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Jesse Hart considered retirement following Joe Smith Jr. defeat, plans have changed

Photo by Mikey WIlliams/Top Rank
11
Jun

Light heavyweight contender Jesse Hart strongly considered retirement following his loss to Joe Smith Jr.

On January 11, Hart dropped a 10-round split decision to the former title challenger in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Hart suffered a torn tendon and ligament damage in his right hand during the fight and underwent surgery last week.

“Before I had hand surgery last week I was going through a (really) deep depression (and) I was really considering stepping down and retiring from the sport of boxing,” Hart said on social media.

Hart (26-3, 21 knockouts), 30, of Philadelphia, then sought advice from those closest to him, and there was no one better to reach out to than his father.

Eugene “Cyclone” Hart boxed professionally from 1969 to 1982 during an era that was considered a golden age — especially for 160 pounders. He even faced the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1976 at the famed Spectrum, where he suffered an eighth-round knockout loss. The bout took place four years before Hagler knocked out Alan Minter to become undisputed world champion.

The elder Hart (30-9-1, 28 knockouts) implored his son to keep fighting.

“I had a talk with pop, and it healed me,” Hart continued. “He said, ‘You’ll go out like a coward if you end it (now). You came too far. You can’t look back. You got to finish.’

“I love and respect my dad so much.”

Hart has twice fought for a title at 168 pounds but was outpointed in both attempts by Gilberto Ramirez, who has also since moved up to light heavyweight.

 

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