According to Frank Warren, promoter for Liam Smith, a deal is getting very close for a mandatory fight against WBO junior middleweight world champion Sadam Ali.
Warren is currently negotiating with Ali's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, and the two sides are close to deal. He believes the fight will be finalized by next week.
“That’s going to happen,” Smith’s promoter Frank Warren told Boxing News. “I’m in negotiations with Golden Boy. I was hoping to get it done this week but early next week we’ll have that resolved."
There has been some talk of the contest potentially landing on the undercard to the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch on May 5th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas - but Warren would not confirm or deny those rumblings.
Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs), a former WBO champion, captured the belt in October 2015 with a seventh round stoppage over John Thomspon.
He made two defenses of the title, with knockout victories over Jimmy Kilrain Kelly and Predrag Radosevic.
In the biggest fight of his career, he suffered a ninth round stoppage loss at the hands of WBO world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View in September 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
He bounced back with three wins in a row - including two victories over Liam Williams, with the second fight - which was sanctioned as a WBO final eliminator - taking place last November.
Ali (26-1, 14 KOs), who sports a near identical record, suffered a knockout loss at the hands of Jessie Vargas in March of 2016.
He then won three fights in a row, including a decision win over Johan Perez.
And then Ali pulled off the biggest win of his career, when he won a twelve round unanimous decision over four division world champion Miguel Cotto last December at Madison Square Garden in New York to capture the WBO title.
The win over Cotto was a huge upset as many saw the bout as a mismatch with Ali moving up from 147. Cotto retired after the fight.