Boxer & Pundit
Stephen Smith's fight will be the hardest to watch, says Paul Smith
Last Updated: 16/09/15 2:40pm
Stephen Smith's IBF super-featherweight eliminator with Devis Boschiero starts three months of the Smith brothers going into their biggest battles so far, so who better to set the scene than big brother Paul...
We are counting down to the biggest fight of Stephen's career so far and I've got to be honest, my nerves have gone already!
It is going to be a busy few months for my brothers but it is this first one that is worrying me the most. In fact, the nerves went ages ago.
The younger brother syndrome always comes in with him and as I am the oldest, protective one. Stephen is the purist, not the scrapper
Callum is not only the last one in November, but it is the one I am least worried about. It is a fight we've been calling for for ages and we know all about Rocky Fielding, so I am very, very confident, he will win - I even think it is a straightforward win.
Liam has that world title shot in October but it doesn't really worry me, even at that level. Liam's had a lot of scraps in the street and is one of those kids who you expect to be in a fight anyway - in the ring these days.
Stephen though, was the total opposite as a kid and I always worry about him and always will. The younger brother syndrome always comes in with him and as I am the oldest, protective one. Stephen is the purist, not the scrapper.
But ever since he lost to Lee Selby, I have never been the same when it comes to watching him fight. I just can't watch him without being a bag of nerves.
God knows what Stephen was going through after that loss but I was in bits. Boxing on the same card was bad enough but the way it ended in that ninth round was horrible. I never thought that would happen to any of my brothers but all of a sudden it did.
In the build-up this fight with Boschiero, Stephen, being Stephen, has been a little bit harsh on himself saying he's only got one chance and this is it. I never dreamed I would get two world title fights or a big fight out in America, so you never say never. But I do understand Stephen's mentality: it means it is all or nothing in the ring. And that's him.
It could be a game, it could be deciding what food to have, it could be anything, even a Sudoku or a puzzle (and he is the only one of us that can do them!). He will not do anything half-heartedly and we will see that on Saturday night. He is backing himself to win it and that's why he's saying those things - and that is the right mindset and motivation he needs.
I've seen one or two clips of the Italian and he looks decent enough but I know Stephen and especially Joe Gallagher will have gone through it meticulously.
People might well overlook Stephen. That is probably down to inactivity but since he joined Matchroom his career has gone from strength to strength and his performances are getting better and better. Add the new addition to his family in little Leo and he couldn't be happier. He's in a really good place, so now is the time to capitalise on all of that and win the biggest fight of his life and set up a world title shot.
I will be part of the Sky Sports team at ringside but I will definitely go and see him in the dressing room and probably walk behind him and then take my place next to Johnny [Nelson] and Jamie [Moore].
Don't worry I am not a nail-biter or a swearer, and I will be there to support my youngest brother, just like Callum and Liam.
I'd like to think me and my brothers are knowledgable when it comes to boxing and I know when I am in the ring, the first voice I hear is Joe's, then come my brothers' no matter how noisy it is. We will all be behind him. I am actually looking forward to this one, and having seen Stephen have his check-weight with the Board on Tuesday, he is looking great.
I am obviously going to side with my brother but I am going to be honest and back him to stop Boschiero, late on. Stephen is relentless and doesn't hold back and he is going to leave it all in the ring.
I really do think it will all catch up with the Italian in the late rounds and Stephen will win. I know it won't catch up with me - my nerves went ages ago.