It’s unfortunate that Luke Blackledge’s brave challenge for Callum Smith’s British super-middleweight title ended the way that it did. It really didn’t have to.
Though Blackledge was giving a really good account of himself, Smith barely had to endure even a moment of discomfort and had his brutal way with the former Commonwealth champion throughout. Blackledge went down in the third and he was hurt on multiple occasions thereafter.
An obvious mismatch on paper had become an even more dramatic mismatch on canvas.
Thus, when Blackledge went down in the eighth round, you felt that either the referee or Blackledge’s corner would seize the opportunity to call a timely halt to the slaughter.
The stoppage didn’t come, however.
Instead, Blackledge clung on until the tenth, only to be drilled with a counter left-hand that left him thoroughly unconscious.
— Shaun Smith (@Shaun_Smith_84) December 10, 2016
— Joe Cox (@JosephCox) December 10, 2016
Much of the reaction on Twitter came from those in awe of the spectacular finish but there were also plenty of comments from those who felt that it should never have happened.
— Goose Springsteen (@GooseC1) December 10, 2016
What a knock out !!! @CallumSmith23
— anto malone (@antomanwell58) December 10, 2016
— eliott baily (@bailythesnake) December 10, 2016
— David Farragher™ (@DavidFarragher) December 10, 2016
Disturbing end to Callum Smith v Luke Blackledge, which went on far too long. Ref needed to save Blackledge 3 rounds ago. On his feet now.
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) December 10, 2016
Sky wouldn't even show a replay of the KO
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) December 10, 2016
I seriously hope Luke Blackledge is ok. Callum Smith will be a world champion for sure. This game really is a brutal one.
— Tommy Coyle (@TommyCoyle89) December 10, 2016
It was the 17th stoppage win of Smith’s near punch-perfect 22-fight career. Blackledge drops to 23-3-2 as a pro.