Former junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith put in his usual hard effort, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Mexican veteran Roberto Garcia on scores of 98-92, 99-91, and 99-91. Bad Left Hook also had it 99-91 for Smith.
Smith (29-2-1, 16 KO) is still a plenty capable fighter, having moved up to middleweight for his last two outings, both victories. He went 3-0 on the year for 2019, beating Sam Eggington, Mario Lozano, and now Garcia, a 39-year-old who came in on short notice but gave it his own usual go, and has still never been stopped.
Smith, 31, could still be an interesting opponent for plenty of guys at 160, or even back down at 154 if he were able to still make weight.
Smith, who did good body work and hurt Garcia repeatedly to the breadbasket, was not overjoyed with his performance, despite the deserved wide scores.
“I was good in parts,” Smith said. “I feel Roberto Garcia is made for me; come-forward, quite slow, slow hands. He seemed to blow heavy from the start, but that must be his style. I’ll have to watch it back, but I feel I was good in parts. I’d give myself a C.”
Josh Kelly UD-10 Wiston Campos
Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KO) won on wide scores here, dropping Campos in the 10th round and taking the cards on tallies of 98-91, 99-90, and 99-90. Bad Left Hook had it 98-91 for Kelly, but the Brit had more trouble with Campos (31-7-6, 19 KO) than he probably wanted to, and more than was probably expected, even if Sergio Mora pretended after the fight that Campos was selected for his toughness as an opponent and not as a tune-up for Kelly following his draw with Ray Robinson in June.
Kelly, 25, has the Olympic background and some obvious talent, but the flaws are also very evident, and if he actually goes ahead and fights European champ David Avanesyan next, that could prove a terrible matchup for him. Maybe Kelly will rise to the occasion, mind you, but Avanesyan is active, on a roll, confident, and comes to fight every time out. Kelly gets hit a fair amount for a guy with his style, doesn’t jab as much as he probably should, and isn’t some big puncher or anything. We’ll see if they do it, but Avanesyan seems incredibly dangerous for Kelly to me.
All that said, this was a breezy, perfectly enjoyable, sometimes chippy fight, easy to watch.