Callum Smith spoke with Sky Sports about his upcoming World Boxing Super Series final with George Groves, about potentially fighting that bout in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and more, but there was a comment he made that for me, a boxing fan, stuck out.
“I turned pro to be a world champion. Obviously that’s the first goal, but I want to be the best in the world. It sounds silly, but there’s a difference. You can be world champion, but ranked No. 6 in the world, with there being four champions.
”But I want to be the No. 1, and I think beating George Groves does that, or if not, puts me up there. Then I can go on and try and beat the other champions and cement that position. No. 1 in the world is the ultimate goal for me. A win over George Groves puts me there or thereabouts.”
And I thought, “How refreshing!” A professional fighter who can admit he understands the difference between being the best in the world and simply being one of boxing’s four-to-seven “world champions” in any given division.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a world champion, even a paper champion. Go ahead, call yourself the champ. You earned it, by hook or crook, or however it happened. I’m just saying we all know there’s a difference between the two, and it’s nice to see a respected top contender say it, too.