Can Paul Smith become the latest British world champion on Saturday night in Germany? Hard hitting Arthur Abraham stands in his way and it will be no easy task to take that title from the champion. Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, is renowned for leaving no stone unturned in preparing the perfect game plan and having his fighters in prime condition for each contest, and this will be a vital requirement if Smith is to dethrone Abraham.
Abraham fights with a very high and tight guard and possesses plenty of power, and sometimes looks like a sleeping beast that needs to be woken up by his opponent. He likes to fight in bursts, especially in the last 30 seconds of each round, which is a common thing in Germany from the home fighters, or Arthur Abraham’s adopted home country in his case.
With 40 wins and only 4 defeats to his name, two of them coming from the division’s kingpins Andre Ward and Carl Froch, this looks like a straight forward defense on paper for Abraham and the odds suggest no different. I see Abraham doing what he does best, hold the high guard and let Smith come onto him and burst forward with flurries of punches looking to land that finishing blow.
Smith might have been in with George Groves and James DeGale but that was in the early stages of their careers, both winning by stoppage. I don’t like to compare fighters on who they have beaten or lost to but could you see Smith going the distance with Andre Ward or Carl Froch? If Smith is to win this fight he will have to fight at a high work rate with plenty of movement and try making Abraham miss when he does drop the high guard and throw those hard hitting punches. For me Smith has not shown enough in his 35-3 pro career to suggest he has what it takes to become world champion by beating Abraham, but where there is a will there is a way, and there is no better man than Joe Gallagher in setting up the perfect fight plan.
Smith will need to use angles, work hard to the body to try bring down the high guard, and pick his punches well when Abraham charges forward leaving himself open. It’s vital that he utilises every inch of the ring and not get caught in the center scrapping, or it could be an early night. If Smith can box and move, mentally be on the ball for every second of the fight and try not to get caught too often, he has a chance, but for me I see Abraham being able to break Smith down with heavy shots and defend his WBO title.
Article By Davy Boland