Joe Smith Jr. Set To Defend Light Heavyweight Crown Against Umar Salamov, Likely At MSG
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Smith Jr. appears to be on his way to defending his newly won WBO light heavyweight title against once beaten contender, Umar Salamov.
As first reported by Mike Coppinger of ESPN, the pair have placed their signatures on the dotted line for a showdown that is being targeted for sometime in October or November later this year. The most likely destination for their contest would be The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Since suffering defeat at the hands of journeymen Damien Hooper in 2017, Salamov has been on a roll, winning seven straight. Regardless of his recent streak, Salamov (26-1, 19 KOs) figures to be a massive underdog against Smith Jr. The 31-year-old has had a career filled with plenty of highs, including unlikely wins against Andrzej Fonfara, Eleider Alvarez, and Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. Smith Jr. has seen several low points. From mid-2017 to early 2019, the Long Island New York native lost two of his three contests.
Still, Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) continued to chug along and reeled off two straight victories before picking up the first world title of his career against Maxim Vlasov earlier this year in April.
A win for Smith Jr. would not only solidify himself amongst the elite of the 175-pound division but it would likely set up quite possibly the most significant contest of his career. For the past several months, talks have been ongoing between Smith Jr. and former 160-pound champion and current 168-pound contender, Daniel Jacobs.
The two could meet in a clash that would see Jacobs move up a weight class to challenge Smith Jr. for his world title. A deal between the pair, of course, is contingent upon Smith Jr. and his ability to get past Salamov.
Joe Smith Jr. Vs. Daniel Jacobs Reportedly Planned For The First Quarter Of 2022
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Smith Jr. is currently lining up his next two fights, one of which, would see him face Daniel Jacobs.
After taking down Maxim Vlasov via majority decision earlier this year, Smith Jr. celebrated his first world title win. Now, for his next act, the Long Island native is reportedly finalizing a two-fight deal, the first of which would come against mandatory challenger Umar Salamov. The Russian native has reeled off seven straight wins since suffering the lone defeat of his career against Damien Hooper.
Seemingly confident in his ability to pick up the win, Smith Jr. already has his next opponent lined up. Should the newly crowned WBO light heavyweight belt holder do what many are expecting, he’ll find himself up against fellow New Yorker, Daniel Jacobs.
As first reported by ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, Jacobs vs. Smith Jr. would take place during the first quarter of 2022. The all New York showdown would presumably go down at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
News of the soon to be announced agreement comes as somewhat of a surprise. For most of his career, Jacobs campaigned at the middleweight division. His tenure at the land of 160 was extremely successful as he held the WBA “Regular” and IBF crowns.
After coming up short in a unification bout against Canelo Alvarez in May of 2019, Jacobs moved up to the super middleweight division seven months later. In his debut, Jacobs easily got rid of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. via fifth-round stoppage. He then followed that up with a less than stellar performance against fringe contender, Gabe Rosado. Although Jacobs would ultimately pick up the split decision win, he openly admitted that it wasn’t his best performance in the ring.
Both Jacobs and Smith Jr. grew up around the New York area and attended many of the same amateur tournaments. Being completely candid about the reverence that he currently has for Jacobs, Smith Jr. confessed that he looked up to his soon to be opponent for years.
Now, if he’s able to take care of business against Salamov, Smith Jr. will step into the ring against the man he’s always admired.
Daniel Jacobs vs. Joe Smith Jr. Possibly Next
By: Hans Themistode
Promoter Eddie Hearn is doing all he can to get former middleweight champion, Daniel Jacobs, one of the biggest fights of his career.
According to reporter Mike Coppinger, Hearn revealed to him several weeks ago, that he fully intended on making a multi-million dollar offer to WBO light heavyweight champion, Joe Smith Jr. Staying true to his word, Hearn did, in fact, send an offer to the Long Island native. Seemingly happy with the terms of the agreement, Smith Jr. appears to be fully on board.
“Just got word from my team that there’s an offer to fight Daniel Jacobs,” said Smith Jr. on his Instagram account. “I love this fight, especially in New York.”
The possible showdown between Smith Jr. and Jacobs comes as somewhat of a surprise. After defeating Maxim Vlasov earlier this year for the vacant WBO title, promoter Bob Arum stated on numerous occasions that he would immediately schedule a unification showdown against WBC/IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev.
Yet, with an unexpected offer to face Jacobs, Smith Jr. appears more than willing to turn his attention towards him. More than anything, facing his fellow New York native allows Smith Jr. to take a trip down memory lane.
“Growing up fighting in the amateurs, there were two fighters, Danny and Will Rosinsky, that I loved going to see fight. Every time I got the opportunity to see them fight, they would destroy their opponent and I learned a lot about the sport of boxing from watching them. I never got the chance to face them in the amateurs due to them being a little older than I was. Unfortunately, when the time came that I was ready, they had become professionals.
In 2015, I got the opportunity to face Will at the Barclay’s Center and to me, it has been one of my biggest accomplishments as a fighter. I learned so much that night.”
