Joe Smith Jr. vs Steven Geffrard Preview Jan. 15, 2022
WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York will be taking on Steve Geffrard of Miami, Florida at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York this Saturday, January 15th. The 12-round bout can be seen live in America on ESPN and ESPN+ while fans in the UK can catch it on Sky Sports Arena and those in Canada can see it on TSN 5. Smith won the vacant title the last time out with a majority decision over Maxim Vlasov in April. Geffrard last fought in March when he beat Denis Grachev via an eight-round unanimous decision. Smith was supposed to defend the belt against Callum Johnson this weekend but he had to pull out after testing positive for Covid.
Smith Jr. vs Geffrard Betting Odds
Here are the betting odds from online sportsbook BetOnline.ag (full review here).
- Steve Geffrard +600
- Joe Smith Jr. -1000
The 32-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 win over Vlasov, ninth-round stoppage of Eleider Alvarez in August, 2020 and a 10-round split decision over Jesse Hart in January, 2020. Those three straight wins were welcomed indeed after dropping losing two of his previous three via a 10-round unanimous decision to Sullivan Barrera in 2017 and a unanimous decision defeat to Dmitry Bivol in 2019 in a shot at the WBA world title.
Smith of course, made a name for himself and is probably best known for stopping Bernard Hopkins in the eighth round in December, 2016 when he knocked him clean put of the ring in Hopkins’ farewell fight. He had really put his name on the map after stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round six months earlier though to be honest. After all his recent action, Smith will climb into the ring this weekend with a mark of 27-3 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 70 per cent, including stoppages over top-ranked boxers such as Alvarez, Fonfara and Hopkins. Smith stands 6-feet-tall with a 76-inch reach and has fought 135 rounds since turning pro back in 2009.
His other pro defeat came at the hands of Eddie Caminero by 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 4-2 in his last sic outings.
As for Geffrard, he’s 31 years old and will climb through the ropes with a mark of 18-2 with 12 Kos. He turned pro in 2013 and has just 77 rounds of experience under his belt since. His losses came in his first two pro bouts as he was stopped in the third round by Kentrell Claiborne in his debut and dropped a four-round split decision to Travis Reeves four months later. Since then he’s won 18 straight fights with 12 stoppages for a current knockout ratio of 60 per cent.
Geffrard stands 6-feet-2-inches tall so has a two-inch height advantage on Smith but his reach is unlisted. He started boxing at the age of 13 and enjoyed a fine amateur career. He took part in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials where he was beaten by heavyweight Michael Hunter and was a 2010 National Golden Gloves Champion at 201 lbs, beating Joshua Temple and Andrew Tabiti along the way. In 2020 he was also a USA National Champion, PAL National Champion and the USA Boxing Athlete of the Year.
However, as a pro, Geffrard is relatively unknown with his most recognizable opponents being Shannon Miller, Brad Austin, Cory Cummings, Samuel Miller, Zoltan Sera and Denis Grachev. He also managed to win the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Heavyweight Title in December, 2016 when he stopped Dmitry Sukhotskiy after seven rounds. However, just six of Geffrard’s 20 opponents have entered the ring with winning records.
Smith has been a bit difficult 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 as does Geffrard and both of them have pretty good chins even though they’ve each been stopped once. This could turn out to be a pretty decent matchup even though Geffrard is a relative unknown and a late replacement for Callum Johnson. Smith enters the fight as the betting favourite and that could actually be the kiss of death for him as he excels when he’s the underdog. I expect this to be a close fight which could actually go either way or end in a draw. However, Smith’s experience and power should see him retain his title.
Smith has more power and experience.
Play Smith -1000 @ BetOnline.ag
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Joe Smith Jr. betting • Steve Geffrard betting