By Scott Gilfoid: Paul Smith (38-7, 22 KOs) came up empty in losing a wide 12 round unanimous decision to WBA World super middleweight champion Tyron Zeuge (21-0-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at the Rittal Arena in Wetzlar, Hessen, Germany.
Zeuge, 25, knocked Smith down in the 11th round. It looked like Smith had stumbled before getting hit, but the referee still called a knockdown. It didn’t matter. Smith was well behind on the scorecard at the time.
The final judge’s scores were 119-108, 119-108 and 119-108. Boxing News 24 scored the fight 119-108. Smith hurt Zeuge with a big right hand in the 3rd round. However, Smith wasn’t able to take advantage of the situation, as he seemed like was unwilling to empty his gas tank to try and shoot for the knockout. That’s what Smith would have needed to do for him to win.
Zeuge dominated the fight with his jab. The jab was the key for the 25-year-old German Zeuge, as he was able to keep Smith at bay all night long with this weapon.
Smith looked good in the last quarter of the fight. Some of the right hand bombs that Smith landed on the chin of Zeuge would have knocked out a lot of guys. Where Smith went wrong is he started WAY too late with his pressure and power shots. If Smith had been fighting like that from the 1st round, I think he would have worn Zeuge down and possibly stopped him. But it looked like Smith was pacing himself, waiting until the last few rounds to start letting his hands go.
I think Smith was afraid to wear down by throwing a lot of shots. Smith’s trainer should have lit a fire underneath his backside to force him to fight at a faster pace in the first three-fourths of the fight, because that’s really where Smith lost the fight. It was a winnable fight for Smith if he’d attacked Zeuge from the outset and fought tooth and nail like his career depended on it. Smith didn’t do that. He played it safe until the 9th, and by then, he’d lost the fight.
Smith, 34, had the better power of the two, but he wasn’t using it with any sense of urgency until the 9th. Smith started to land his right hand bombs fairly frequently starting in the 9th. Smith still failed to go after Zeuge the way he need to for him to get the knockout.
It was obvious going into the fight that Zeuge was going to use his steady jab to pound out a decision, as that’s his best weapon. Like a lot of German fighters, they’re trained to use their jabs as their primary tool to win fights.
Watching Zeuge tonight was like watching other German fighters like Felix Sturm and Robert Steiglitz. They both use their jabs to control their opposition, and makes them hard to beat unless you jump on them with power shots. Smith wasn’t willing to go after Zeuge in the way that he needed to for him to disrupt him and make him uncomfortable. The reason for that, I believe, is Smith was afraid to gas out if he attacked Zeuge all-out. To be sure, Smith might have gassed out in looking to wear Zeuge down, but at least he would have had a chance to win the fight.
Smith surely wasn’t going to beat Zeuge by boxing him or looking to land single right hands all night long. Smith fought like he believed that he could score a one-punch knockout. Smith isn’t that kind of a puncher unfortunate when facing quality opposition. Smith can knockout the 2nd and 3rd tier opposition with single shots, but he wasn’t going to be able to do that tonight against a quality fighter like Zeuge.
It doesn’t matter that Zeuge is probably not better than the 10th best fighter in the super middleweight division. He’s still a top guy, and Smith can’t crack hard enough to knockout the elite level opposition.
This was Smith’s best chance to win a world title. It was Smith’s third time fighting for a world title. It’s unlikely that he’ll be getting another world title fight. Zeuge is the weakest of the 4 world champions at super middleweight in my opinion. The fact that Smith couldn’t beat Zeuge suggests that it’s not going to happen for him.
After the fight, Smith didn’t say whether he would retire or not from boxing. He’s been a pro for 14 years since 2003. Smith has been in with the likes of Arthur Abraham x 2, Andre Ward, James DeGale, George Groves and now Tyron Zeuge.
Smith can continue fighting if he wants, but I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to do much if he can’t beat any of the contenders. Smith has been spoiled in the last 3 years of his career in the fact that he hasn’t had to beat any of the top contenders in order to get three world titles shots against Arthur Abraham [twice] and Zeuge. It worked for Smith to just fight C-level opposition to get world title shots. Smith’s promoter got him the title shots. However, I don’t see Smith getting anymore gift world title shots UNLESS he starts fighting contenders and beating them. Smith’s loss to Zeuge isn’t the end of the world for him.
Smith CAN get another world title shot, but it will require for him to likely beat guys like Andre Dirrell, Callum Smith, Anthony Dirrell, Jose Uzcategui, David Benavidez or Chris Eubank Jr. If Smith can beat one or more of those fighters, I can see him getting another world title fight. But that’s where the hiccup is. I don’t think Smith can beat any of those guys, and I do not see him even trying to fight them. Smith has already shown what he does. Coming events cast their shadows before.
Smith will go back to fighting 3rd tier opposition and hope for another world title shots. That’s what Smith does. It’s too bad he probably won’t try and beat a contender, because at this point, I think that’s the only way back for Smith. Smith had had 3 world title shots thrown into his lap without him having to achieve to get them. Now it would be nice if Smith would actually work his way to a world title fight rather than have it given to him on a silver platter by his promoter.