As for Jacobs, a move to the light heavyweight division could see his run as a super middleweight short-lived. After losing his IBF middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez in May of 2019, Jacobs grew tired of squeezing his enormous frame down to the 160-pound limit and instead, moved up in weight. The trek eight pounds north has proved to be successful thus far as Jacobs has picked up back-to-back wins against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Gabriel Rosado. The latter, however, ended controversially as most of the boxing world believed Rosado should have been given the nod.
Regardless of just arriving in his new weight class roughly a year and a half ago, Jacobs appears ready to move up. By all accounts, Smith Jr. is set to welcome him with open arms. Not only would a win over the former 160-pound belt holder net him one of the biggest wins of his career, but more importantly, it will allow Smith Jr. to put to bed the one question that has been on his mind since he was a young child.
“I would love to face Danny to end that thought of what if we fought? In my mind as a kid.”
Joe Smith Jr. Ekes Out Close Decision Win Over Maxim Vlasov
By: Hans Themistode
Joe Smith Jr. was disappointed with what took place a few years ago. In March of 2019, the Long Island, New York, native was thoroughly outclassed against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. Instead of giving up on his dream, Smith Jr. simply placed his head down and got to work.
With back-to-back wins against Jesse Hart and Eleider Alvarez as an underdog, Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) had effectively worked his way back to world title contention and didn’t waste his newly acquired opportunity.
In front of roughly 500 fans inside of Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Smith Jr. took on fellow streaking contender Maxim Vlasov.
Despite coming in as the favorite, things didn’t start off great for Smith Jr. The herky-jerky style of his opponent threw his rhythm off completely. The Long Island native’s head was repeatedly snapped back due to the consistent jab of his man and while he attempted to throw something back in return, Smith Jr. couldn’t find the target.
An early cut in round two made things worst for the championship hopeful. He attempted to wipe the blood from his eye and get himself back into the fight but Vlasov continued to befuddle him. With an early deficit, the sparse crowd attempted to push him forward as they yelled at the top of their lungs. Seemingly encouraged by all of the support, Smith Jr. began landing some big shots.
Vlasov, to his credit, kept his composure and continued to push the pace. For much of the middle rounds, both men fought on even terms. With Vlasov pocketing several of the early rounds though, simply fighting on even terms wasn’t going to get the job done for Smith Jr.
As the championship rounds rolled by, Vlasov (45-4, 26 KOs) slowly began fading as Smith Jr. caught his second wind. The shots he threw during the first half of their fight that hit nothing but air, now found their target and Vlasov’s face began marking up as a result of it.
Wanting to leave nothing up to chance, Smith Jr. closed their contest strong, including a 12th round flurry that most likely sealed his championship fate. While all three judges struggled to give a definitive answer to their showdown, Smith Jr. was elated once his name was called at the end of a majority decision by the scores of 114-114, 115-112 and 115-113.
Smith Jr.’s title dreams may have come to fruition but he appears to be already looking ahead.
“I want the other belts,” said Smith Jr. during the post-fight interview. “I want to unify.”
Joe Smith Jr. Vs Maxim Vlasov Off Due To Vlasov’s Positive COVID-19 Test
By: Hans Themistode
All of the long hours and hard work that Joe Smith Jr. put in is all seemingly for nothing. At least for now.
The light heavyweight contender was just recently informed that his upcoming showdown against Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO title will no longer take place this weekend as Vlasov has tested positive for COVID-19.
To the surprise of no one, Vlasov was gutted by the news.
“I am devastated with the postponement of my world title fight against Joe Smith Jr,” said Vlasov. “I have been following strict protocols, I have done regular testing with negative results, and I have no symptoms. I am well prepared and had an excellent training camp. I look forward to the rescheduling of the fight and the opportunity to display my world-class skills.”
For Smith Jr., the road to becoming a world champion appeared to be lining up perfectly for him. With back to back wins against Jesse Hart and former titlist Eleider Alvarez, Smith Jr. stomped his way to his second world title attempt. The Long Island native’s first shot originally came roughly one and a half years ago against Dmitry Bivol.
Breaking down their showdown is a simplistic one as Smith Jr. was dominated round after round. Still, even with the lopsided loss, promoter Bob Arum was confident that Smith Jr. would blast out Vlasov which would ultimately set up a three belt unification matchup with unified champion Artur Beterbiev.
Those plans obviously, will now have to wait.
Even without the main attraction, the show must go on. Stepping into the spotlight on the night will be former IBF lightweight titlist Richard Commey. For the former belt holder, it’ll be his first ring action since a second round knockout loss at the hands of Teofimo Lopez in December of 2019.
ESPN+ Boxing Results: Joe Smith Jr Puts a Beating On Eleider Alvarez
Joe Smith Jr vs Eleider Alvarez
For the second consecutive contest in a row, light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21 KOs) was given no respect from oddsmakers.
The doubters never bothered the Long Island native, and once again, he made them look foolish on the night.
Smith Jr. gave former title holder Eleider Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) the beating of a life-time in the main event at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Alvarez came out of the gate slow and lethargic. His activity was lower than usual and he consistently found himself having to defend himself from the nonstop pressure of Smith Jr.
