By Charles Brun: In flashbacks of Dillian Whyte’s pullout of his fight with Otto Wallin last year, Callum Smith has come down with an injury, and now has exited his risky fight that had been scheduled against unbeaten Pawel Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs)on March 11 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.
It’s unclear what the extent of Callum Smith’s injury is, but whatever it is, he’s now free & clear to wait for his WBC-mandated title shot/payday against IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev without the risk of losing out on that opportunity.
Some boxing fans on social media see Callum’s injury as oddly similar to how Whyte pulled out of his fight with Wallin last year when he was on the verge of a lucrative fight against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
As bad as Whyte looked in his last two fights against Fury and Jermaine Franklin, Wallin would have made easy work against the faded fighter, who is fighting on the level of fellow countryman Derek Chisora at this late stage in his career.
With Calllum (29-1, 21 KOs) off the card, which will be shown live on DAZN, the ultra-talented super middleweight contender Diego Pacheco will slide into the headliner spot against Jack Cullen.
Some boxing fans felt all along that Pacheco vs. Cullen was the best fight on the card and deserved to be the main event over Callum Smith, who has done next to nothing with his career since his blowout loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2020.
The 21-year-old Pacheco (17-0, 14 KOs) is a talent destined for world honors and going some place, and he clearly deserved to be in the headliner spot from the jump rather than the 32-year-old Callum, who has been stagnating since getting embarrassed by Canelo.
It’s likely that Callum will now press for his immediate title shot against Beterbiev because it’s too risky for him to fight anyone in the interim unless he’s matched against a similar fodder-level opponent that he was fed to ‘earn’ his guaranteed title shot.
The timing of Callum Smith pulling out of the card is bad because with DAZN raising the prices for their annual subscription to the next galaxy Andromeda, there are tons of fans canceling their subscriptions with the streaming giant.
Many aren’t keen on watching the Youtuber boxing that DAZN is now showing, while many Americans have complained about the obscure UK fighters they’ve never heard of before and aren’t interested in subsidizing.
With Callum Smith vs. Pawel Stepien off the card, these are the remaining fights for the March 11th card:
- Diego Pacheco vs. Jack Cullen – Headliner
- Robbie Davies Jr vs. Darragh Foley – co-feature
- Mickey Ellison vs. Thomas Whittaker Hart
- Rhiannon Dixon vs. Vicky Wilkinson
- Johnny Fisher vs. Alfonso Damiani
- Aqib Fiaz vs. Dean Dodge
- Paddy Lacey vs. James McCarthy
- Campbell Hatton vs. Michel Gonxhe
- George Liddard vs. Daniel Przewieslik
- Peter McGrail vs. TBA