Paul Smith has admitted he is an Andre Ward fan ahead of his fight with the unbeaten American but believes his opponent’s inactivity could prove decisive.

The Liverpool fighter will travel to Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California to fight him at an agreed catchweight of 172lbs.

Smith enters the fight off the back of consecutive but competitive losses to WBO super-middleweight world champion Arthur Abraham but maintains that Ward’s 19-month layoff could play into his hands.

“I’ve watched him time and again. I was an Andre Ward fan. I’m sure I’ll be an Andre Ward fan after the fight,” he said.

“But inactivity isn’t good for any fighter and any fighter will tell you that and you have to stay busy.

“This is fight night where I believe you do need that sharpness and, of course, I need every advantage I can get.”

The former British super-middleweight champion admitted his surprise at being offered the fight, but could not have turned it down.

“To be honest, I’ve never visualized being in the ring with Andre Ward.

“That route was for the likes of other fighters who reached levels of world title, world champions, you know, at the end of the day.

“I was offered the fight that came up and I was never going to say no to a fight with Andre Ward.”

Having boxed Abraham in Germany both times, Smith claims he has no qualms about travelling to Ward’s backyard and believes it will enhance his performance.

“I think I fight best away from home and I think I’ve proven that in time. So there’s no pressure with this fight especially when you’re away from home.

“There’s no pressure to perform. I do feel to perform better away from home and you’re in a hostile crowd.”