By Terence Dooley
Paco Valcárcel, the WBO’s President, took to Twitter this evening to announce that the organization has decided not to sanction an immediate rematch between their 160lb title-holder Arthur Abraham and Britain’s Paul Smith.
Abraham defeated Smith in Germany last month by scores of 117-111 (twice) and 119-109, from Waleska Roldan, Zoltan Enyedi and Fernando Laguna respectively. The third card generated a lot of flack, with some pundits and fans calling for an immediate rematch. The WBO have instead opted to keep Smith in their Top Five, which keeps him in the title mix. They also condemned Laguna’s lopsided card.
‘Resolution on #AbrahamSmith to be notified on Monday,’ stated Valcárcel. ‘Rematch petition is DENIED. What caused controversy was margin of scores, not result. Furthermore, due to @PaulSmithJnr's inspired performance Championship Committee recommends he retain his Top 5 position in the WBO Rankings. More on #AbrahamSmith, we are the first ones to condemn scoring of this fight, particularly Laguna's outrageous 119-109 for Abraham card.’
Smith, 35-4 (20), was written off by some going into his first world title challenge, but he kept his nerve, pushed the titlist hard and earned plenty of respect in defeat. Ironically, and now the dust has settled, Laguna's wide scorecard kept the spotlight on the fight, and therefore Smith's brave losing effort—the post-fight furore and WBO response could help propel the Liverpudlian into another world title shot. The 32-year-old went over to Germany with nothing to lose and, despite the defeat, he still has something to gain on the world stage.
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