BBN's resident boxing expert Jordan Neild takes a look into betting odds for Smith-Ryder:
WBA 'Super' world super-middleweight champion Callum Smith (26-0) faces mandatory challenger John Ryder (28-4) this weekend as he returns to his home city of Liverpool for the first time in over two years. 'Mundo' has cemented himself as a world class fighter over the last couple of years and he will be looking to put on a statement performance for his home fans, epecially with a dream stadium fight at Anfield on the horizon should he continue to keep winning.
John Ryder is a credible opponent and has got a new lease of life since jumping up to super-middleweight and has finished his last four opponents inside the distance. ‘The Gorilla’ has endured an up and down career but has never been fazed by being an underdog and, if anything, the tag will suit him come Saturday night.
The 29-year-old Merseysider fighting out of the home corner carries some noticeable physical advantages and he is quite possibly the hardest punching super-middleweight on the planet and it will take an exceptional talent to be able to give away physical advantages to Smith and emerge victorious.
Despite Ryder’s form, it is tough to see him get the better of Smith on Saturday night, but he is a very durable and skillful opponent and his only stoppage defeat, to Nick Blackwell in 2015, was controversial. To this day, no one has pushed two-weight WBO world champion Billy Joe Saunders as far as Ryder did in their 2013 British and Commonwealth middleweight title fight. One judge scored it 114-115 to Saunders, the other two had it 113-115. Only Chris Eubank Jr has managed to get more rounds given from the judges when he lost on a split decision to his bitter rival in 2014.
He is slick, skillful, a natural fighter with incredible technique and free-flowing boxing moves and has recently proven that he can pack a punch. His losses, notably to Jack Arnfield, have been down to laziness, a lack of discipline and motivation, but he will be up for this fight with Smith, the biggest of his career.
Callum Smith is a monster at his weight and it just doesn't seem possible for him to make the 168lbs limit due to his sheer size, but he did, again. He weighed in the exact same as Ryder as they both tipped the scales at 11st 13lbs 7oz.
Smith's ability to fight on the outside, the inside, at range; his confidence as the no.1 super-middleweight in the world, his brutal power... it just looks to be a very solid bet on Saturday night but at the prices, it may be worth a gamble to back Callum Smith to win by decision @ 5/2
Craig Glover vs Chris Billam Smith
The chief support is a very intriguing cruiserweight contest with both men at very similar stages of their careers. A win here could really put them into contention for some big fights both domestically and on the European scene, in 2020.
Tony Bellew-managed Glover is heavy handed and very highly regarded in Liverpool and the two losses on his record have come in fights where he was the favourite. His first defeat was over the four-round distance, which can happen to inexperienced fighters. More recently he was stopped by Vaclav Pejsar in two rounds, a fight that is hard to process given Glover was the overwhelming favourite. His stand out performance to date came against Simon Vallily who he dominated on away soil. If that version of Glover turns up on Saturday night, he is a problem for any cruiserweight in the country.
Billam-Smith on the other hand, is coming to the ring on the back of a loss in a closely contested fight against Richard Riakporhe, in July. Billiam-Smith is also very heavy handed and his fight against Riakporhe could of went either way. He brings a really good amateur pedigree and won’t be fazed stepping into the away corner.
Both fighters carry the power to end this fight in an instant, but they could show each other a great deal of respect and with both of them lacking experience as pro’s, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if this one did end up going the distance. Very tough on to call but the fight to go the distance @ 11/5 looks a good bet.
Tom Farrell vs Sean Dodd
Also, on the undercard, Tom Farrell and Sean Dodd clash over ten rounds at super-lightweight. This is somewhat of a local derby with Farrell hailing from Liverpool and Dodd being from just over the water, in Birkenhead. Both men know each other well and are friends and former sparring partners.
As so often the case when former sparring partners fight each other, they will know each other’s game, inside out. The loser of this fight would be facing a long road back to contention and for Dodd, especially it could signal the end of the road.
Dodd is a former commonwealth champion and was unlucky not to win a British Title at lightweight but he has endured a difficult last couple of years and has lost three of his last four fights. Farrell is six years younger than Dodd and his two career defeats, to date, came against Ohara Davies and Phillip Bowes, both good fighters in their own right who have gone on to campaign at a very good level.
Judging by the records, this fight looks certain to go the distance. It may well come down to who is the fresher fighter and you have to side with Farrell. It could be a cagey affair, with both men very familiar with the others style and Farrell to win on points @ 5/6 looks a really solid bet.
James Tennyson vs Craig Evans
Another really interesting clash to land on this undercard and one that has really gone under the radar during fight week. Tennyson is a former world title challenger at super featherweight but has looked really well since his overdue move to lightweight and has stopped his last three opponents. He has 21 knockouts in his 25 wins as a professional and the Belfast man carries serious power at this sort of level.
Craig Evans was a very good amateur and has carried his slick boxing style into the paid ranks. A very entertaining trilogy with Thomas Stalker in 2015/2016 really put him on the domestic map and he poses a problem for anybody with his awkward style.
This fight looks a classic case of puncher vs boxer and although a lot of the opening rounds may be cagey, you would expect that Tennyson will be able to land some heavy shots, at some point. The Belfast man’s power at this sort of level may be hard to keep up with, although Evans could make it awkward in the first half of the fight. All things considered, Tennyson to win between rounds 7-12 @ 9/4 is the bet for us.
Callum Smith to win by decision @ 5/2
Craig Glover vs Chris Billam Smith to go the distance @ 11/5
Tom Farrell to win by decision @ 5/6
James Tennyson to win between rounds 7/12 @ 9/4