By Dan Ambrose: WBO mild heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. stands to achieve a large combat in opposition to Canelo Alvarez in Could or a unification conflict in opposition to IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev if he wins tonight in his protection in opposition to Steve Geffrard.
(Picture credit score: Mikey Williams (High Rank through Getty Photographs)
Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) defends in opposition to his fill-in substitute opponent Geffrard (18-2, 12 KOs) in the principle occasion on ESPN on the Turning Stone Resort & On line casino in Verona, New York.
Assuming Smith efficiently defends his WBO 175-lb title in opposition to the 31-year-old Geffrard tonight in New York, he’s certainly one of a small handful of choices for the celebrity Canelo’s subsequent combat on Could seventh.
It’s believed that Canelo will select certainly one of these fighters for his subsequent combat on the Cinco de Mayo vacation weekend in Could:
Joe Smith Jr.
After all, with Canelo, he might pull a reputation out of his hat by selecting somebody that you simply least suspect. In that case, he may very well be Daniel Jacobs, John Ryder, Gennady Golovkin, David Benavidez, or Demetrius Andrade.
Nonetheless, it’s unlikely Canelo will select any of those choices as a result of he’s going by way of a belt-craze stage the place he’s totally pushed by his must seize belts.
Canelo will determine
“The ball is in Canelo’s court docket,” stated High Rank boss Bob Arum to Sky Sports on Alvarrez, being the one that can determine his subsequent opponent for Could seventh, be it Joe Smith, Ilunga Makabu, or presumably Jermall Charlo.
“Canelo is the largest attraction in boxing now, he’s an amazing expertise and an amazing fighter, and he roughly picks his opponents.
“He additionally tries to get the most effective guys. So, he might combat [Artur] Beterbiev, he might combat Smith, but it surely’s as much as Canelo, and I feel he’s seeking to do a combat in Could,” stated Arum.
It’s tough to think about that Canelo would select the unbeaten IBF/WBC mild heavyweight champion Beterbiev (17-0, 17KOs) as his subsequent opponent for Could seventh as a result of it’s such an enormous bounce up in school and skill from the fighters he’s been going through since 2018.
Canelo has proven a sample within the final 4 years of the sort of opponents he prefers going through, and Beterbiev doesn’t match the outline resulting from his potential.
Usually, Canelo has picked opposition that had nearly no likelihood of beating him, and he’s stayed away from the fighters that would hand him his second profession defeat.
Beterbiev would have a great opportunity of beating Canelo, as would Benavidez, Joe Smith Jr., and Bivol. Therefore, none of these fighters have been chosen by the Mexican star.
Does Joe Smith Jr. enter Canelo sweepstake?
“Joe Smith Jr. fights this weekend. He was initially scheduled to combat Callum Johnson, which I used to be actually curious about as a result of you’ve had two heavy-hitters going at it in a combat that will have ended by knockout,” stated Chris Mannix on Boxing.
“Johnson needed to bow out resulting from COVID, and you’ve got Steve Geffrard stepping in. Geffrard has received eighteen fights in a row however is a really low-level sort of opponent.
“Not enormous expectations for Geffrard coming into this combat. What I’m sort of interested by is much less this combat however what comes subsequent for Joe Smith as a result of there’s going to be a variety of attention-grabbing events on the market in Joe Smith.
“When you’re High Rank, perhaps you wish to try to make that Joe Smith vs. Beterbiev combat, which might be for 3 belts within the 175-lb division. When you’re Canelo and Joe Smith will get by way of this combat, does he enter these sweepstakes?
“I doubt it, however he’s bought a lightweight heavyweight belt, and he’s an American,” stated Mannix on Canelo, probably displaying curiosity in combating WBO 175-lb champion Smith if he wins his combat tonight in opposition to Geffrard.
“You may most likely market that combat fairly decently, particularly in the event you’re prepared to do the combat in New York. Daniel Jacobs is on the market and is combating in February [against John Ryder].
“That’s somebody that has been talked about between these two guys [Smith and Jacobs] over the past two weeks or so.
“Assuming Joe Smith will get by way of this combat comparatively unscathed, what do you see sooner or later for him within the mild heavyweight division?”
Beterbiev an choice for Smith’s subsequent combat
“The apparent combat to make and the combat that folks needed to see is Joe Smith in opposition to Artur Beterbiev,” stated Keith Idec. “Beterbiev is the largest knockout puncher in boxing among the many world champions, and he’s knocked out each professional opponent with 17 fights and 17 knockouts.
“That combat ought to be capable of be made as a result of they’re each co-promoted by High Rank. The best way it was defined to me, Joe Smith was not proud of the monetary provide he acquired to combat Beterbiev.
“He desires extra money for the combat. If he will get that cash, the [Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr] combat could be put collectively. It’ll be an enormous occasion in Montreal on the Bell Centre or at Madison Sq. Backyard or you may put it in Lengthy Island.
“That will be excellent as a result of Joe Smith would draw a variety of followers from Lengthy Island for the combat. So you can also make some cash for the gate for this combat whether or not you set it in Canada or New York.