Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) will face Sullivan Barrera (19-1, 14 KOs) on July 15 at the Forum in Los Angeles as part of an HBO Boxing After Dark card.
After knocking former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins out of the ring in his last fight, it was expected Smith would fight for the world light heavyweight title against Adonis Stevenson, but that’s not the case.
In his Dec. 17 bout against the legendary Hopkins, Smith knocked the former champion completely out of the ring in the eighth round to win by TKO.
“I’m thrilled to be back on HBO against another top light-heavyweight,” Smith said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to another victory on my way to a world title shot.”
The Smith-Barrera bout will open the HBO “Boxing After Dark” telecast and be followed by Panamanian Jezreel Corrales against Mexican Robinson Castellanos for the WBA super featherweight title. In the main event, WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt of Mexico will face former champion Takashi Miura of Japan.
The question, of course, is why isn’t he already fighting for a world title against Stevenson, whose title is on the line on June 3 against Andrzej Fonfara, who suffered a first-round TKO loss to Smith last June.