By: Hans Themistode
If the opportunity presented itself, just about any and everyone would jump at the chance to face Canelo Alvarez. With the Mexican native tabbed as boxing’s number one attraction, both in terms of skills and box office appeal, fighters have continually urged the pound-for-pound stalwart to face them in the ring.
But, regardless of his prestigious stature and the countless bags of money that can be hurled in his direction, Joe Smith Jr. isn’t exactly interested in going down that route.
“At this point, everybody would choose the Canelo fight because there’s money to be made there,” said Smith Jr. to Brian Custer on the Last Stand Podcast. “Really, for my legacy, I want to be known as a great fighter. I would like to fight [Artur] Beterbiev and [Dmitry] Bivol.”
After failing to win a world title against Bivol in 2019, losing a wide unanimous decision, Smith Jr. went right back to the drawing board. As a result, the New York native reeled off three straight victories, the latter resulted in his first world title.
With light heavyweight gold now wrapped around his waist, Smith Jr. has gone from the hunter to the hunted. In addition to a possible showdown against Alvarez possibly in his future, Smith Jr. has also been the target of current 168-pound contender Daniel Jacobs. Yet, despite Jacobs throwing his name into the mix as a possible future opponent for Smith Jr., the newly crowned WBO belt holder is more inclined to aggregate more world titles.
“It’s not really a fight I want,” said Smith Jr. when asked to gauge his interest in facing Jacobs. “The fights I want, I want to unify. I want to fight Beterbiev and Bivol. I’m not trying to go backward, I want all the belts.”
In the case of Alvarez, since claiming every world title at 168 pounds to become the division’s first undisputed world champion, the Mexican product has expressed his interest in facing Beterbiev in the immediate future. However, the multiple division champion is on the verge of competing for the cruiserweight crown in the first half of 2022.
Beterbiev, on the other hand, currently holds the IBF and WBC 175 pound titles. The heavy-hitting unified champion recently registered his 17th consecutive knockout victory on December 17th, 2021, against Marcus Browne. Beterbiev pounded his man several times over before scoring the stoppage win in the ninth.
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