Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
Joe Smith Jr., the quiet part-time fighter, part-time construction worker who recently knocked Bernard Hopkins out of the ring during his farewell party, took to Twitter earlier to comment that he is humbled by the media’s response in naming him as a candidate for Fighter of the Year.
“I would like to thank all the different media sites that have nominated me for various awards,” the Long Island, NY native wrote. “I’m deeply humbled by this.”
Smith Jr. was shortlisted by a number of boxing media outlets for Fighter of the Year after his two major KO victories in 2016, wherein he was a major underdog both times.
After being asked by a fan on Twitter who he felt the Fighter of the Year was, Showtime analyst and Welterweight Paulie Malignaggi wrote “U [sic] know I think we gotta consider (Smith Jr.) after winning two fights in which he was a big underdog, and by KO at that, and retiring a legend.”
It is unclear what 2017 will have in store for the shy, blue-collar Smith, coming off of such a major year. There have been rumblings of an all-Long-Island showdown between Smith Jr. and apparent rival Seanie Monaghan, which seems to be the way to go.
Smith Jr. has certainly deserved a slot in the top 10 in the Light Heavyweight division, but to serve him up to a Sergey Kovalev or Andre Ward would be rather unfair to a young fighter that is only just beginning to make waves in the sport.
Asked on Twitter about this, Smith Jr. joked, “I’ll have to have a word with Mr. Iole when I see him.”
Header photo by Amber Williams/RBRBoxing