Darren Barker has described Dalton Smith as “special” and “exceptional” but says there is no need to rush the Sheffield fighter.
Smith fights at home this Saturday night live on DAZN headlining a show for the first time in his career.
The 25-year-old faces Sam O’Maison for the vacant British super lightweight title at the Sheffield Arena.
‘Thunder’ has passed every test with flying colours so far and is a huge favourite to win the Lonsdale belt.
Like Barker many are tipping Smith for the very top but the former world middleweight champion, now DAZN pundit and commentator, says the world names at 140lbs are a long way off.
Writing in his new column for DAZN Barker said:
“Some fans will get excited about the prospect of fights against Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez if Smith gets the win on Saturday, but in my eyes, he needs at least another five fights before facing names of that calibre.”
“The likes of Garcia and Lopez are not just the top names in the division, but also in the sport of boxing.”
Barker mentioned domestic names Lewis Ritson and Robbie Davies Jr as potential opponents in the future for Smith.
Davies Jr is also promoted by Matchroom, while Ritson is part of the ranks at Probellum. Both are former British champions but could be the type of fighters that prove whether or not Smith is good enough to move up a level.
Barker, who regrets not defending the British title he won in 2009, mapped out his own route for Smith if he wins on Saturday.
“A few defences of the British title, a European title fight, then followed by fringe world level or gatekeeper opponents would be the right path Smith, and if he passes those tests with flying colours, I’d give him a good chance of winning a world title in the not so distant future.”