Jesse Hart and Joe Smith (Photo: Mikey Williams – Top Rank)
By Chris Robinson
On Thursday afternoon, former title challengers Jesse Hart and Joe Smith Jr. faced off two days before their highly anticipated, 10-round light heavyweight showdown. Hart (26-2, 21 KO’s) and Smith (24-3, 20 KO’s) will meet inside of the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, with the fight to be carried by ESPN.
One of the subplots heading into the contest will be Hart seeking revenge, as Smith scored a stoppage victory over the Philadelphia fighter’s mentor, former two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins in December 2016.
Expect a fan-friendly fight. Hart’s only two losses have come against former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez, both by close decision. Smith’s only defeats since 2011 have been decision losses to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol and Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera.
Top Rank is promoting the card, and they have a lot of options in the light heavyweight division for the winner of Saturday’s event.
Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com