Joe Smith Jr. could have Canelo Alvarez fight in May if he wins tonight against Geffrard
Through Dan Ambrose: WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. looks set to earn a massive fight against Canelo Alvarez in May or a unification clash against IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev if he wins tonight in his defense against Steve Geffrard.
(Photo credit: Mikey Williams (Top Rank via Getty Images)
Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) defends against replacement opponent Geffrard (18-2, 12 KOs) in the main event on ESPN at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
Assuming Smith successfully defends his WBO 175-pound title against Geffrard, 31, tonight in New York, he’s one of the few options for superstar Canelo’s next fight on May 7.
Canelo is believed to choose one of these fighters for his next fight over the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend in May:
Joe Smith Jr.
Of course, with Canelo, he could pull a name out of his hat by picking someone you least suspect. In this case, it could be Daniel Jacobs, John Ryder, Gennady Golovkin, David Benavidez or Demetrius Andrade.
However, Canelo is unlikely to choose either option as he is going through a belt craze phase where he is driven entirely by his need to capture belts.
Canelo will decide
“The ball is in Canelo’s court,Top Rank boss Bob Arum told Sky Sports of Alvarrez, being the one to decide his next opponent for May 7, be it Joe Smith, Ilunga Makabu or possibly Jermall Charlo.
“Canelo is the biggest attraction in boxing now, he’s a terrific talent and a terrific fighter, and he picks his opponents more or less.
“He also tries to have the best guys. So he could fight [Artur] Beterbiev, he could fight Smith, but that’s up to Canelo, and I think he’s looking to make a fight in May,” Arum said.
It’s hard to imagine Canelo picking undefeated IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) as his next opponent for May 7, because it’s such a big leap in class and ability. fighters he has faced since 2018. .
Canelo has shown a pattern over the past four years of the type of opponents he prefers to face, and Beterbiev doesn’t fit the description because of his ability.
Generally, Canelo picked opposition that had almost no chance of beating him, and he stayed away from fighters who could hand him his second career loss.
Beterbiev would have a great chance of beating Canelo, as would Benavidez, Joe Smith Jr. and Bivol. Therefore, none of these fighters were chosen by the Mexican star.
Is Joe Smith Jr. in the Canelo draw?
“Joe Smith Jr. is fighting this weekend. He was originally supposed to fight Callum Johnson, which I was really interested in because you had two heavy hitters in a fight that would have ended in a knockout,” Chris Mannix said on boxing.
“Johnson had to step down because of COVID, and you have Steve Geffrard stepping in. Geffrard has won eighteen fights in a row but is a very low level type of opponent.
“No huge expectations for Geffrard in this fight. What interests me a bit is less this fight, but what comes next for Joe Smith, because there are going to be a lot of interesting Joe Smith parties.
“If you’re Top Rank, you might want to try and do this Joe Smith vs. Beterbiev fight, which would be for three belts in the 175-pound division. If you are Canelo and Joe Smith makes this fight, does he make it into this draw?
“I doubt it, but he’s got a light heavyweight belt and he’s an American,” Mannix said of Canelo, potentially showing interest in fighting 175-pound WBO champion Smith if he wins his fight tonight. against Geffrard.
“You can probably market this fight pretty decently, especially if you’re willing to make the fight in New York. Daniel Jacobs is there and fights in February [against John Ryder].
“He’s someone we talked about between these two guys [Smith and Jacobs] over the past two weeks or so.
“Assuming Joe Smith gets through this fight relatively unscathed, what do you see going forward for him in the light heavyweight division?”
Beterbiev an option for Smith’s next fight
“The obvious fight to have and the fight that people wanted to see is Joe Smith versus Artur Beterbiev,” Keith Idec said. “Beterbiev is the biggest knockout hitter in boxing among world champions, and he’s knocked out all professional opponents with 17 fights and 17 knockouts.
“This fight should be able to be done as they are both co-promoted by Top Rank. The way it was explained to me, Joe Smith was not happy with the financial offer he received to fight Beterbiev.
“He wants more money for the fight. If he gets that money, the [Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr] fight can be set up. It will be a big event in Montreal at the Bell Center or Madison Square Garden or you can put it on Long Island.
“That would be perfect because Joe Smith would get a lot of Long Island fans for the fight. So you can make money for the gate of this fight whether you put it in Canada or New York.