Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith 29-2 (21) had arguably the most dangerous assignment in boxing on Saturday night when he challenged WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 20-0 (20) for his three world titles at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.
The 33-year-old Brit had small pockets of support on social media, with some boxing fans and pundits convinced he could find a home for his fight-ending left hook against the 38-year-old Russian, who had to survive some rough moments in his previous bout against Anthony Yarde 24-3 (23) one year ago.
This time the normally slow starting Beterbiev came quickly out of the gates, stamping his authority on the fight from the opening bell as he broke down and stopped Smith at the 2:00 mark of the seventh, a round that saw the challenger on the canvas twice.
Smith is now trying to process how it all went wrong.
“I’m disappointed. I’m used to being the best. I believed I was the best and to accept that I’m not is a hard one to take,” Smith told Sky Sports.
“The better man won tonight. He stopped me getting into my rhythm. He’s good at just touching, touching and he stopped me getting any momentum.
“He’s a bit like my brother Liam. He’s just always constantly touching, it’s just that his touching is a little bit harder. He’s stopped me but up until the knockdown I didn’t feel anything power wise. It’s more that he’s constantly touching you and stopping you getting any sort of rhythm.
“No excuses. The better man won tonight. My performance wasn’t the best but he’s a good champion. He turned up and done what he’s meant to do.”
Smith won the World Boxing Super Series with a seventh-round knockout of George Groves 28-4 (20) in September 2018 to claim the WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles. He parlayed that success into a shot at Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 60-2-2 (39) in December 2020, losing by wide unanimous decision before moving up to the 175-pound weight class.
As of right now, Smith is unsure what his future holds.
“I’ve always set the bar very high. I’ve always wanted to be the best. I’ve always believed I was the best and now it’s hard to take that I’m not,” Smith said.
“I’ve got an amazing family at home. I give a lot to boxing. I think win or lose, I didn’t want to stay in boxing for a long time. I’m not making any decisions but it’s time to assess the future and see if I’ve got any goals that motivate me to go back to the gym. If not, we’ll see.
“I’m going to go and spend time with my family. I’ve been a little bit quiet over Christmas. I’ve got two little ones at home and I’ve missed them this week so I’m going to go and spend some time with my family and then we’ll see what the future holds.”