WBA ‘Super’ World super middleweight champion Callum Smith (25-0, 16 KO’s) has seen his hopes of a dream fight at Anfield against former two-weight king Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KO’s) dealt a major blow, according to trainer Joe Gallagher.
28-year-old Smith had hoped to secure a first defence at Anfield the home of his beloved Liverpool football club, after he knocked out George Groves to claim the WBA and ‘Ring Magazine’ titles as well as the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Whilst Ward had been an opponent touted by team Smith prior to his victory over Groves and one of few names who interests ‘Mundo’.
Joe Gallagher, trainer to Callum and his brothers, has admitted that the costs to secure Anfield as the venue and Ward as an opponent has complicated plans for a fight in May.
In an interview with Sky Sports Gallagher said: “There’s lots of hurdles we have to overcome yet, from what I’m hearing. I’m led to believe as well it’s cheaper to hire out Wembley than it is Anfield, which is really disappointing.
“Liverpool boxing fans, the city itself have been screaming for a huge event, a boxing event, for it to happen in the city, and with it [Anfield] getting its entertainment licence, everyone thought it was all systems go.
“But until they be more reasonable with their hiring and the pricing of the venue, of the stadium, and not only that then, there’s other factors – getting the right dance partner for Callum Smith.”
Andre Ward is the preferred opponent for the Liverpudlian and despite retiring in 2017, after defeating Sergey Kovalev for the second time in successive fights, he has hinted on numerous occasions at a return to boxing.
Pound for pound contender Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and WBO World champion Gilberto Ramirez are two other options for Smith, but Gallagher is hopeful a deal can be struck for Ward to be his next foe.
He continued: “Callum Smith is who we’ve always talked about fighting Andre Ward, and I know from what I’m hearing, Andre Ward wants silly money to come out of retirement,” said Gallagher.
“If that’s the case, I don’t think either Usyk or Callum Smith will ever get to fight Andre Ward, but I’m sure there’s a deal to be done somewhere, and that is the fight.
“That’s a bigger fight and a better fight, Callum Smith against Andre Ward, than Usyk against Andre Ward.
“I know the challenge for Andre to fight Usyk and all the world cruiserweight belts is there, but as good a fighter as he is, I don’t think that’s going to fill any stadiums either in the Ukraine, or in the UK, or in the US.
“I think the only stadium fight that’s available there, that makes sense, is Callum Smith versus Andre Ward at Anfield in Liverpool.”
Article by: Andi Purewal
Follow Andi on Twitter at: @AndiPurewal