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Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 12/17/16

Smith vs. Hopkins

Boxing: Saturday, December 17, 2016 (The Forum)

The Line: Hopkins -255 / Smith +215 --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: HBO

Bernard Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. fight Saturday night at The Forum on HBO.

Bernard Hopkins enters this fight with a 55-7-2 record that includes 32 knockouts. Hopkins has won six of his last 10 fights and is coming off a 2014 loss to Sergey Kovalev. Hopkins is fighting for the first time in over two years and has announced he will officially retire after this bout. Hopkins has really been hit or miss since climbing up there in age and entering this fight at 51 years old can’t exactly help matters. However, we all know Hopkins is a boxing legend who is very technically sound and has always been one of the more conditioned fighters throughout his career. With so much time off and this being his last fight, we should expect Hopkins to be in good shape and ready to put on a show one last time. Although it's important to note Hopkins didn’t look good in his last fight and has lost a lot of his punching power. This will be Hopkins’ fourth fight in California.

Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 12/17/16

USA TODAY Sports

Joe Smith Jr. enters this fight with a 22-1 record that includes 18 knockouts. Smith has won his last 16 fights and is coming off a June win over Andrzej Fonfara. Smith was already on a roll with his winning streak, but now he’s coming off a bout in which he won despite being a +1200 underdog. Smith produced the upset of the year in the light heavyweight division with a first round knockout and now has six knockouts in his last seven bouts. Smith is a clear knockout artist who mixes in impressive combinations and has a vicious right hand. The Irish Bomber can end everything rather quickly, as he showed in his last fight. Of course, the concern with Smith is that he only has a handful of quality opponents, so he could struggle against a boxer as smart as Hopkins. This will be Smith’s first fight in California.

I’m rather surprised with this line, as Hopkins didn’t look good in his last fight, hasn’t fought in more than two years and is fighting with somebody who is basically half his age. This line is rather disrespectful to Smith given the difference in age and power overall, as Hopkins appears to have dropped significantly in power shots over his last few fights. I know Hopkins is the sexy name, probably the smarter boxer between the two and is the feel good story as most want to see him go out on top. However, Smith is the better boxer right now and has a power game that could make this thing ugly at any moment.

The value is on Smith with the plus money and I’m simply not backing a 51-year-old to beat a guy in his prime.

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Joe Smith Jr.

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