As an amateur, Liverpool native Paul Smith captured the imagination of the British public by winning a Silver Medal at light middleweight during the 2002 Commonwealth Games and "The Real Gone Kid" turned pro to considerable fanfare four years ago.
Since that time the Sports Network promoted fighter has found it considerably more difficult to garner attention despite having fought at the MEN Arena in Manchester no less than eight times, but recent developments in his career may change this situation.
In March of this year, Smith, 20-0 (12), recently captured his second belt, the vacant WBU International Middleweight title, via an 8 round TKO over Belgian journeyman, Alexander Polizzi, who had previously gone the distance with such decent European level operators as Mariusz Cendrowski, Antonio Perugino and Dirk Dzemski.
Before the Polizzi clash, Smith was carefully matched against limited domestic opposition and got the job done in all 18 bouts, including a win against an outgunned Dean Walker in October of last year to annex the vacant Central Area Middleweight title.
Smith's most recent fight and toughest on paper was on the much publicized UK vs. US Contender TV show tournament two weeks ago against the regarded American Jonathon Reid. who came into the bout with 34 victories and just 5 losses. Despite coming off losses to fighters such as Ossie Duran and Jesse Brinkley, Reid was still considered Smith's most dangerous opponent so far.
The American's biggest claim to fame was going four rounds with William Joppy for the WBA Middleweight title in 2000. At the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, Smith produced an excellent performance to become only the third man to beat Reid by TKO in his career.
Standing 5 foot 11 inches, Smith is a decent sized middleweight and appears to be an excellent prospect in the works, however after 20 fights it is certainly time for the level of his competition to be raised. The Liverpool man could face perhaps fellow undefeated Ulster middleweight "Ireland's" John Duddy, 19-0 (15), who is planning on a return to Ireland this summer after fighting in the US for his entire career to date.
Other options include the current European Middleweight Champion, Finland's Amin Asikainen who is also 20-0 and largely untested bar his most recent fights. Whatever follows, more of a test needs to be found for Smith, and if he is not ready for European honors, or even perhaps British, after this amount of time in the fight game, then he may never be.
Smith appears a mature fighter for 24 years of age, showing good skills in the ring, and despite his lack of fame throughout his home country, it seems certain that he could press for European or even World honors one day before his career is over.
Things seem to be going this way after Smith's last effort, although he hasn't been pressed to the max of his abilities yet and therefore is still much an unknown, talent wise. He will be wished all the best; good luck, Paul.