Joe Smith Jr. vs Maxim Vlasov Preview Feb. 13th
The vacant WBO Light Heavyweight title is on the line this Saturday, Feb. 13th as Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York will be taking on Maxim Vlasov of Russia at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas. The 12-round bout can be seen live in America on ESPN and ESPN Deportes while those in the UK can catch the action on BoxNation and Canadians can see it on TSN 5. Smith last fought in August when he stopped Eleider Alvarez in the ninth round while Vlasov was last in the ring in November 2019 when he beat Emmanuel Martey by a 10-round unanimous decision.
Smith Jr. vs Vlasov Betting Odds
- Maxim Vlasov +250
- Joe Smith Jr. -310
The 31-year-old Smith is a former WBC International and WBO NABA Light Heavyweight Champion who is on a bit of a hot streak with his stoppage of Alvarez and a 10-round split decision over Jesse Hart in his previous outing in January, 2020. Those two wins were much needed as he dropped a 10-round unanimous decision to Sullivan Barrera in July of 2017, then fought Melvin Russell as a hand-picked opponent to regain some of his lost confidence and to get back in the win column and stopped him in 105 seconds.
However, Smith then suffered another setback in March, 2019 when he lost a unanimous decision in a shot at Dmitry Bivol and his WBA world title. 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 though after stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round six months earlier. After all his recent action, Smith will climb into the ring with a mark of 26-3 with 21 Kos.
Smith was riding a 17-fight winning streak going before losing to Barrera with seven of his previous eight wins being by stoppage. He’s shown in the past that he sometimes has dynamite in his fists and is carrying around a current knockout ratio of 72.4 per cent, including the stoppages over top-ranked boxers such as Alvarez, Fonfara and Hopkins. Smith stands 6-feet-tall with an unlisted reach and has fought 123 rounds since turning pro back in 2009.
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’s a bit inconsistent as he’s 3-2 in his last five outings.
As for Vlasov, he’s now 34 years old and will climb through the ropes with a mark of 45-3 with 26 Kos. He turned pro in 2005 and has 281 rounds of experience under his belt. His losses came against Krzysztof Glowacki in 2018, Isaac Chilemba in 2011 and Gilberto Ramirez in 2015 with all of them coming via unanimous decisions. The fight against Glowacki was a 12-round affair for the WBO interim World Cruiserweight Title.
His biggest wins have some against the likes of Chilemba in their rematch, Denton Daley, Derrick Findley, Mark Suarez and Vikapita Meroro. He hasn’t taken on any legitimate world class contenders to be honest as his experience is against European and Grade B level opposition. Vlasov is just over 6-feet-3-inches tall with a 76.5-inch reach. This gives him a 3.5-inch height advantage over Smith as he’s the naturally bigger man and used to fight in the cruiserweight division.
Vlasov also has a solid chin and mediocre power with a current knockout ratio of 54.2 per cent. Since turning pro he’s also won the WBC Asian Boxing Council, and the WBC Baltic Super Middleweight Titles as well as the WBC Baltic Light Heavyweight Title and the IBO Inter-Continental, WBA International, WBA Continental, and WBC Silver Cruiserweight titles.
Smith has been a hard boxer to predict over the years as he wins fights you expect him to lose and loses those you expect him to win. He’s got good power but Vlasov has a solid chin so he might need to outbox the Russian and that’s not really his strong point. I’m expecting this to go the distance and it’s a tossup. Vlasov has been out of action for about 15 months and that’s not going to help while Smith has already fought in the bubble. This is an even matchup with Vlasov being the better boxer and Smith the better puncher. I have a feeling Smith is going to have his moments but I’m going with a close Vlasov victory. .
Vlasov is the slightly better boxer.
Play Vlasov +250 @ BetOnline.ag
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