Joe Smith Jr Not Interested In Names Outside of Beterbiev, Bivol or Canelo!
WBO light heavyweight champion Joe “The Common Man” Smith Jr (27-3, 21KOs) is set to make his 2022 ring debut against mandatory challenger Callum “The One” Johnson (20-1, 14KOs) on January 15. Since winning a very debatable majority decision over Maxim Vlasov to win the WBO strap, Smith has been linked to a possible New York summer showdown with former IBF middleweight champion Danny Jacobs later in 2022.
However, if you ask Smith, that’s not a fight that interests him. Unified WBC/IBF champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17KOs) and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11KOs) are on radar, though. Speaking to Brian Custer on The Last Stand podcast, he divulged his intentions, assuming he gets past Johnson.
“It’s not really a fight that I want. The fights I want, I want to unify, I want to fight Beterbiev and Bivol. But, really those are the only fights I want to take. It’s those two, unless Canelo comes up and he wants to fight, I’ll take that fight. But, I want to unify, I don’t want to go backwards. I’m trying to get all the belts.”
Smith has always had the fighter’s mentality. This lines up with his lack of intention to pursue a fight with Jacobs. Nothing against ‘The Miracle Man’, he’s just not relevant at the current time. Moreover, fights with the fellow light heavyweight champions are more than likely to be made. A matchup between Artur Beterbiev and Smith could surely get made, as both men are promoted or co-promoted by Top Rank.
As for Dmitry Bivol, Smith has already fought him and was thoroughly out-boxed when they squared off in 2019. However, now that Smith is a champion, the rematch makes sense. Let’s hope the light heavyweight division can settle who’s the best fighter by the end of 2022.
Obviously if Canelo comes calling, Smith would be hard pressed to turn down such an opportunity.
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By: Jerrell Fletcher