Jesse Hart vs. Joe Smith Jr. Preview
By Robert Ecksel on January 10, 2020
“This is not only for myself. This is my family. This is my big brother, Bernard Hopkins.”
Saturday night, in a fight televised live on ESPN from the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hard Rock in Atlantic City, New Jersey, light heavyweight Jesse “Hollywood” Hart (26-2, 21 KOs), the son the semi legendary Eugene “Cyclone” Hart from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with tangle with Joe Smith Jr. (24-3, 20 KOs), the two-fisted construction worker from Long Island, New York,, in hopes of exacting revenge for Philly mainstay, Bernard Hopkins, who Smith punched into an overdue retirement at the age of 51.
No title is on the line.
“I’m not looking at what’s next,” said Hart on a recent conference call. “It’s been rough on me since 2016 since that Joe Smith-Bernard Hopkins fight happened. I’m not looking at nothing else. That shit was hurtful to me. This is not business. This is not for bragging rights neither. This is something that my family put on me. This fight is more of a family thing. With family, it’s personal. That’s family, so at the end of the day, for me on my end, this is for my family. This is not only for myself. This is my family. This is my big brother, Bernard Hopkins.”
Fighters sometimes find motivation in the strangest places, and Hopkins, a defensive fighter par excellence in his day, was fighting beyond his past due date, and the end might not have been inevitable, unlike B-Hop’s response to the defeat, but it was decisive, and Joe Smith Jr. knows it.
“It’s always personal with me as well,” he said. “If that’s what he feels he’s fighting for, good for him. Hearing about how Jesse was inspired by Bernard Hopkins growing up, it gives me inspiration and it motivates me to put on a great show to inspire other people who are watching me. I want people to talk about me like Jesse’s talking about Hopkins.
“It looks like I am going to have to let Philly down one more time.”
The broadcast starts at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.