By Luke Reddy
BBC Sport at Madison Square Garden
Callum Smith floored Hassan N’Dam three times in three rounds as he delivered a clinical display to defend his WBA super-middleweight world title.
Liverpool’s Smith, 29, looked so poised against the French-Cameroonian, landing a left hook to score a first-round knockdown at Madison Square Garden.
Another left hook in round two, and a right in the third finished the fight.
N’Dam made it to his feet in the third but the bout was waved off as Smith made it 26 wins from 26.
“It was all about the performance this week and I wanted people to sit up and take notice,” Smith told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I knew if I stayed patient I would land and the fight played out as I thought it would.
“I’m pleased to be back and I want some big fights now. I’m huge for the weight and it’s getting tougher but I can still do it and I believe I can clean up.”
This was a destructive picking apart of a fighter who held a minor version of the WBA World middleweight title in 2017 and who showed his toughness when he beat respected Briton Martin Murray last time out.
Smith is often said to benefit from being physically big at super-middleweight but his growing skill set shone through when he took the title from George Groves in September and it did again here in his first defence.
In New York, he has appeared every inch the world champion. He oozed calm, was business-like at media events, and on the weighing scales on Friday, held a confidence that seems to have blossomed since landing his title.
Under the Madison Square Garden lights, he found clever counter punches and when he backed his opponent up before the finish in the third, showed craft in working head and body, while also showing the know-how to pull out of attacks when chances disappeared.
He appears to be developing into a truly dominant force and calls to face the world’s bets paid fighter – Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – will likely intensify.
Whether the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion will want to move up from 160lbs to 168lbs to face Smith in this form is another question.