It was quite a sight to see Joe Smith Jr walk into the ring as the champion as the favorite. He has so often thrived in the role of underdog. Time and time again Smith Jr the working man from Mastic, NY has upset the apple cart. This time he was a massive betting favorite and was taking on a hungry underdog. A former amateur standout that started his career 0-2 before winning 18 in a row. Steve Geffrard was a late-minute replacement for Callum Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19 but proved to be no match for the New Yorker who dominated the fight from start to finish and scored a sensational ninth-round TKO at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. The Beast from the East moved his record to 28-3 (1), make the inaugural defense of his WBO light heavyweight strap a successful one, and capture our Fighter of the Week award.
Smith jr may have entered the ring in an unusual fashion, the favorite and the world champion, however, the results were all too familiar. Smith Jr stayed heavy o the front foot and broke down and eventually blasted out his opponent. Working off a heavy jab he set up occasional power shots that landed and landed with accuracy. He mixed in some good bodywork that took its toll on Geffrard. The culmination of the WBO champ’s work came to fruition in the ninth round as the New Yorker battered his overmatched opponent against the ropes and finally dropped him. Geffrard’s corner immediately hoped in the ring apron, informed the commission that his man was done, and stopped the fight giving Smith the victory via ninth-round TKO. “I tried to wait until the later rounds and started throwing more combinations to pick him apart.” A victorious Smith Jr commented post-fight. That’s exactly what he did unloading nearly 700 punches in the less than nine full rounds.
Smith Jr, is now 32-years-old and appears to be as marketable and fan-friendly as ever, and is on the verge of cashing in on a major payday. There are two options that seem most likely. Both will bring the Long Island native a massive payday and are legacy fights as well. The first option is a unification bout with WBC and IBF Champ Artur Beterbiev in what is a must-watch fan-friendly showdown of two huge hitting knockout artists. The second is the money fight, Canelo Alvarez, the current undisputed super-middleweight champ, once held the belt the Smith is now in possession of. He captured the WBO when he knocked out Kovalev in November 2019. If the sports biggest star wants to try his luck at 175 and wants that belt back the road rounds right through Joe Smith Jr and if Canelo wants back in the ring in May that would line up perfectly with Smith Jr’s schedule