Sunday, June 16, 2024  |



Joe Smith Jr.’s team respects July 15 foe Sullivan Barrera

Light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. Photo credit: Leonard Wilson Jr./Nabeel Ahmad/Premier Boxing Champions
Fighters Network

Joe Smith takes on Sullivan Barrera on July 15, in California, in a light heavyweight showdown which leaves the winner with a leg up, in theory, for a title crack next.

I checked in with Smith’s trainer, Jerry Capobianco of The Fighting Capobianco Brothers of Long Island. “It’s a tough fight,” Jerry said. “I think it’s a good fight, he’s legit, everyone knows he’s the real deal.”

Is Smith (No. 3 in WBC; 23-1 with 19 knockouts), the underdog as he was last year against Andrzej Fonfara and then Bernard Hopkins, is he in that role again?

“I don’t know. People are saying it’ a 50-50 fight. I think Joe wins, I don’t see it 50-50, or I would have never have took it. Hard fight, Barrera could win… a lot people say they want to fight Joe, and then they don’t. Same with Barrera (19-1 with 14 Kos). Two guys nobody really wants to fight, really. Kathy Duva, his promoter, says respect to both fighters, it’s a hard fight.”

I confessed to Cap, no Smith vs Seanie Monaghan, that bums me out…why didn’t it happen? “I am disappointed that wasn’t made, in our home town. All of Long Island would have been there,” he said. “I’m hoping it will still get worked out, down the road.”

That was floated as a possible and in fact, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza expressed some interest, and Monaghan promoter Lou Dibella was keen on making it happen. But, alas, we will have to keep hope alive on that pair-off.

Smith, promoted by Star Boxing, really thought he’d have fought by now, as his last outing came in December, but the wheels of progress in boxing sometimes grind slowly, and get warped along the way.  Monaghan thought he had a dance off with Adonis Stevenson lined up and then Adonis threw a curveball and signed for a rematch with Andrzej Fonfara.

The division will be seeing dust settle in the coming months, as Stevenson fights Fonfara June 3; then Ward rematches Kovalev June 17 and Smith v Barrera goes the following month. We hear rumblings that Monaghan (No. 7 WBO, No. 10 WBC) will get a July date done any day now, as well. Artur Beterbiev is now tussling with his promoter, Yvon Michel, with lawyers in the mix. The Ward and Kovalev winner and loser will need foes for the fall, so I think many eyes are on that one, and folks will be in wait and see mode, seeing how that plays out. Yes, things get more clear when the dust settles.