Joe Smith Jr. has fought some of the best in the business and the current WBO light heavyweight champion looks untested heading into Saturday’s bout.
The American faces late replacement Steve Geffrard, who accepted the fight on only eight days’ notice. It’s a tough situation for the 18-2 Geffrard and the sportsbook agrees.
Geffrard is paying +650 to win, so he’s not given much chance to cause a massive upset win in the title fight at Turning Stone Resort.
There were some big boxing fights in 2021, but Smith could kick off 2022 with a bang.
Joe Smith Jr. vs Steve Geffrard
Challenger Facing Massive Class Rise
We give credit to the 31-year-old Steve Geffrard for taking the challenge, but it’s a dangerous situation for him.
He is 18-2, but he has been fighting low-level fighters. His most recent win came over 20-11-1 Denis Grachev, who holds a one-star rating. For context, Smith holds a five-star rating.
His best fight came when beating Dmitry Sukhotsky for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific light heavyweight title. The win came over a 23-4 fighter, but it was still only a two-star fight.
Geffrard wasn’t expecting to be offered the fight, but it’s an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“I was actually looking forward to watch Callum Johnson and Joe Smith fight. Their style matchups would have made for a great fight; you know?” Geffrard told RingTV. “I was sitting in the sauna and my coach Kevin Cunningham called me and said, ‘Man, you’re never going to believe this. They just called for you to fight Joe Smith Jr. for the title.’ I was like, ‘Wow. This is insane.’
“It’s crazy that’s how boxing works. One call like that (can change your life]. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Boxing betting odds aren’t giving him much chance at +650, but it’s shorter than we expected. We thought he would be in the +1000 range, so he’s being respected.
Smith Brings the Class
Current champion Smith comes off four consecutive five-star fights, so he’s battle hardened.
The Long Island native won the WBC light heavyweight title in 2016 when beating Andrzej Fonfara before landing a knockout blow on Bernard Hopkins, so we love his credentials.
He lost that title to Sullivan Barrera before losing to Dmitry Bivol. However, he bounced back to take the WBO World light heavyweight title against Maxim Vlasov in April last year.
Smith has been tested against the very best in the world throughout his career, so facing someone like Geffrard shouldn’t pose too many challenges.
He is the fourth-ranked light heavyweight in the world and top American. Despite betting online markets posting Smith Jr. at only -1200, we think he represents a -1600 chance at least.
It would be a big shock if Smith was beaten. It could spell the end of his career, so his mind will be focused on beating the unheralded opponent.
Take Smith to the Bank
We wouldn’t be going against Smith, who could wrap up the fight in the first few rounds.
Bettors should expect Smith to score a knockout win over Geffrard, who has had limited time to train and that won’t do him any favors.
He’s already outclassed, so having only eight day to prepare for a world title fight is disastrous.
Bettors have to take -1200, but it’s a value price. It should end in a knockout, so ride Smith to the bank.