By Steve Kim
As junior middleweight Julian 'J-Roc' Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs) faces Ishe Smith (29-8, 12 KOs) on Saturday night from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas - it's clear that he is in enemy territory.
"Yes, and guess what?," asked his trainer, Stephen 'Breadman' Edwards.
"We trained for it. One thing you know about me, I'm a pretty transparent guy. This is 100 percent a road game. We're on a Mayweather Promotions card, we'll be walking out first and this is Ishe Smith's hometown. These aren't opinions - that's a fact."
For Williams the contest provides a chance to re-establish himself as a bona-fide contender after losing last year versus IBF titlist, Jermall Charlo. It's not necessarily the optimum situation for Williams but Edwards continued - "in boxing what you can't do is make yourself the victim and feel sorry for yourself and start thinking,' it's a set-up,' this that or the other. You've got to just fight.
"That's the biggest complaint about this era. People can say what they want about Julian but he's always asked for tough fights and he's taken them. But there's no doubt, this is a road game for us."
Williams, who suffered his first loss against Charlo last December got back in the winning column on June 30th by stopping Joshua Conley in seven rounds in Toledo, Ohio.
"I treat every fight like it's a must-win," said Williams. "I treated the Conley fight like that and I'll bring the same intensity on Saturday. I'm just a hungry fighter who's focused. I don't care about all the distractions and nonsense."
The fight will be televised by Bounce TV. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. and features Lionell Thompson clashing with unbeaten prospect Earl Newman in a 10-round light heavyweight bout plus unbeaten prospects Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Harmonito De La Torre going head-to-head in a 10-round featherweight fight.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.