Joe Smith Jr looking past Beterbiev, wants Bivol undisputed fight at 175

WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. is already looking beyond his June 18th unification with IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev next month towards a hoped-for undisputed match against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) lost a wide 12-round unanimous decision to Bivol three years ago in March 2019 in Verona, New York, and he’d like nothing better than to avenge that defeat as soon as possible.

Before Bivol can free himself up to face the Beterbiev vs. Smith winner, he has a potential rematch against Canelo Alvarez that he may need to win first.

Bivol defeated Canelo earlier this month on May 7th in Las Vegas in a 12-round unanimous decision, but the Mexican star says he wants a rematch.

Of course, Canelo might change his mind, but we likely won’t know for certain until next month, when he must make a decision whether to exercise his rematch clause for the Bivol fight.

Smith, 32, might be kidding himself, thinking he’s going to defeat Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs). If he does, it’ll be an impressive feat because there are many people that believe he’s going to crumble like he did in his losses to Bivol, Sullivan Barrera, and Eddie Caminero.

“I don’t want to go 12 rounds; if I can get him out in two, three, four, whatever it may be, I’m going to do it,” said Joe Smith Jr to DAZN about his June 18th unification fight against IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.

“I still believe Bivol is the best light heavyweight right now, and I believe he will be until I get my rematch. I know he’s great, and he put on a great show against Canelo, so you can’t doubt him.

“Everyone he’s got in the ring with, he’s made them look ordinary,” said Smith about Bivol.

Canelo lost not because of the size advantage for Bivol but rather because of his subpar stamina and his poor fundamentals.

Canelo is essentially just a heavy-handed counterpuncher, and those types of fighters struggle against pure boxers or fighters with a high work rate.

Smith is going to need to go to war with Beterbiev for him to win on June 18th because he’s not going to win by boxing.

“That’s what I want; I want to be undisputed,” said Smith. “If we can make that fight happen sooner rather than later, I want to become undisputed as quickly as possible.”

You can argue that Smith is the least likely to be the last man standing at the end when the smoke clears. Bivol might be the favorite, but Beterbiev has the power and the high-pressure style of fighting that can grind Bivol down.