'Crafty' Smith destined for the top, according to Ortiz

Vergil Ortiz has predicted a future at the very top of the sport for the “slick” Dalton Smith.

On Saturday at the Sheffield Arena the promising Smith – who is trained by his father, the respected Grant Smith – defends his British and Commonwealth super lightweight titles against Sam Maxwell.

His preparations for Saturday’s fight have included visiting Manny Robles’ gym in California, where he sparred Ortiz – similarly recognised as one of the world’s most exciting fighters at 147lbs – and Ortiz has become convinced by his potential.

A week later the 26-year-old Ortiz fights Eimantas Stanionis at San Antonio’s AT&T Center, and he told ProBox TV: “Dalton is a pretty good fighter. He’s very crafty; he’s a slick fighter. He can catch you when you don’t think he can catch you.

“Of course [I can see why people are excited about him]. He definitely has a lot [of potential].”

Asked how far he believed Smith, also 26, could therefore go, Ortiz – who alongside Jaron Ennis is expected to succeed Terence Crawford and Errol Spence at the top of the welterweight division – responded: “He can go really far. 

“Just, do what you’re supposed to do – train hard at the gym; put in everything you got – and it works. It’s a simple formula. Work hard and it’ll show up in the ring in the fight.

“He impressed me.”