Lonnie Smith calls for a clash with Gavin Rees and speaks on life as Robert Guerrero’s chief sparring partner

Lonnie Smith in action last month in Brooklyn, New York against Michael Perez (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)


By Chris Robinson

In a fight that flew under the radar, Las Vegas resident Lonnie Smith made a return to the ring last month as he met up with once-beaten Michael Perez on the Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud undercard from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

This was a crucial fight for Smith, as he was coming off of back-to-back losses to Vicente Escobedo in March of last year and to Mason Menard three months later.

And despite getting dropped by Perez in the second round, Smith showed much fortitude, rising and eventually working his way back into the fight. Several ringside accounts had Smith in control of the action in the seventh round before the fight was stopped after a clash of heads caused a nasty cut on Perez’s forehead.

The bout went to the cards, where the fight was declared a majority draw, with Smith’s ledger shifting to 14-4-3 with 10 knockouts.

And despite not getting the victory he so craved, you can tell that Smith again has his spirits back as he eyes a run in the lightweight division.

During a recent conversation, I caught up with the 26-year old prospect and got his take on a few things, including why he feels he was cheated during the Perez brawl, what it has been like serving as Robert Guerrero’s chief sparring partner ahead of his match with Floyd Mayweather, and why he would love to face off with Gavin Rees in June.

This is what Lonnie had to share…

Reflecting on his battle with Michael Perez…
“The fight, it went well. I didn’t really get comfortable in there until like the third or fourth round. And that was just from being off so long. And once I got comfortable, I started doing what I normally do and applied the new things I have been learning with Skipper Kelp. It really benefited me in that fight, just boxing a little more, moving my head more. It was good.”

What went through his head when he was knocked down in the second round…
“Yeah, it told me ‘What the f*ck am I doing?’ And it got me focused. Because, in camp I got knocked down by a guy that I was trying to box. And my boxing is not perfect yet, so I’m trying new things and I thought I was doing that in the ring and I just stuck to fundamentals after that.”

His problem with the way in which the fight was halted…
“I felt I was going to stop him in the same round the referee stopped the fight in. I feel like the referee should have never stopped the fight. When he did, there was action going on. There was action that was happening and it wasn’t a lull in action or anything like that. We were backing up so we could go at it again, and the referee took him to the doctor. I feel that if I was a Brooklyn boy or a New York City boy, then the fight would have continued. Because, they would have wanted to see me stop him like I was going to do that round. He wasn’t sh*t. I don’t think that boy is good at all.”


Eyeing a future fight with Wales’ Gavin Rees…
“I would like to get in touch with Eddie Hearn and I would like to request for me to be his opponent. I don’t feel like I’m going in as an opponent, but [I would be] going overseas and fighting him, so I would be the opponent. But I feel like I could stop Gavin Rees.”

Rees’ recent gutsy showing during his 5th round TKO loss to WBC champion Adrien Broner…
“I feel like he tried, period. I feel like he tried. I’ve seen Gavin Rees fight on YouTube a couple times already. When he was going in there fighting Adrien Broner, I knew that was a setup right there. He was going to get demolished. But what I see in Gavin Rees, he comes forward with his head a lot and he just gives his head up.”

Sparring with Robert Guerrero for another camp…
“Yeah, I’m Robert Guerrero’s sparring partner. I’m the [chief] sparring partner, just like last camp. Robert Guerrero, he’s helping me educate myself on boxing. He comes forward a lot and I just try to stick to my boxing. It’s hard, he’s a great fighter, but I’m trying to stick to my boxing as much as I can.”

Being in the ring with Guerrero…
“Yeah, I’m impressed, because he’s overwhelming with his shots. He’s consistent, and it makes it a hell of a way you have to fight. You have to be a boxer, because I’m at a lower weight, I can’t brawl like I normally do. I have to box and that’s what I want to do. This is great sparring for me as well.”

Why Guerrero has a shot with Floyd…
“Floyd picked him, so I guess he’s one of the top dogs. He’s been around for a while and been winning consistently and he’s up there. Anybody has a shot when you get inside the ring and he’s a top contender right now.”

Eyeing the future…
“I feel like my career is going in the right direction. I feel like I wasn’t hand-fed everything, but when you are, there are bumps and bruises and I’m riding this road and I’m trying to get to the top. I have a ‘no quit’ kind of dedication to boxing and I feel like it’s just keeping me inside of the ring, keeping me learning. Skipper Kelp, he’s given me the tools that I need to just keep listening. That was my problem before, I didn’t listen. Now I’m listening and I’m learning how to box.”

PLEASE  CHECK  OUT  more of Chris Robinson’s exclusives from the boxing world below…

Jean Pascal on facing Lucian Bute, working with Roy Jones Jr. and Angel Heredia, and PEDs in boxing

‘The sport misses me’ – Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma talks return, Mayweather-Guerrero, Gennady Golovkin

Chad Dawson discusses facing off with Adonis Stevenson, Pascal vs. Bute, Andre Ward vs. Chavez Jr.

A day in camp with Jesus ‘Chuy’ Gutierrez [Possible sparring partner for Robert Guerrero]

J’Leon Love: ‘People forget, I asked for Gabriel Rosado’ [Bonus training footage]

Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com

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