Hogan put himself in pole position to challenge the winner of the WBO light middleweight world title fight between current champion Saddam Ali and former titlist Liam Smith with a points win over the Manchester fighter in Brisbane on Saturday night.
The suggestions are Team Hogan would like Smith to emerge victorious from that May 12th clash as the pair’s representatives had talked about making the fight before – not to mention the Irish versus English element appeals promotional-wise.
If the Joe Gallagher-trained fighter and former Canelo Alvarez foe does emerge victorious, Kelly claims Hogan Smith is a fight he would certainly enjoy taking in.
“I think Dennis is a lot more awkward than I gave him credit for. A fight with Smith would be tough for both men. I would enjoy it as a fan,” Kelly told Irish-Boxing.com.
Kelly, who had to deal with a bizarre medical situation just 24 hours before the clash, would have taken a massive step toward a second world title shot if he had won a battle between the WBO #2 and #3 fighters on Saturday,
However, he admits Kildare’s Hogan was a deserved winner in the gruelling eliminator – although he did, rightly, feel the scorecards [119-109, 117-111, 117-113] made for harsh reading.
“I thought the fight started well and ended well for me. I don’t agree with the scorecards. The right man won but not by those margins. I think there was a point or two in it but I have no complaints.”
“The experience fighting in Australia was great. I really loved the place and people. I have plans to be back again.”
Both of the world title eliminator participants were vocal before the DDP-promoted event, with Kelly particularly making a deliberate attempt to rattle ‘The Hurricane’.
However, the pair exchanged kind words post the fight and Kelly believes overcoming late notice ‘serious situations’ to compete for 12 rounds meant he left Australia with the respect of Hogan, his team, and boxing fans in general.
“It’s all just mind games to try and annoy the other fighter. It’s part of the sport. I don’t take it personally and I know Dennis won’t,” Kelly added with regard to the build-up.
“I’d like to think after 12 hard rounds you get that respect for each other. Dennis and his team were aware of serious situations before the fight and I’d like to think any man would take their hat off to me if they knew the situation and what I went through.”
Indeed, the first thing DDP boss Paul Keegan would say in the aftermath was “we’ve talked a lot of shit in this camp but Jimmy Kelly has the heart of a fucking lion. He could have walked away.”
“We want to work with this man again. This man deserves everyone’s gratitude. We would love to work with this team again.”