Hart: “[Smith Jr] Hurt the Little Boy in Me”

Jesse Hart Wants to Make Joe Smith Jr Quit

Jesse Hart
Jesse Hart

Jesse Hart Wants to Make Joe Smith Jr Quit

For Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (26-2, 21 KO’s), the spirit of his next fight comes right out of a kung fu movie. In the simplest terms possible, Joe Smith Jr (24-3, 20 KO’s) beat down his sensei, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KO’s), and Hart is not having it!

Throughout the build up to the fight, Hart has doggedly beleaguered the talking point that this fight is purely about revenge. When the proud Philly native caught Smith in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he promised to deliver a sound and sobering thrashing.


Leading into this prizefight, it appeared to be quite important for Hart to convey his rationale for wanting this fight. For the battle-tested boxer, this assignment had nothing to do with money, career maneuvering or chasing a title.

This bout was tantamount to a professional hit. Smith Jr had defamed his holy city of Philadelphia and he couldn’t sleep with that fact going unaddressed. However, the matter was a bit deeper than merely being loyal to his soil. It was more individualized and intimately personal.

Hard Work, beyond being an icon in the area he was reared in, actually met Bernard Hopkins at the tender age of 9. It was at this meeting that Hopkins instilled a sense of greatness within Hart that he would carry throughout his boxing career and personal life.

So, when an undersold Joe Smith Jr clobbered, smashed and ejected B-Hop through the ring ropes, Hart was enraged. Enraged for his mentor, his city but most importantly for his inner child who was largely molded by Bernard Hopkins.

“It’s not about boxing. It’s not about world titles, it’s not about ranking, it’s not about money, it’s not about ESPN and network. This is about me wanting to fight him because he hurt the little boy in me.

As kids…we are all inspired by somebody. Whether its Hulk Hogan, whether it’s Bruce Lee, whether it’s Michael Jordan, we all as little boys were inspired by somebody to go out and be the best version to the world that we are and Bernard Hopkins was that model for me…so that’s why it’s more personal than anything.”


Having appointed himself as Philly’s boxing bounty hunter, Hart has set out to claim retribution through violence. In his estimation, a quick Deontay Wilder-like lightning fast knockout would not be the most satisfactory.

For the crimes that Smith Jr stands accused of, Hart has sentenced him to suffer a prolonged and extended beating. If given his way, he intents on slow-roasting Smith Jr over the course of a long and torturous affair.

“I know there is no quit in Joe. He showed that with Sullivan Barrera when he fought with a broken jaw. But I want to see him dig down. I want to take him to the Ali/Frazier 3 type of knock-down, drag-out fight. Where Ali said that was the closest he ever felt to death, I want to see if he quit then. That’s how bad, that’s how much I want to push Joe…that’s what would be satisfying.”

Only time will tell if Hart can avenge his fallen teacher, but no matter who wins, it should be fun and exciting while it lasts!

By: Bakari Simpson

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Bakari is a writer and contributor for 3kingsboxing.com. Visit cheetahhead.com to view more of his literary work.