Weekend Takeaway: Smith scores big, Taylor scrapes lucky win

Callum Smith

Some highs and lows for Eddie as his Stateside adventure continued in New York on Saturday evening.

On a night that delivered more headaches than pleasure for Eddie Hearn, one of the big winners for the Matchroom stable was Liverpool’s, Callum Smith. Even though Cameroonian jack-in-the-box Hassan N’Dam is known for his resilience, and ability to keep recovering from knockdowns, Smith is a different animal. Coming in huge at 168 pounds (still not sure how he makes that weight) against a man who should be boxing at middleweight -or considering retirement- Callum is an explosive puncher.

N’Dam felt the full force early on, displaying his customary solid beard. At some point, N’Dam needs to be reeled in and saved from his bravery. There was little chance of him turning the one-sided contest around; only a heavy beating would ensue. Referee Charlie Fitch made the right call ending his evening in the third round. As Smith’s highlight knockout replayed on the big screens, and across DAZN to American subscribers, he enhanced his case for entering the mix as a future Canelo opponent.

Hearn’s golden girl Katie Taylor endured a struggle against the resistance and persistence of rugged Delfine Persoon. Despite having built up an impressive resume over in Belgium, experienced Persoon was not expected to present too many issues for talented Taylor. It did not play out that way for the unbeaten Bray boxer.

Persoon came out firing; displaying a technique that left a lot to be desired but was a grindingly effective one. The apparent gap in class closed as the fight wore on. Persoon’s incredible engine narrowed the disparity before Taylor suddenly found herself in a firefight. Not used to opponents fighting back with such intensity, round after round, Taylor was forced to stand in the trenches and slug it out. Persoon was landing consistently in the later rounds. At times slightly liberal with the head, pulling a few nefarious tricks from the locker, 32-year-old Katie showed that she was not afraid to slug it out. The majority decision victory was unpopular in some quarters, though not out of order. Even though Persoon can justifiably claim to be hard done to, given the amount of effort she put into the bout, it was close throughout. A rematch is certainly required as Taylor claimed Persoon’s WBC strap to become unified lightweight queen.

Jamie Moore made the correct decision to withdraw Tommy Coyle after the eighth round of his fight with Chris Algieri. Moore pulled out a fighter whose influence on the fight had been steadily declining; a man who has been in a lot of hard fights. Matthew Macklin repeated numerous times on the broadcast that Coyle is dangerous when hurt. That may be true, but he was getting hurt too frequently; prompting Moore’s compassionate intervention. Coyle is a quality human being who has plenty left to give away from the ring. It’s probably time he hung up the gloves.

Josh Kelly took an excellent step-up in class against Ray Robinson. These are the type of learning fights Kelly needs. The Sunderland man is talented but needs to get more credit in the bank before showboating through fights to such an extent. It was a close fight, with a draw probably about right. Kelly is a decent fighter, but he won’t live up to the type of projections some have made about him. He’s not the next Lomachenko – but that’s OK. Leave him to develop.

Eddie’s light-heavyweight hope Joshua Buatsi has floated under the radar for long enough. Following a comprehensive fourth-round dismissal of once-reasonable Mexican contender Marco Antonio Periban, it’s time to let Buatsi off the leash now.

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