On Saturday night, March 9th, Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs) from Saint Petersburg, Russia will take on New York native Joe Smith Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs) on DAZN at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Bivol will be defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title for the fourth time.
Joe Smith Jr. is the heavy underdog coming into the fight but he does have one thing going for him – he has good power in both hands and is a high pressure fighter. Against most other opponents, it would count for a lot, but this is Bivol we are talking about. He’s a very technical boxer who will take, the brutish slugger, Joe Smith Jr. to school. Smith Jr. has a puncher’s chance but it is unlikely that Bivol will make any crucial mistakes. Styles make fights, and the superior technical boxer usually beats the guy who likes to brawl. Unless Smith Jr. can turn the fight into a dog fight, it will not be a good night for him.
For Bivol, he needs to dominate Smith Jr. Getting a knockout would be good. Joe Smith Jr. has a lot of heart and a pretty solid chin. They have a common opponent in Sullivan Barrera (22-2, 14 KOs), who Bivol scored a KO against and Joe Smith Jr. lost a decision to. Styles make fights, but Barrera gave Smith Jr. problems. Bivol has much better footwork and technical skills than Barrera which led to his victory. Bivol has a serious chance of knocking out Smith Jr. in the later rounds. It will be Bivol’s relentless jab, outside work, and footwork that give Smith Jr. nightmares all fight.
Dmitry Bivol has stated that he wants the biggest fights possible at either 168 or 175. He said that he makes 175 very easily, and could definitely make 168. The Super Middleweight division is pretty stacked. It is made up of WBA champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), IBF champion Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KOs), WBC champion Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) and WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs). In addition, Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs), who recently moved up to 168, Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) just scored the biggest win of his career against an aged James DeGale (rtd.). It would be interesting to see Bivol try his luck at jumping back and forth between 168 and 175. Maybe he could score a blockbuster fight with WBA “Regular” champion Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 25 KOs) at 168. It’s unlikely, but a man has to dream.
Bivol vs. Smith Jr. will be shown on the DAZN streaming platform. The undercard is scheduled to begin at 6pm EST, while the main card will begin at approximately 9pm EST. DAZN is offering a free 30-day trial, and is still at a very modest price of $9.99 a month (includes all fights under the DAZN banner). You can stream the app on your TV, laptop, mobile device, Playstation 3 or 4, Xbox one. Other fights on the card include Maurice Hooker vs Mikkel LesPierre, Callum Johnson vs. Sean Monaghan, Sergey Kuzmin vs. Joey Dawejko, and Yamaguchi Falcao vs. Paul Mendez.
Fight Prediction: Bivol by TKO in the later rounds.