Joe Smith Jr. had to be relieved as much as anything else.
The light heavyweight titleholder, facing his third scheduled opponent for his first defense, stopped Steve Geffrard in the ninth round Saturday night at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Geffrard, a former amateur standout who took the fight on eight days notice, boxed well at times but was outworked and was ultimately overwhelmed by the hard-punching champion.
Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) had won the vacant WBO 175-title by defeating Maxim Vlasov by a majority decision last April.
He was originally scheduled to make his first defense against Umar Salamov…