high money given that he has a strong fan base, have undoubtedly been favourable factors at the negotiation table. A large number of fans will travel over to Germany to support the popular Scouser.
Paul Smith was knocked out against two of Britain’s brightest prospects in George Groves who was then 12-0 and James Degale, a then 8-0 novice and both of those fighters have come on leaps and bounds in the professional ranks since they fought him. Talented fighters Groves and Degale are still yet to win a world title.
After a good victory over Tony Dodson, he has fought his last two bouts against journeyman in the shape of Jamie Ambler, a fighter with a terrible record of 10W 52L 2D and unknown Spanish fighter David Sarabia who has an equally unimpressive record of 7W-3L-2D. Looking at the calibre of opposition for his most recent fights, it is certainly hard to build a case that he has earned that world title shot and they will not have provided him with great preparation.
To his credit though, he has long been the benchmark in standard for the British title and has dominated at domestic level for a long time albeit without being able to progress onto the world stage. He is also in a stable of talented fighters and despite lacking those names on his fight resume will have been prepared well with quality sparring and conditioning.
On paper you would expect a knockout win for the champion, who has fought the best of the best in the Super 6 tournament, but the fight takes place on a different canvas and Abraham will need to keep to his highest standards to ensure the victory as I would expect the best Paul Smith to turn up. The challenger will know that he has to go for it as he is also likely not to be given any favours on the scorecards with the fight being on Abraham’s home turf in Germany.
Paul Smith Jr: W35-L3 (20KO) 52.62%KO
Abraham: W40-L4 (1KO) 28KO 63.64%KO