InstantBoxing.com’s Gary Mushrow caught up with Dennie Mancini award winning trainer Joe Gallagher earlier this week. We spoke about his fighter Paul Smith and his recent challenge to WBO king Arthur Abraham, chances of a rematch, the career landscape of undefeated world rated prospect Callum Smith, as well as touching on Quigg – Frampton. Here is what he had to say:
Speaking upon Paul Smith’s recent defeat and travelling to Germany in the past: “Don’t know about a bad taste [Germany], more like a hangover. We came back from Germany on Sunday; I know there is only an hours time difference but we were absolutely shattered and emotionally drained.
Eddie Hearn has already been on to the WBO and the President announced the other day that the Spanish judge [Fernando Laguna] had really screwed up big time and hopefully now they will look at that.
[Felix] Sturm is fighting [Robert] Steiglitz in November so there is an opportunity for Abraham to fit in a Paul Smith rematch maybe February/March time next year. I said on the night to Eddie Hearn and Adam Smith that we need to get that fight back here – break the bank and bring it to Liverpool. It’s alright having the mandatory and having it back in Germany but you seen those score cards the other night, he could have knocked that kid down six times on the night and still wouldn’t have received the decision. So the point is – get him out of Germany; four defeats with the twice he’s lost being in Helsinki and then America.
Matchroom now have got this massive pay-per-view vehicle here; Paul Smith versus Abraham at Anfield – a football stadium, Scousers who love their boxing – massive fans all the way up from grass roots level, David Price who’s a Sauerland fighter versus Anthony Joshua, Callum Smith versus George Groves who’s a Sauerland fighter, get [Tony] Bellew and Rocky [Fielding] on there and they’re all fights that could happen. It could be massive.
That ground would be packed out; 45,000 at Anfield next year, Arthur Abraham wouldn’t know what had hit him! Neutral judges, a great venue – that would be a fantastic night for the city and a great advert for world boxing.
Liverpool is a great fight city but I don’t think its had its marquee show like the others have had. Manchester had Benn – Eubank, Wembley had Froch – Groves and I think Liverpool needs that moment.”
On whether the WBO would be reluctant to order a rematch in fear of opening up a can of worms and controversy, “I suppose definitely they’d be worried about the ramifications of ordering a rematch because right or wrong it leaves the door open for other people to say ‘well you didn’t do that for us’.
I think that if this was in the Nevada state [NSAC] and there was a bad official, they’d bring them in and question them about what they were watching and all we’re saying is that the Spanish judge should be made do the same. In fact he should be struck off, I’ve looked at some of his previous fights and he’s always quite wide of the mark compared to other scorecards.
119-109? I don’t know what he was watching – maybe on his phone? It was a really bad decision. You’re talking about professional boxers who are putting their careers on the line and their family’s incomes on the line and everything else, then to have a judge who is supposed to be a professional judge behave inadequately – he shouldn’t be anywhere near a boxing ring.”
Questioned on if Smith doesn’t happen to get the rematch, then whats next: “Obviously their is Anthony Dirrell, they’ve been in touch about a possible fight, Andre Ward’s team have been in touch so Paul Smith’s performance was positive. Obviously when Matthew Macklin got beat by Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez and others were then in contact to fight him because he was seen as such a credible opponent.
Paul Smith is in the same type of category at the moment and his performance regardless if he gets a Dirrell or a Ward type of fight, was superb. Paul is in the shop window now for some huge fights.”
Pressed on the news about Callum Smith’s recent WBC eliminator contest being finalized: “People don’t understand. Callum has not even been pro two years yet and some are criticizing his opponents. All the time he has been professional they [Matchroom] have matched him well, getting him fights at the right time – Patrick Mendy, Tobias Webb and going over to America and having a fight out there.
The kid he is fighting this week is of a good standard, he’s been in there with Matthew Macklin so he is credible and it’s all part of the learning curve. People need to remember, Callum didn’t make the Olympic team but now after the Olympics is over, he has progressed far faster than anyone else on that team.
He’s fighting Sjekloca who has been in there with Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham and he’s been around for a good while. The fact is he’s facing Callum Smith in a WBC eliminator or even a final eliminator and that’s great news for us.”
On Callum by-passing the British title scene: “I told him he could be like Ricky [Hatton] and Amir [Khan] who both went past domestic level pretty quickly. Ricky won it once and Amir just fought for the Commonwealth title against Willie Limond, so he could be the exact same.
He’s 24, he hasn’t got his man strength; if we can smash and grab a world title at super-middle then we will do. But in the long term future his weight division will be the light heavyweight division – that is where he will be operating.”
Asked about the likelihood of Scott Quigg versus Carl Frampton: “Listen, we want the fight. Eddie Hearn has been in touch with the McGuigan’s but we don’t know what their contractual situation is. Frank Warren has put out a message saying they [Frampton] are still under contract to Boxnation and Eddie Hearn has put some emails and phone calls into them that have yet to be returned.
I know that Carl Frampton is out until next year and in the mean time we need to crack on and fight. Whether we fight Rigondeaux or whoever else next, the [Kid] Galahad fight is there also but we really do want the Frampton fight. If their asking us to sit around and wait until Carl Frampton is ready to fight which is maybe May/June next year [because of the Chris Avalos IBF mandatory] then we’re not going to.
If we can get it made for Paddy’s Day next year then lets get it made. The ball is in their court.”