By Craig Daly: Former WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith jr. says he’s going to take some time deciding on what to do with his future after his second-round knockout loss to IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev last weekend in New York.
It’s hard to know where Smith, 32, can go from here after this defeat. If he chooses to continue his career, he’s got some tough fighters that he would need to defeat to get in a position to try and win another world title.
The way that Beterbiev dominated Smith, it would be a waste of time to go back in with him. If Beterbiev moves up in weight in the next year or two, Smith could go after one of the vacated titles if he’s still a champion.
Smith (28-4, 22 KOs) lost his bearing after being hurt in the first round from a right-hand shot from Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) that glanced off the top of his head.
It wasn’t a big punch from Beterbiev, but where it landed high on the head of Smith hurt him, causing him to lose his equilibrium.
“This past weekend did not go as planned as I lost my focus on the game plan after making a mistake that led me to get caught behind my ear, knocking off my equilibrium that I could not recover from,” said Joe Smith Jr. on Instagram, explaining why he lost to Artur Beterbiev.
Smith should have collected himself in between rounds and focused on staying on the outside in the second round. When Smith came out for the second, he continued trying to slug with Beterbiev as if nothing had happened in the first.
In hindsight, that was a BIG mistake on Smith’s part because he made it easy for Beterbiev to finish him.
“I should have taken a deep breath, relaxed, and got back to boxing. I just wanted to fight, which (led) me into the same traps,” said Smith.
I am going to take some time, stay in shape and decide what the future holds for me,” said Smith Jr.
Smith failed to tie up after hurt
“The best man won. I thought the guy that landed the first hard punch was going to win it, and that’s what happened,” said ring announcer David Diamante to SecondsOut about last Saturday’s fight between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr.
“It seemed like once Joe got hit and got rocked, it was hard for him to [recover]. He didn’t hold, he didn’t use his legs, he didn’t use his jab, and he just took a lot of punches.
“You can’t do that with Beterbiev because he’s just too strong. The 175-lb scene in England is massive. You’ve got [Joshua] Buatsi, Craig Richards, and obviously Yarde. There are so many great fighters in the 175-lb division.
“Obviously, him [Anthony Yarde] fighting Beterbiev, that’s a great fight. We’ll see. Him and Tunde were in town, and it looks like they set that up,” said Diamante.