Jason Sosa vs. Stephen Smith: Don’t blink on Saturday

By Boxing News - 11/11/2016 - Comments

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By Scott Gilfoid: Stephen Smith (24-2, 14 Kos) is getting a crack at WBA World super featherweight champion Jason Sosa (19-1-4, 15 KOs) this Saturday night in Monte Carlo. This could be the end for the 31-year-old Smith as a viable contender if he gets smashed by the hard hitting Sosa.

It’s just a very, very bad match-up for Smith, as he’s facing one of the most relentless punchers in the 130lb division on Saturday night, and it does not look good for him. If you saw how the light hitting Lee Selby was able to trounce Smith in 2011 in stopping him in the 11th round, you know that Smith is going to be really up against it when he gets inside the ring with Sosa. Let’s be honest here.

Selby would be in a world of hurt if he were the one fighting Sosa instead of instead of Smith. Of course, Selby isn’t fighting at super featherweight, which is a good thing for him, because he would need to compete with the likes of Sosa, Francisco Vargas, Orlando Salido, Jose Pedraza, and Vasyl Lomachenko.

There are no easy marks for Selby like there was when he captured the IBF featherweight title in beating Evegeny Gradovich. Smith is going to be worse off than Selby though, because his entire game is built around slugging. If you were to create an opponent that was perfect for Sosa to bounce around the ring like a basketball, it would be Stephen Smith. I don’t care what kind of game plan Smith and his trainer Joe Gallagher have for this fight.

You can’t change what your basic instincts are. Smith is a slugger and will always be a slugger. Even if he tries to run from Sosa, he’s not going to be able to do it. Sosa is perfect at cutting off the ring against runners. Look what he did to Javier Fortuna in his last June in stopping him in the 11th.

“First time round, things were maybe a bit new,” Smith said to skysports.com. “I know more about what I’m going into this time and they are both very different styles, both been different preparations. But I do believe this style will suit me more and will play into my hands. If I land, I’ll hurt him, and I’m very confident of that. I just know I’ve got to go out there and box, use me brain, use me skills.”

I don’t know what Smith can learn from his loss to Jose Pedraza in his last April. It seemed to me that Smith couldn’t handle the hard jabs from Pedraza. Smith fell to pieces after getting dropped in the 9th round by Pedraza. There’s nothing you can really learn from that fight other than Smith being exposed by a boxer/puncher.

In Smith’s last fight, he defeated a soft job in Daniel Eduardo Brizuela last May by a 7th round knockout. It wasn’t big news that Smith was able to destroy a limited fighter like Brizuela, because he didn’t have the boxing talent or the pedigree to compete with him. Now if Smith had taken on and beaten a talented fighter like Orlando Salido or Lomachenko, then you could say that Smith learned something from his loss to Pedraza.

I think this is the wrong type of opponent for Smith to succeed against. He would have stood a better chance if he were facing Fortuna, because that was a flawed guy that was always going to have problems when he faced a good puncher. The problem that Smith has is he’s facing the perfect slugger in Sosa, and he doesn’t have the foot speed, boxing skills or the youth to beat him.

Worst of all, Smith isn’t fighting at home in the UK, so there’s little chance of a controversial decision. Yeah, Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport is running the promotion on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean anything. Smith is going to need to go out there and show that he can beat Sosa by slugging it out, because he’s not going to last long if he tries to run. He’ll just get tired, and get caught by Sosa.

What Gilfoid doesn’t understand is why in the heck is Smith getting another world title shot so quickly after his loss to Pedraza. That seems a tad bit unfair my opinion. Isn’t there other contenders that are more deserving of a title shot than Smith? What happened to going to the back of the line after you get whipped? If this were the Super Bowl in the NFL, Smith would be going straight back into the game after beating a 1-15 team. That just seems very, very weird to me, because I do not see how Smith has earned a second title shot. Do you? Yeah, it’s nice that Smith supposedly learned his lesson from his loss to Pedraza, but it sure would be nice to see him proving that he learned a lesson by him first beating a talented contender in order to earn a second title shot. I’m just saying. Is it too much to ask Smith to prove himself by fighting and beating the likes of #1 WBA Nicholas Walters, Orlando Salido, Rocky Martinez or Takashi Uchiyama?