Organized Labor's Cinderella Man
On Saturday, December 17, Joe "The Beast" Smith Jr. fought former multi-class champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins in Hopkins final fight. After eight rounds, Smith, a Laborers Local 66 member, knocked Hopkins out, retaining his WBC International Light Heavyweight title.
Smith has recently come into the spotlight after his shocking first round knockout of Andrzej Fonfara, Smith's first nationally televised fight, which gave Smith the title. After the fight, UCOMM Blog interviewed Smith as he returned to a hero's welcome at the Laborers Local 66. In boxing there are four different governing bodies that regulate title fights. Since none of the other champs want to fight Smith in a unification bout, nor does the WBC World Light Heavyweight champ, he got the opportunity to fight Hopkins who announced that at 51 this would be his last fight. Hopkins is one of the most decorated boxers in United States history having defended multiple titles 20 times at multiple weight classes. Going into the fight, Smith was considered a slight underdog due to his lack of big fight experience. In the pre-fight press conference, Hopkins belittled Smith saying that while he was special, Smith was just common, something that Smith takes pride in, and another bump in the road for him.