By Frank Warren
The launch show of our groundbreaking partnership with BT Sport went off with a bang on Saturday night in Manchester, with the most telling shots fired by the two Liams in a much-anticipated fight that didn’t disappoint.
It was the classic encounter we all expected it to be, with the only downside being the premature ending due to the open gash on the eyelid of Williams.
It is always a great pity when an absorbing contest ends in this fashion, but you have to appreciate the concerns of trainer Gary Lockett over the wellbeing of his man. It would have been interesting, however, had the doctor been summoned to make the call and, if a clash of heads had been deemed the cause of the injury, then the scorecards could well have come into play.
We will never know now and an ending such as this demands one thing – a rematch.
There has naturally been a lot of comment and conflicting views over the way the fight concluded and that is all part of the game. What cannot be argued is that Smith was coming on strong and we were in for one hell of a finish, but you cannot legislate for injuries and it was so unfortunate for Williams given his display in such a pulsating fight.
The WBO world interim title remains unclaimed due to Beefy checking in carrying a pound or two of excess rump and, bearing in mind Canelo has just confirmed he won’t be fighting again at 154lbs, it was a costly mishap.
We moved heaven and earth to get Smith the opportunity – Williams was already in a qualifying position – and we did this because I believe I owe him. He has been so good with me all along – loyal and top class.
It makes the mid-round claim by his trainer – suggesting the promotional team wanted him to lose – a little hard to take, but probably the least said about this the better.
One thing is for sure, Liam knows better. He has got a class about him and is his own man. I have spoken with him personally and he told me he wants to make the rematch. It was refreshing to hear because there would be easier options out there, believe me.
I will try and make it with a fitting title on the line because it is what both fighters deserve. We promote both of them and I like the two of them immensely.
Williams showed that he belongs in top company and was particularly impressive in the way he set about his work. The fact that he was ahead on the scorecards with three rounds to go is to his great credit and I am sure he has a big future in front of him whatever happens.
If we can get the deal done to everyone’s satisfaction, Smith-Williams II is a massive fight for us all to look forward to in the summer and would be a welcome addition to our bumper schedule, where the next stop is the Leicester Arena on April 22 for another blockbuster card.
More from Frank tomorrow on who will be next to fire up the Turbo