Quick Prediction & Preview – Ishe Smith – Joel Julio

Lost amongst the considerable hype surrounding this Saturday’s Oscar De La Hoya “tune up” with Steve Forbes is a pretty intriguing match-up tonight.¬† Tonight ESPN’s Wednesday Night Fights card from Vancouver, B.C. will be headlined by Joel Julio doing battle against Ishe Smith at the junior¬†middleweight limit of 154 lbs.¬† Why You Should Care:¬† This is your classic crossroads battle between two fighters looking to legitimize their respective careers.¬† With Smith you have an accomplished amateur boxer who despite his boxing acumen has never been regarded as anything¬†more then just a participant in the inaugural “Contender” series.¬† In Julio you have a once highly touted prospect who infatuated the media and fans with his devastating KO power but has seen his stock fall faster then Countrywide’s since being thoroughly out boxed by Carlos Quintana on HBO back in 2006.¬† Since his only loss Julio has appeared on some smaller cards and been mostly regulated to off-TV by his promoter Main Events.¬† The winner of tonight’s fight goes a long way in restoring their image into the boxing conscious.¬† My Prediction:¬† Julio by 10 round unanimous decision in a closely contested ugly affair.¬† Smith has been the more active fighter having fought in February while Julio has not fought since the summer of 2007.¬† Julio hits like a mule but Smith is a slick boxer who know how to negate a lot of attacks.¬† It should also be noted that Smith has never been stopped.¬† Of course if you have seen Smith in with any real puncher you know he has a tendency to hold and generally grind the pace of the fight to a halt (see his bout with Sachew Powell).¬† I’m picking Julio because while his power gets him all the press clippings since his loss to Quintana his handlers seem to have made sure that Julio begins to box more.¬† In some of his recent outings Julio has employed more defensive nuances and head movement.¬† In the end I just think the judges will award Julio the verdict as he will be seen as the aggressor throughout the fight.¬† My Confidence:¬† About 69%.¬† I like Julio’s tools and power but Smith represents his biggest step up in competition since losing to Quintana.¬† Smith has the style to give Julio fits the same way that Quintana did with slick boxing and speed.¬† I’m just not sold on Smith and still believe that Julio is a special talent and not a Ricardo Torres clone. My Allegiance:¬†¬†Ishe Smith¬† Smith seems to be a good guy and I like how he interacts with fans on message boards and with his mailbag column on Boxingtalk.¬† I also like how he has announced that this fight will be in memory of Diego Corrales who happens to be my all time favorite fighter.¬† I’m aware that it is probably nothing more than lip service for press releases but it is a nice sentiment.¬† Julio seems to be equally as affable but has more of a shy demeanor.¬† Though I will say that he losses cool points for sporting both ears pierced in my book.¬† All I hope for is a decent scrap tonight.¬†

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.