JOE SMITH JNR intends to upset the odds on Saturday and be the first person to ever stop Bernard Hopkins when he takes on the retiring Philadelphian.
Former two-weight world champion Hopkins will hang up his gloves after the light-heavyweight 12-round with Smith in Inglewood, California.
But Smith – a slight underdog who stunned Andrzej Fonfara in June – plans on spoiling the leaving party for Hopkins in dramatic fashion.
“I can’t even describe how excited I am to say it’s finally fight week,” he said.
“I’m ready for this Saturday and am very excited. I know I’m going to be there with a legend but I’ve worked very hard in the gym and made many sacrifices to get to where I am today. He is a legend, but Saturday night he’s just another opponent. I’m looking to stop him, be the first person to stop him in his entire career.”
Smith suffered his sole career defeat in 2010 when unheralded Eddie Caminero stopped him in four rounds. Boxing well up until the finish, Smith’s jaw appeared damaged in the fourth and he turned his back before the referee ended proceedings.
Heavy-handed and aggressive, he has won the majority of his fights inside schedule though Fonfara – who he hammered inside a round – is his only scalp of note.
“I believe he’s going to make a statement, and as Bernard’s last fight I think it’s Joe’s coming out party,” Smith’s trainer, Jerry Capobianco, said.
“I know my father is looking down on us, and we’re going to be victorious. For all those counting the odds, you can double your money.”