Callum Smith: ‘I believe best version of me can beat anyone in world’

The last time we saw Callum Smith on a big stage he got his you know what handed to him by Canelo Alvarez.

Smith fought bravely but had neither the skill set nor the resilience to compete on the same level as the Mexican superstar, who won a one-sided decision to unify two 168-pound titles in December 2020 in San Antonio.

Will anything be different when Smith faces another star Saturday in Quebec City, Canada (ESPN, ESPN+)?

Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is set to challenge 175-pound titleholder Artur Beterbiev, who has stopped all of his 19 professional opponents to become one of the most feared fighters in the world.

The Englishman says he’s ready for the challenge.

“I’m in a good place mentally and physically, and I’m ready to perform,” Smith said Thursday at the final news conference. “… This will be exciting. He’s a very good fighter. He’s a three-belt champion. So, his achievements speak for themselves.

“But, I believe in myself. I always have. I believe that the best version of me can beat anyone in the world. I fully stand by that.”

Smith moved up to light heavyweight after the setback against Alvarez. And he moved on from trainer Joe Gallagher in favor of Los Angeles-based Buddy McGirt.

The 33-year-old feels good about the new arrangement, which has produced back-to-back knockouts of Lenin Casillo in 2021 and Mathieu Bauderlique last year. He believes he’s a better fighter than he was in 2020.

“I’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years with Buddy McGirt,” he said. “And the time is now. I’m ready to become a two-division world champion. I’m being presented with the opportunity this weekend, and it’s an opportunity I plan on taking.”

McGirt also believes in his protégé.

The Hall of Famer fighter-turned-trainer respects Beterbiev, arguably the most intimidating fighter in the world, but he implied that a lot of people are going to be surprised come Saturday night.

“He’s very underrated,” McGirt said of Smith. “I think a lot of people underestimate him. He’s going to really showcase what he can do on Saturday night. You can’t go into the fight thinking about his record. We know what’s in front of us. We’re not stupid. We know that it’s a tough test.

“We’re prepared for that. If you’re worried about that, you’re in the wrong business.”

We’ll see how prepared Smith really is.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie