Joe Smith Fought on With a Broken Jaw

By Marc Livitz on July 18, 2017
Joe Smith Fought on With a Broken Jaw
Smith is set to undergo surgery this week in New York. (David Spagnolo/Star Boxing)

“Frankly it’s amazing that he continued to valiantly fight over the next eight rounds and finish the fight…”

This past Saturday evening, boxing fans were treated to a trifecta of televised title fights, albeit some for minor titles on HBO. The night’s main event, which featured Miguel Berchelt playing ring matador in defense of his WBC super featherweight title against Takashi Miura, may not have had the “wow” factor many had anticipated but still showed the prowess of a budding champion.

Perhaps the least intriguing of the contests shown by the premium cable giant was the first of the three. Joe Smith, Jr. was vaulted into the boxing spotlight last December when he put the finishing touches on the career of one of the sport’s most legendary talents, the then 51-year-old man known as “The Alien,” Bernard Hopkins. Smith (23-2, 19 KO’s) sent Hopkins through the ropes and out of the ring with a four-punch special in the eighth round to successfully defend his WBC International light heavyweight title.

Sullivan Barrera was Joe’s opponent on Saturday night at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. With thirty seconds to go in the first round, Smith caught Barrera (20-1, 14 KO’s) with a powerful left hook to the forehead which sent the Cuban defector to the canvas. The sight of this caused the Long Island native to run to his corner, jump onto the lowest rung of ropes and raise his hands skyward in victory. Of course, Barrera adjusted and proceeded to outbox Smith using superior technique he may have learned in his amateur days and got in some great punches of his own.

Referee Jack Reiss approached Joe’s corner before the eighth round and asked him if he was fit to continue, as the trained eye may have seen the bout becoming a shutout. CompuBox numbers showed a near one hundred punch advantage in terms of connected effort for Sullivan Barrera at this point. The unanimous nod went to Barrera in the end with submitted scores of 96-93 and a pair at 97-92.

What we didn’t know at the time of Reiss’s visit to the corner of Smith was that the Long Islander had suffered a broken jaw early in the second round. In a press release issued on Monday by Smith’s promotional company, Star Boxing, he’s set to undergo surgery later this week in New York after spending some time in an emergency room in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

“Joe knocked down Barrera hard in the first round but in the second round he sustained a broken jaw,” said Joe DeGuardia, CEO and President of Star Boxing. “It’s a similar injury to the one he suffered five years ago and frankly it’s amazing that he continued to valiantly fight over the next eight rounds and finish the fight.”

The lone defeat on Smith’s boxing record prior to Saturday’s in Inglewood was actually almost seven years ago, when the same injury ended his bout with Eddie Caminero in Brooklyn.

Continued DeGuardia, “After spending part of Saturday night at the UCLA Medical Center, Joe will have surgery later this week in New York and we’ll know more then about a time frame for his full recovery. We congratulate Sullivan Barrera on his victory.”

A broken jaw is a horrible injury, of course so this writer wishes him the best for a clean bill of health.

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  1. Kid Blast 11:34am, 07/18/2017

    Joe lost to pitiful Eddie Caminero when he own broke his jaw way back. It was a fluke loss. Not so sure this one was a fluke. Barrera is a very fine boxer.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:10am, 07/18/2017

    Some fighters have serious issues with their hands and multiple fractures that prove to be a real handicap in this sport. Joe has a very serious issue with his jaw and multiple fractures which is probably a greater handicap.

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