By Keith Idec
Joe Smith’s message after he and Bernard Hopkins weighed in at 174 pounds apiece Friday was simple.
“I’m just gonna show that I am common,” said Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), who works as a laborer on Long Island when he’s not training for fights. “But I’m gonna put on a great show, and this common man’s gonna beat his ass.”
Philadelphia’s Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC), a former undisputed middleweight and light heavyweight champion, promised the same thing a day before their 12-round light-heavyweight main event at The Forum in Inglewood, California (HBO). Hopkins, 51, also has promised that this farewell fight will be the last of a 28-year pro career that began in October 1988 and eventually will secure his place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“I’m gonna be able to give a guy, Joe Smith, his final ass whuppin’,” Hopkins said, playing on the promotional moniker for their fight, “The Final One.”
Before Hopkins and Smith weighed in, undefeated featherweight contender Joseph Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KOs), of Downey, California, weighed in at the limit of 126 pounds for his 10-round featherweight fight against Mexico’s Horacio Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KOs). Garcia weighed in at 125.8 pounds.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs) weighed 199.6 pounds for the third fight HBO will televise Saturday night, a 12-round defense of Usyk’s WBO world cruiserweight title. Usyk’s opponent, South Africa’s Thabiso Mchunu (17-2, 11 KOs), weighed 198.6 pounds.
HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.