Joe Smith topped my ballot for Fighter of the Year last year, based off the fact that he won two high profile bouts he wasn't expected to, and that included the worst sendoff to retirement in memory for a living legend, in this case Bernard Hopkins.
The Long Island construction worker, it can be argued, deserves a reward opportunity, one that combines the dividends that accrue to the best and brightest fistic sports entertainers, namely title belts and beefier purses.
Smith thought he had a tango set with Adonis Stevenson but the Haitian native swerved everyone, and instead is rumbling with a guy he already beat, and for that matter, so did Smith. Andrzej Fonfara gets another crack at the light heavyweight titlist and so Smith kept searching. An all Island showdown was floated but Smith and Sean Monaghan will not be re acquainting themselves after doing so in their amateur days.
On Thursday night, Smith promoter Joe Deguardia on air during the Delvin Rodriguez v Courtney Pennington 154 mainer at Mohegan Sun and on Facebook Live said that Smith has a date set. In July, he told me and blow by blow man Ray Flores. July 15, big bout, site TBA.
I kept sniffing and poking. It will be a Cuba versus Long Island scrap in July, a source told us Friday, with Sullivan Barrera signing on to test the 23-1 American. Barrera, under the main events banner, holds a 19-1 mark, with Andre Ward being his sole conqueror.
The source said that Team Smith is happy with the Sullivan scrap: “we want to be the guys that take the fights that nobody else would, and then win them.”
Keith Idec of Boxing Scene reported the bout is headed to Cali and to screen on HBO.