Smith ready to put controversy from first fight behind him…
Paul Smith will face WBO super-middleweight champion Arthur Abraham in Berlin on Saturday night, but can he go one better in their rematch and bring home the title?
Abraham vs Smith 2 press conference: (Video) War of words begins between pair.
Abraham vs Smith 2 head-to-head: (Video) Rivals face off in Berlin.
Paul Smith gets advice from Eubank Sr: Former champion knows where Smith can win fight.
Although the 32-year-old was left sickened by the gap in the judges scorecards last September when he lost to Abraham on a unanimous points decision, ultimately this rematch is happening for that very same reason.
The controversy that it created and the outcry for a rematch that followed have ensured that he gets a second chance at the title and he insists that he will realise his childhood dream on Saturday.
However, given that he has had to travel to Germany again, he can’t afford to leave any doubt in the mind of the judges even though they will be under intense scrutiny, as ‘King Arthur’ will still get the benefit of the doubt on ‘home soil’ if it’s close.
Trainer Joe Gallagher has predicted a shoot-out between the pair as he claims Smith will need a knockout to make sure that he wins the fight. While that may well be more mind games than reality, if the Merseysider can’t claim a stoppage then he will have to outwork his opponent throughout.
Smith landed some solid shots in the last fight and used his jab well, but Abraham responded in the latter stages of rounds and may well have landed the more eye-catching punches.
In addition, another factor that many have suggested went against the challenger was that the majority of his shots were on the gloves and arms of Abraham, and so he wasn’t likely to score well even though he appeared to be the busier man.
Nevertheless, the difference this time round is that he has those 12 championship rounds under his belt, he knows he belongs at this level and can mix it with an experienced and heavy-hitting champion.
Smith insisted this week that while he went into the last fight believing he could win, he now knows he can win. The British champion will need that belief on Saturday night as Abraham comes in looking in better shape after struggling to make the weight last time and he won’t be surprised at how skilled an operator Smith is this time round.
Many will argue that Smith had his best chance last time out. George Groves provided Carl Froch with a huge scare in their first meeting but then suffered a crushing knockout in the rematch. Abraham will be looking to repeat that situation, and it will be up to Smith to make a fast start and dominate the fight without getting reckless.
Prediction: Abraham to win in rounds 8-12.
Watch the first fight in full as Abraham defends his title: