By: Hans Themistode
Though Joe Smith Jr. wasn’t expecting Steve Geffrard to lay down, the fringe contender proved to be far more durable than even the WBO light heavyweight titlist was anticipating.
While Geffrard boxed well early on, a determined Smith Jr. refused to lose his newly won 175 pound trinket to his late replacement opponent. As the midway point of their showdown came rolling by, Smith Jr. had his man all figured out. The 32-year-old titlist proceeded to pound Geffrard into submission, scoring the knockout win in the ninth round at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, late last night.
With the first defense of his world title successfully made, Smith Jr. now has his eyes set on facing the upper echelon of the division. In a perfect world, the Long Island product would love to get his hands on unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. Considering their penchants for knockouts, Smith Jr. is fairly confident that a showdown between them produces fireworks.
But, no matter how intrigued Smith Jr. is by the possibility of facing Beterbiev, there’s another name that has recently begun protruding to the top of his list…Canelo Alvarez.
The Mexican product and pound for pound star ended his 2021 with a historical performance. With three super middleweight titles already in his possession, Alvarez faced off against Caleb Plant for the final piece of the 168 pound puzzle. Despite having his troubles early on, Alvarez ended their contest is violent, scoring two knockdowns in the 11th before finishing him off in the same round.
Although Beterbiev is Smith Jr.’s preferred target, if the WBO belt holder were able to land a showdown against Alvarez, he believes the fans will be in for a treat.
“I think it makes a great fight that the people want to see,” said Smith Jr. to SecondsOut. “You have the number one pound-for-pound fighter and world champion in another weight division. I think for him to come back to light heavyweight and fight for all the belts would be something the fans would love to see.”
Presently, it appears as though a trip to 175 pounds, a division in which Alvarez successfully won a title against Sergey Kovalev in 2019, isn’t on the forefront of his mind. As first reported by Mike Coppinger of ESPN, in all likelihood, Alvarez is headed towards a showdown against WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
Should Alvarez at some point find himself standing across the ring from the current 175 pound titlist, Smith Jr., while he respects Alvarez’s skills, believes he’ll have a bevy of advantages.
“I’m the bigger guy but he’s the pound-for-pound king. He has a lot of experience and it would just be a pleasure to fight him.”