By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in AtlanticCity, New Jersey will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions next televised fight card on ESPN.
Jesse Hart, a Philadelphia native, will look to avenge a loss that Joe Smith Jr. gave to Bernard Hopkins before he retired in December of 2016.
Both boxers are in the title hunt in the light heavyweight division and a win on Saturday could lead to a title shot in the near future.
The co-main event will likely be a super middleweight bout between Steve Nelson and Cem KIlic.
Other boxers on the undercard include Joseph and Jeremy Adorno, Chris Thomas, Sonny Conto, and Shinard Bunch.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Steve Nelson (15-0) vs. Cem Kilic (14-0); Super Middleweights
The co-feature of the night will be a fight between two undefeated Super Middleweights who are hoping for a title shot in the near future.
Steve Nelson is thirty one years old and in the middle of his athletic prime. He is six years older than his opponent, CemKilic.
Kilic will have about a two inch height advantage, but will be giving up about four inches in reach. Kilic is a former Turkish and German National Champion as an amateur while Nelson was a former US National Champ.
Both boxers have moderate power. Kilic has stopped nine of his opponents while Nelson has stopped twelve of his.
They have have been fairly active. Kilic fought twice in 2019, three times in 2018, and three times in 2017. He has beaten the likes of Martez McGregor, DeAndre Ware, and Joe Amouta.
Nelson has fought three times in 2019, 2018, and in 2017. He has defeated the likes of Derrick Findley, Felipe Romero, Oscar Riojas, and DeShon Webster.
This is a close fight to pick, as neither fighter has truly been tested. Nelson does train alongside Terence Crawford and was a US Olympic Alternate. To this writer, those facts gives Nelson a slight edge over Kilic.
Jesse Hart (26-2) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (24-3); Light Heavyweights
Joe Smith’s biggest victory to date was a stunning defeated of the legendary Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins happens to be from Philadelphia, the same city as Jesse Hart, who vows to avenge that loss for Hopkins when he faces Smith.
Both boxers are thirty years old and in their athletic prime. Hart will have about a three inch height advantage over the Joe Smith.
Jesse Hart has been the more active fighter of the two. He competed once in 2019, four times in 2018, and twice in 2017. Smith only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017.
Both boxers are known for their active and fan friendly styles. Hart has 21 stoppages on his resume while Smith has 20. Hart has never been stopped in his career while Smith was stopped once.
Hart also has an edge in amateur experience. He is a former US National Champ and a Golden Gloves champ. Smith has no notable amateur experience.
Jesse Hart has defeated the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Mike Gavronski, Demond Nicholson, Alan Campa, and Mike Jimenez. His losses were two close defeats to Gilberto Ramirez.
Smith has defeated the likes of Bernard Hopkins, AndrzejFonfara, and Will Rosinsky. His losses were to Dmitry Bivoland Sullivan Barrera.
Jesse Hart is from Philadelphia and Joe Smith Jr. is from Long Island, so Atlantic City will likely be packed with fans of both. This fight looks like it will be an entertaining one to watch, but the amateur experience as well as the edge in recent activity has to make Jesse Hart the favorite in this fight.