Sizing Up Dmitriy Bivol vs. Joe Smith

On Saturday night, WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs), the composed and technically sound Russian meets Joe Smith, Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs) in Smith’s neck of the woods, at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. The match will stream live on DAZN, and it appears on paper to be a classic boxer vs. puncher faceoff.
The scouting report for this exciting match-up is below:

According Main Events’ Matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, “This match-up is a great one! Joe Smith gained national attention with his upset…

..against a legend in Bernard Hopkins, the future Hall-of-Famer.  Opponents are not lining up to face Dmitry Bivol but the champion is willing to fight anyone at any time. Despite the buzz around Bivol, Smith is ready to step up and take on the young champion and prove he ranks among the top contenders in the stacked light heavyweight division.”

My three cents: Smith lost his seventh pro outing, against Eddie Caminero, and then again to Sullivan Barrera after beating Hopkins. Caminero broke Joe’s jaw, and that jaw was busted again in round two against Barrera. He fought once since, downing Melvin Russell in round one last June. Bivol isn’t a bomber, but does he whack hard enough to make someone worried about a jaw that is uncooperative? For sure; Joe has to hope a home-run hook or mad-bomber right catches Bivol unawares. He has that consummate punchers’ chance but is a pretty deep underdog, because Bivol is a rock-solid technician. This is a harder and higher climb than old man Hopkins.

Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site