Jason Sosa: ‘I will be knocking Stephen Smith out’
Jezreel Corrales may be the WBA titleholder at junior lightweight but when Jason Sosa traveled to China in June and relieved Javier Fortuna of his “regular” WBA titlist status (a belt unrecognized by THE RING) – with a dramatic come-from-behind 11th round stoppage over the gifted Dominican – he sure felt like a world champion.
Thankfully, the WBA seems intent on bringing down the number of their “super,” “regular” and “interim” beltholders down with several matches scheduled or in the works.
Corrales will head back to Japan to face Takashi Uchiyama in a rematch, all of which left Sosa without a fall dance partner.
That changed in early October when it was announced that he’d be once again packing his bags and traveling overseas, this time to Europe in the salubrious setting of Monte Carlo, where he’d face Stephen Smith in a quadruple-header at the opulent Salle des Étoiles.
The promotion will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the U.K. and features heavyweight monster Luis Ortiz vs. Malik Scott; Martin Murray and Dmitri Chudinov meet in a super middleweight contest and Jamie McDonnell will face Liborio Solis at bantamweight.
Sosa, 28, is more than happy to hit the road once again.
“I think it’s an awesome experience for me that I’m going to fight in Monte Carlo,” Sosa told RingTV.com. “I’m very excited to be traveling the world and excited to be fighting in France.
“I get people telling me how beautiful this place is. I’m very excited to step foot into Monte Carlo. Not everybody is lucky to step foot there.”
The likable New Jersey-based fighter is co-promoted by the venerable J Russell Peltz – as well as Top Rank Promotions Inc. – who’s been around the game for a number of decades and isn’t unduly concerned with dusting off his passport again.
“I don’t have a problem with it. That’s what a real world champion does and there aren’t many of them around,” lamented Peltz. “First of all, the situation being what it is in the United States with limited television access and (Sosa)’s not an ‘A’ list fighter yet, name-wise; he doesn’t have a whole lot of choice but, having said that, once the bell rings, it shouldn’t matter where you are. You’re in the ring. We’re fighting in a 900-seat casino with high-rollers. I’ve been in those situations.
“If he can’t beat Stephen Smith, it’s not going to be because the fights in Monte Carlo or London or Camden or wherever. The better fighter will win the fight and, if (Sosa)’s the better fighter, he’ll win. He won the title in a foreign country. I’ve had fighters win fights overseas and I’ve had fighters lose big fights overseas. The venue shouldn’t really matter.”
Clearly Sosa has read some of the things Smith has said when he’s asked what the Liverpudlian brings to the fight.
“Honestly, I think he just brings a big mouth,” Sosa said. “He’s fighting against a world champion and he feels that I don’t deserve to be world champion.
“Honestly, boxing is as hard as it is and I train day-in, day-out, six days a week. I deserve it more than anybody. I’m hungry. I’ve fought the best. I’m fighting the best. Stephen Smith is just another guy they’re putting in front of me. November 12, I’m going to show Stephen Smith that I am a world champion and (I should) be respected.”
And he intends to go one further than his fellow Puerto Rican Jose Pedraza, who bested Smith in an IBF 130-pound title fight earlier this year.
“I definitely will,” he said without pause. “It’ll just be a little different, Pedraza couldn’t knock him out, I will be knocking him out.”
The fight is tabbed at near-50/50 with the all-seeing, all-knowing bookmakers. The fight is regarded as such. This isn’t a gimme first defense.
“What’s wrong with that?” opined Peltz. “Boxing needs more of that. Smith is going to be on the move. He’s not going to stand in front of Jason and trade with him. Even if that were his style, he wouldn’t do it. He’ll be moving around and trying to win on points.”
Sosa, who was born in Camden, New Jersey and moved to Puerto Rico, where he lived for several years, grew up with Spanish as his first language. Today, he’s bilingual and lives with his wife and two-month-old daughter.
As usual, he trained in Cherry Hill. He says he’s been in the gym since returning from China, while waiting for his next assignment.
“(You) never know when you’re going to get a phone call, so you’ve always got to stay right,” he said. “I really take boxing seriously. It’s my life. It’s my living, so I’ve got to be smart about the things I do.”
This will be the fourth time Peltz has been to the south of France, for professional boxing’s sake. In 1974, he was with Bennie Briscoe, who lost a WBC middleweight challenge to Rodrigo Valdes. He returned two years later when “Bad Bennie” drew against Emile Griffith. On his third visit to the south of France, six months later, Briscoe fought to a draw with Willie Warren.
“So I’ve got to even my record out,” Peltz said with a chuckle. “I’m hoping I get the win this time.”
Although Peltz is 0-1-2, he enjoyed Monte Carlo so much, he went there in the late-1970s for his honeymoon, so, in a manner of speaking, he won the one that counts.
“We went back in ’77. That’s good. My wife would like to hear that.” he said, laughing.
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