Fighting Talk: Is it end of the line for Smith?

Andre Ward, right, punches Paul Smith during a cruiserweight boxing match in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, June 20, 2015. Ward won when Smith's corner threw in the towel in the ninth round. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Andre Ward, right, punches Paul Smith during a cruiserweight boxing match in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, June 20, 2015. Ward won when Smith's corner threw in the towel in the ninth round. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Elite Boxing’s champion Luke Blackledge feels it could be the end of the line for former British super-middleweight supremo Paul “Smigga” Smith.

Clitheroe’s Commonwealth belt-holder questioned the Real Gone Kids’ hunger and motivation for the sport having originally come in 4.4lbs over the stipulated catchweight for his contest with Andre Ward.

The 32-year-old, who scaled heavy again on a second weigh-in the following day for the 172lb bout, was eventually stopped by the American in the ninth round at the Oracle Arena in California as trainer Joe Gallagher threw in the towel.

Smith was reportedly charged $60,000 of his $225,000 purse for his failure on the scales.

Blackledge said: “He was awful. He’s supposed to be a professional athlete so to come in significantly overweight is not good enough. He looked old and out of shape and he didn’t look fit to fight either.

“Fair enough he was fighting the best in the world, but that wasn’t the best Andre Ward we’ve seen. He’s been out for well over a year.”

Alex Matvienko’s student added: “He was a good fighter in his day but he might be past it now.

“He should’ve made the weight for a fight like that. How can you not get yourself motivated for a fight of that magnitude?

“I think it’s time for him to hang his gloves up and vacate that number five slot in the British rankings.

“If that was me I would’ve been in the best shape of my life. I’d have given 100 per cent to make sure I was fully prepared for that fight.”