With everything working for him on the night, Smith Jr. finally wore his man down in the ninth and landed a right hand that sent Alvarez right through the ropes. He laid there for a moment trying to catch his breath, but by the time he staggered to his feet, the referee gave the signal to call an end to their contest.
Julian Rodriguez vs Anthony Laureano
It’s been a night of short fights at the MGM Grand Conference in Las Vegas Nevada, and that only continued as Julian Rodriguez (20-0, 13 KOs) got rid of Anthony Laureano (13-1, 4 KOs) in the first round.
After two straight knockdowns, Rodriguez closed the show with a third and final one in the opening frame.
Clay Collard vs Maurice Williams
Clay Collard (9-2-3, 4 KOs) went from a nobody to an absolute star over night. With three wins in a row against undefeated fighters, Collard stepped into the ring tonight against Maurice Williams (7-2, 3 KOs).
For those who were expecting a competitive bout tonight at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas Nevada were sadly mistaken as Collard dominated his man to the tune of a third round stoppage.
Duke Rogan vs Luis Alvarado
Things couldn’t have gone any better for Duke Rogan (1-0, 1 KO).
The featherweight product made his pro debut by scoring a quick knockout. The Cincinnati native hit his man with a devastating right hand that sent Luis Alvarado (1-2, 0 KO) down to the mat. To his credit, he managed to climb back to his feet but was completely unaware with his surroundings. That in turn forced the referee to wave their contest off.
Joe Smith Jr vs Eleider Alvarez Take’s Place on August 22nd For WBO Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator
By: Hans Themistode
Light heavyweight contenders Joe Smith Jr. and Eleider Alvarez will be looking to give the judges the night off when the two meet August 22nd, at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A high level scalp won’t be the only reward for the victor as their contest is a WBO title eliminator.
For Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs), his rise to the top of the division was a quick one. Unfortunately for him however, so was his fall from it.
The Colombian native parlayed an undefeated career into a WBO title shot against then champion Sergey Kovalev in 2018. With most of the world doubting his capabilities, Alvarez blocked out the noise. He went out and ripped the title from Kovalev via 7th round stoppage. The smiles that accompanied his performance however was short lived. Kovalev would enact his immediate rematch clause and outclass Alvarez over 12 rounds. Since then, he’s KO’d fringe contender Michael seals earlier this year.
But while Seals never truly presented much of a threat, former title challenger Joe Smith Jr. (25-1, 20 KOs) will be another story entirely.
Over the years, Smith Jr. has earned the reputation for upsetting the Apple cart. In 2016 the Long Island native scored a first round knockout over contender Andrzej Fonfara. From there, he found himself standing across future hall of famer, albeit over 50 years of age at the time, in Bernard Hopkins. Smith Jr. would knock Hopkins right out of the ring and right into retirement. Despite his success, in his first bid to win a world title, he fell woefully short against Dmitry Bivol.
Nevertheless, that loss hasn’t put a dent in his title aspirations. In his most recent ring outing, he dominated Jesse Hart. Now, he finds himself on the cusp of another title shot should he get past Alvarez.
With four division world champion Canelo Alvarez, vacating his 175 pound WBO title in order to move back down in weight, both Smith Jr. and Alvarez are attempting to place themselves ahead of the pack to grab the vacant gold.
Joe Smith Jr vs Eleider Alvarez Come to Agreement For Title Eliminator
By: Hans Themistode
The last time Canelo Alvarez was seen inside of the ring, he was being lifted into the air by trainer Eddie Reynoso shortly after leaving Sergey Kovalev slumped over the bottom ropes. The win gifted Alvarez with several awards. He was moved up by most to the number one spot on their pound for pound list. More importantly though, Alvarez picked up Kovalev’s WBO Light Heavyweight title.
Fighters often devote their entire careers to becoming a champion, but for Alvarez, a multiple time champion across four weight classes, simply tossed his newly won trinket to the side and opted for a move to the Super Middleweight division. Now, with the WBO title up for grabs, we are getting closer to who will claim the vacant strap.
Light Heavyweight contenders Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. have come to an agreement for a title eliminator with a speculative date of July 16th being tossed around. The MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas Nevada has emerged as the frontrunner in terms of the location.
Both men are in familiar positions coming off bounce back wins. For Smith, he was lethargic and apathetic in a loss against Dmitry Bivol in 2019, but he looked like a completely different man against Jesse Hart. He rocked the Philadelphia native earlier this year and dominated much of the contest. Ignore the split decision victory as much of the contest was in the favor of Smith. As for Eleider Alvarez, the former world title holder immediately dropped his title against former belt holder Sergey Kovalev.
Paying for that loss was Michael Seals. Alvarez landed a picture perfect right hand in the seventh round to place himself back in the winners circle.
Now, with both men finding a bit of momentum, there could be an even bigger prize for the winner of their contest.
With a victory, either man could be in line to face the winner of Maksim Vlasov vs Umar Salamov for the vacant WBO title.