Light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr is riding high after his stunning upset win over Andrzej Fonfara. Smith Jr was listed as high as a 14-1 underdog by some betting outlets and overcame those odds by knocking down Fonfara twice in route to a first round knock out win. With the victory Smith now finds himself in line to get a possible world title shot.
In my interview with Joe Smith Jr, I discuss with him the big win and how his life has changed since the fight. Smith also talks the other champions in the weight class and how he thinks he would do facing them in the ring. Additionally Smith talks about the first round with Fonfara, if he thought it was over after the knockdown and if he thinks he can quit his day job.. Here is what Joe Smith had to say.
Robert Brown: How has life changed after your big win over Andrzej Fonfara?
Joe Smith Jr: It’s been great, everybody is starting to recognize me. Everywhere I go I got people stopping me and asking for my autograph or photos, it’s pretty cool.
Robert Brown: After knocking out Fonfara, people will be coming after you now. Does your mindset change?
Joe Smith Jr: No, my mindset is not going to change. I’m motivated and focused on getting to the top to become the champion, nothing is going to change that. I’m still focused on what the goals are and staying the same.
Robert Brown: You were a 14-1 underdog in a lot of sports books. Did any of your coworkers put some money on you?
Joe Smith Jr: I know a lot of my friends and people who knew who I was, they all bet on me and a lot of them made a lot of money.
Robert Brown: The division you’re in is probably the most talent rich division in boxing. How far off do you think you are from fighting someone like Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev?
Joe Smith Jr: I don’t know. Honestly, I’m hoping it’s one of them is next. I want to get to the top as fast as possible and I would like to fight Adonis Stevenson next if we can make it happen.
Robert Brown: What do you believe your strengths would be against Adonis Stevenson?
Joe Smith Jr: I think I’m a little better on my feet, maybe I can outbox him for a few rounds. He leaves himself open too, so maybe eventually I’d catch him with a shot. I would have to be cautious, I never underestimate anybody, I know he’s a tough guy and he can punch as well. I just have to go in there cautiously and do what I do.
Robert Brown: Fonfara was coming in aggressively and you caught him with an overhand right and knocked him down. Were you confident that he was hurt after you hit him with that shot?
Joe Smith Jr: Yeah when I hit him with that shot, I hit him right on the chin and my hand just slid right off his face. I knew he was pretty hurt and didn’t have his legs under him yet, so I wanted to get on him as quick as possible. That’s what I do, I’m a finisher and if I got somebody hurt, I’m gonna finish him, I’m not gonna give them a chance to recover. I kept my composure, I didn’t jump right on him and smother myself, I kept my distance and I picked my shots.
Robert Brown: Andre Ward is going to take on Sergey Kovalev in November. Who do you think wins that fight?
Joe Smith Jr: I don’t know, there’s a chance that Andre might outbox him but if Kovalev can land a good shot, he might take him out.
Robert Brown: What fighters do you like to follow and watch in boxing?
Joe Smith Jr: I’m a fan of the sport, I like watching Mayweather and Pacquiao. I like watching the champions fight.
Robert Brown: Since your win over Fonfara, have you been able to give up your day job and go into boxing full time?
Joe Smith Jr: Right now, I’m taking some time off of everything, I’m going to relax for a week or two. I’ll decide what I want to do, I’m sure I’m going to have to go to work for a little bit until I find out what the next fight is going to be. I had an opportunity and I had to take advantage of it and do everything I could to get that win.