Philadelphia fighter Jesse “Hollywood” Hart will go up against New York’s own Joe Smith Jr. in the main event on Saturday, January 11 at the Hard Rock Live in Etess Arena in Atlantic City live on Top Rank on ESPN.
Jesse Hart (26-2, 21 KOs) is the son of former middleweight contender Eugene Hart and whenever he enters the ring his fighter is right behind him as his trainer and motivator.
Hart twice challenged for the super middleweight title agaisnt Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and lost both fights on the cards. Despite the back to two championship setbacks the Philly native still dreams of becoming a world champion something his father wasn’t able to achieve when he boxed.
In his light heavyweight debut, Hart defeated top contender Sullivan Barrera by a unanimous decision and the win boosted his confidence.
Tonight Hart will take on a blue collar slugger who retired his boxing hero Bernard Hopkins. Hart said he is motivated to beat up Smith for defeating his mentor and wants to get some payback for Hopkins defeat.
Joe Smith Jr. (24-3, 20 KOs) made a name for himself when he upset Andrzej Fonfara stopping him in the first-round TKO and then sending ring legend Bernard Hopkins into retirement after knocking him through the ropes for a round 8 TKO.
After his big win over Hopkins, Smith’s surge was cut short when he lost a unanimous decision to Cuban contender Sullivan Barrera. He bounced back with a win and then lost to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in his first title bid.
Hart and Smith both want to become world champion and see each other as another obstacle to their goal.
This will be a good Philly versus New York boxing rivalry with two tough opponents proud of where they came from and bringing the same energy into the ring.
Top Rank on ESPN Fight Card
Light Heavyweight – Jesse Hart vs. Joe Smith Jr
Super Middleweight – Steven Nelson vs. Cem Kilic
Lightweight – Joseph Adorno vs. Hector Garcia
Super Middleweight – Chris Thomas vs. Samir Barbosa
Welterweight – Shinard Bunch vs. Dennis Okoth
Heavyweight – Sonny Conto vs. Curtis Head
Super Bantamweight – Jeremy Adorno vs. Fernando Ibarra
Welterweight – Xander Zayas vs. Corey Champion
Jesse Hart vs. Joe Smith on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN, and undercard bouts will live stream on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.