Jesse Hart vs Joe Smith Jr. Preview Jan. 11th
Jesse Hart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania takes on Joe Smith Jr of Long Island, New York in a 10-round light heavyweight battle this Saturday, January 11th. The fight takes place in Atlantic City and can be seen in the USA on ESPN and ESPN Deportes while fans in Canada can catch it on TSN 5. Hart’s last contest took place in June when he beat Sullivan Barrera by a 10-round unanimous decision. Smith last saw action in March when he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol.
Hart vs Smith Jr. Betting Odds
- Joe Smith Jr + 350
Jesse Hart -440
Jesse Hart is a 30-year-old former amateur standout, U.S. Olympic alternate and Golden Gloves Champion. He turned pro back in 2012 and has racked up an impressive record of 26-2 since then with 21 Kos under his belt in a total of 124 pro rounds. He stands 6-feet-3-inches tall with a a 77.5-inch reach and has better than average power as his current knockout ratio stands at 75 per cent. The only problem with Hart is his lack of experience against quality opponents other than Barrera, Gilberto Ramirez, Derrick Findley and Mike Jiminez.
In his first bout against Ramirez in 2017 for the WBO Super Middleweight Title, Hart gave as good as he got but fell short on the judges’ scorecards with results of 115-112, 115-112 and 114-113 and was dropped by the champion in the second round. Before the rematch he stopped Thomas Awimbono, Demond Nicholson and Mike Gavronski in the the first, seventh and third rounds respectively. Hart then lost a majority decision to Ramirez in a rematch before moving up in weight against Barrera.
The 30-year-old Smith is a former WBC International Champion who dropped a 10-round unanimous decision and his title to Sullivan Barrera in July of 2017. Smith then fought Melvin Russell as a hand-picked opponent to regain some of his lost confidence and to get back in the win column. Smith’s best known for stopping Bernard Hopkins in the eighth round in December of 2016 when he knocked him clean put of the ring in Hopkins’ farewell fight. He had made a name for himself after stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round six months earlier.
However, his hot streak then came to an end against Barrera even though Smith had him down in the first round and his defeat to Bivol means he’s lost two of his last three contests. He had a 17-fight winning streak going before losing to Barrera with seven of his previous eight wins being by stoppage. Smith has shown that he has dynamite in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 74.1 per cent, including the stoppages over top-ranked boxers such as Fonfara and Hopkins. Smith stands 6-feet-tall with an unlisted reach so gives up three inches to Hart and has fought 104 rounds since turning pro back in 2009.
Smith will climb through the ropes with a mark of 24-3 with 20 Kos. His other pro defeat came at the hands of Eddie Caminero by a fourth-round TKO in 2010 in Smith’s seventh pro outing. He’s also beaten the likes of Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Tyrell Hendrix, Cory Cummings, and Will Rosinsky. He appears to be a fine knockout artist who throws good combinations and possesses a great right hand. However, he struggles when facing skilled boxers and those with more power than him.
If Smith uses his power, experience and aggressiveness to good effect he should be able to make things difficult for Hart. Of course, he also has to be wary of Hart’s power while he’s at it. This is a pretty even matchup but I think Hart has a slight edge in what should be a close fight due to his better boxing skills.
Hart’s boxing ability should be the difference.
Play: Hart -440 @ BetOnline.ag
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