This Saturday on BoxNation in the United Kingdom, Liam Smith returns to action to defend his WBO junior middleweight title against Predrag Radosevic in Liverpool.
Here's a look at this matchup.
Liam Smith vs Predrag Radosevic
Record: 22-0-1 (12 KO) ... Streak: W17 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'9½" / N/A ... Age: 27
Thoughts: Liam Smith is arguably the weakest "world champion" in all of pro boxing right now. He's a pretty good fighter, and that's not the argument. But as a world champion, here's what he's done:
- Won a vacant title against John Thompson IV, whose career highlight was winning a Boxcino tournament
- Defended against Jimmy Kilrain Kelly, who was undefeated but had never faced anyone even near the world level
- Now facing Predrag Radosevic, whose one fight at a top level saw him get destroyed
This happens fairly frequently, that fighters masquerading as "the world champion" are matched light, or protected, but in Smith's case, it's about as low a level as possible right now. Radosevic is not any more a challenge on paper for Liam Smith than Jimmy Kelly was, he's also never beaten anyone near the higher levels, and when he fought Felix Sturm in 2013, he was absolutely dominated and stopped in four rounds.
This wouldn't even really be a good fight without calling it a world title fight.
Record: 30-1 (11 KO) ... Streak: W3 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 9-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'10" / N/A ... Age: 31
Thoughts: Radosevic is probably not a bad guy. I'm sure he's going to try his best here, as he did against Sturm. I'm sure he'll lose, as he did against Sturm.
Apart from the Sturm fight, what does Radosevic have for notable bouts? Not much. Nothing, really, but let's pick the best of what he's got.
- A UD win over Shalva Jomardashvili in May 2012. Jomardashvili was 32-4 at the time, but that is a highly inflated record. He's lost to pretty much everyone remotely decent that he's ever fought, including Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Nadjib Mohammedi, Zsolt Erdei, and plenty of fighters not as good.Today, Jomardashvili fights as a 5'9" heavyweight with a 69" reach.
- A TD-9 win over Virgilijus Stapulionis, who was 19-1 coming in and is managed by Egis Klimas, who handles Sergey Kovalev. Stapulionis, like Jomardashvili, has not done well against actual competition.
- A win last May over Giuseppe Lauri, an Italian veteran who started his career as a lightweight and has been a stepping stone guy at 140, 147, and 154. Since June 2010, Lauri is 5-12.
So there's really just not much here at all.
Matchup Grade: D-. If it weren't a title fight I might call it a D+ out of kindness. But they're advertising this and hyping this as a world title contest, while the challenger is not a contender and the champion has yet to actually be tested during his reign, which is becoming downright farcical.