British super middleweight champion Paul Smith Jr (35 – 3) has told WBN that promoter Eddie Hearn is currently in talks with the Sauerland brothers over a voluntary defense of the WBO title currently held by Arthur Abraham (40 – 4).
The WBO number one contender, one part of the four fighting Smith brothers, is looking forward to an encounter with ”King Arthur” later this year once the dust has settled on the meteoric occasion of Froch vs. Groves 2.
”Eddie’s got another meeting with the Sauerland’s and I’m hoping to have it all finalized. I didn’t expect it to happen this week because I know it’s a busy week for everyone but it should be all done and dusted this week and we’ll get a fight on for the Autumn in Berlin, probably.” Smith revealed to World Boxing News at Wembley.
”It’s a great time (to be fighting Abraham at an advanced stage of his career), but anytime would be a great time for me to get a world title so I’ll take whatever I can get. I’m not going to go in there naïve thinking he’s finished by any means. Arthur Abraham, what he was eight/nine years ago as a middleweight was phenomenal and has been for so long but because of that, being around for so long having so many fights, I can capitalize on that. But I’m under no illusions I know what I’m up against – Arthur Abraham is a worthy world champion, a multiple world champion and he’s someone that’ll be the best opponent that I’ve fought so I’ll need to be at my best to try and match him and beat him and I will be at my best.”
Meanwhile, much noise has been made of younger sibling Callum Smith (11 – 0). After his latest quick fire victory over Tobias Webb (14 – 1 -1) earlier this month, Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn could not praise his gifted prospect enough and has a problem finding him suitable opponents to match the current stage of his career, although Paul objects to any idea of fast tracking.
”There’s fast tracking and then there’s being stupid. Callum would be the first to tell you he wouldn’t be fighting for the world title in his next five fights. Although he’s there ability-wise he’s got to learn the trade – he’s a baby, he’s only a young lad, he’s 24.”
Whichever route the career of ‘Mundo’ takes, it appears ‘Smigga’, 31, will be the first of the Smith’s to contest the elusive world title which currently evades all four brothers – something that may have surprised fans, somewhat, while the careers of Liam and Stephen see them knocking on the doors of a world title, and so much being made of Callum. But Paul is just happy to be in line and there is no competitiveness amongst the brothers, but he insists big things will come for the youngest Smith.
”He’s an exceptional talent – the best talent we’ve got in this country by far and he’s my brother. It wouldn’t bother me if all three of the lads went and won a title before me as long as I win won. I don’t care who gets there first it’s not a competition. We’re all one – hundred percent behind each other and supportive.”
”I’ve said about the British title – I’d give Callum the shirt off of my back let alone the British title or the World title if that would be the case but Callum will get there in his own time. There’s no point in rushing Callum when he will beat whoever is put in front of him anyway. Let him learn his trade. He’s still working hard and learning things in the gym. Callum himself knows most importantly he’s not the finished article – he won’t be for another five or six years but he’ll always be near there and he’ll always get there.”
Working as an analyst for Sky Sports this weekend, Smith will be watching with great interest as a pundit and most of all a fan. He’s struggling to pick a concrete winner of the main event, although he insists the under card holds some interesting match ups that are far from conclusive.
”It’s a massive event and I have been picking Froch just because I think it’ll get into that dog fight – and I think it’ll get into that dog fight early. And if you had to pick one the fighters to come through a slugfest it’s got to be Froch. I think Groves could make the fight his fight because I don’t think Froch could deal with the speed so, there’s so many what – ifs and I don’t think anyone would criticize any fan or pundit for picking the wrong outcome this week because it’s such a close fight. Most of the time I feel like getting a coin out of my pocket and tossing it. It is that close but I’m getting excited to be part of it as a fan and as a pundit getting the luxury of sitting on the outside and watching.”
”I know Gonzales (Degale’s opponent), I’ve watched him a few times. His trainer Virgil Hunter is in his corner and he’s a knowledgeable man who I rate. There’s a lot of stuff going about where people don’t really rate him or think he’s any good but, he’s one I rate he’s a good coach. I’ve listened to his advice in the corner and that’s the kind of advice I’d want in my corner. He reads fights well, he judges fights well and he certainly trains good fighters so that’s already a little tick in the column for Gonzales but, he has a quality opponent in James Degale, an Olympic gold medalist and rightly so. I’ve shared a ring with him myself and I know first hand how good he is and awkward he is. I can see Degale coming through that on points and I can see Kevin Mitchell doing the same. We’ll be in for some good fights on Saturday, there’s only a handful of fights but they’re quality fights.”
Follow Lee Elford on Twitter at @LeeElford for Froch v Groves tweets during fight week and fight night
Froch v Groves is live on HBO in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK this Saturday night from Wembley Stadium in London