ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – JANUARY 11: Joe Smith Jr lands a left hand against Jesse Hart on January 11, … [+]
The light heavyweight division doesn’t look like a good fit for Jesse Hart.
On Saturday night, the once promising, but underachieving super middleweight, ran into a buzzsaw in perennial contender Joe Smith Jr.
Smith came away with the split-decision victory, that should have been unanimous, as he controlled most of the fight. The judges scored the fight 97-92 and 98-91 for Smith, and the third judge somehow scored it 95-94 for Hart.
Here is how the boxing community responded to the result:
Hart was outboxed for most of the second half of the 10-round bout and even dropped in the eighth. The hard-punching Smith hurt Hart on several occasions and his pressure seemed to drain his opponent’s energy.
Hart looked as if he was simply trying to go the distance in the last three rounds, and also as if he was struggling with a real light heavyweight’s size and strength. Hart dropped to 26-3 with the loss. The 30-year-old Philadelphia fighter wanted to avenge his idol Bernard Hopkins’ career-ending loss to Smith from 2016, but it wasn’t to be.
Smith proved to be the better man as he bounced back from a loss in his last fight back in March 2019 against Dmitry Bivol.
Hart must go back to the drawing board to work on his stamina and technical acumen. He may have hit his ceiling, and if he has, he has fallen short of world-title glory.
As for Smith, he looked a little sharper than he has in the past from a pure boxing standpoint. He’ll never be a wizard in that regard, but the 30-year-old did enough to secure another noteworthy fight, and perhaps a title shot in his next bout.