Bernard Hopkins vs Joe Smith Jr. Preview December 17th
Bernard Hopkins will enter the ring for what is supposedly the last time this Saturday, December 17th when he squares off against Joe Smith Jr at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. The 12-round light heavyweight bout for the WBC International Championship can be seen live in North America on HBO while fans in the UK can check it out on BoxNation. Hopkins last fought back in November of 2014 when he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to former world champion Sergey Kovalev. Smith stopped Andrzej Fonfara in the first round in June in his last outing.
Hopkins vs Smith Betting Odds
Here are the winner odds from online sportsbook 5dimes.eu
- Joe Smith Jr. +220
- Bernard Hopkins -260
The 51-year-old Hopkins of Philadelphia enters ring with a record of 55-7-2 along with 32 Kos and has six wins in his past 10 outings. He’s likely to have some ring rust since he hasn’t fought for two years and he also claims he’s retiring after the bout. Regardless of his age, Hopkins always enters the ring in excellent condition even if he’s often reluctant to let his hands go. He’ll definitely be motivated if this really is his last pro fight. He’s facing the 27-year-old Smith of Long Island, New York, who carries a record of 22-1 along with 18 Kos. He’s win 16 contests in a row including his first-round upset over Fonfara in June, which was his sixth stoppage in the past seven outings.
Other than the age difference, the big story here is the power of Smith against the experience and tactics of Hopkins. Smith has pretty good power with a current knockout ratio of 78 per cent, but it’s hard to stop a guy you can’t catch solidly. Hopkins has been in the ring with the best of his era, so there’s nothing Smith can bring to the fight that he hasn’t seen before. Hopkins has faced the likes of Kovalev, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones Jr., Joe Calzaghe, Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, William Joppy, Simon Brown, Glen Johnson, and Lupe Aquino.
His losses have been against Jermain Taylor (twice), Jones, Calzaghe, Dawson and Kovalev. Hopkins also lost his pro debut back in 1988 when Clinton Mitchell beat him by a four-round majority decision. He has a great chin though as he’s never been stopped during his long and storied career. His two draws came against Pascal and Segundo Mercado. Hopkins stands 6-feet-1-inch and has a 75-inch wingspan. He’s boxed 506 rounds since turning pro in 1988, but isn’t really a heavy hitter since his current knockout ratio is just 48 per cent. Hopkins is good at controlling the tempo and range in his fights, but he shouldn’t be allowed to.
Hopkins is generally given way too much respect in the ring by his opponents and that’s often the main reason he comes away with the win. He isn’t the cleanest fighter around either, but has good speed and footwork and is a fine defensive boxer. His biggest problem is that he doesn’t throw anywhere near enough punches. However, he has improved on this in the last few fights, but still hasn’t stopped anybody since back in 2004 when he dropped De La Hoya with a body shot. If he can’t keep Smith off of him he’s going to pay for it with a lot of leather in his face and body.
Look for Hopkins to do his share of holding and try to turn this into an awkward and ugly fight. Smith just needs to initiate the action without letting up and force Hopkins to fight all three minutes of every round. Smith is giving up a slight height advantage to Hopkins as he’s 6-foot-tall with an unlisted reach. His lone loss came to Eddie Caminero in 2010 in Smith’s seventh pro outing. Smith isn’t a big-name opponent, but he’s beaten the likes of Fonfara, Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Tyrell Hendrix, Cory Cummings, and Will Rosinsky. He turned pro back in 2009 and has fought 72 rounds since then. He’s a knockout artist who throws good combinations and possesses a great right hand.
While Hopkins deserves a lot of credit and respect for what he’s achieved in the ring, he needs to throw punches to keep Smith off of him. This fight is Smith’s for the taking if he wants it. All he has to do is go after Hopkins and don’t allow him to dictate the pace and rest when he wants to. Smith needs to keep the pressure on all night long and he should emerge victorious. If he show Hopkins too much respect he loses.
This is Smith’s fight if he utilizes the right tactics.
Play: Smith +220 @ 5dimes.eu
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