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Since turning pro in 2009, Joe Smith Jr. has fought in relative anonymity.A union man and laborer by trade, Smith became a bit of an attraction on small club shows in New York and nearby Long Island, where he is from.Smith could punch a bit; he was fearless, and his local fans turned out to watch him. He had not lost since a fourth-round knockout in his seventh fight in 2010. But other than a 10-round decision victory in December 2015 against Will Rosinsky, who is not that big of a name either, Smiths resume was devoid of a recognizable opponent.But in June, Premier Boxing Champions came calling and made a deal with Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia for Smith to face Polish light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara on NBC in prime time in Fonfaras adopted hometown of Chicago.Fonfara, obviously, was the huge favorite. He had given light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson a life-and-death fight in 2014 in a decision loss but was coming off two significant wins in a row. In April 2015, Fonfara beat up Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and made him quit after the ninth round. Then he outpointed former titleholder Nathan Cleverly in a tremendous slugfest six months later.Smith, 27, was supposed to be nothing more than a showcase/pit stop on Fonfaras way to another title shot. But Smith destroyed Fonfara, knocking him out in the first round in a huge upset.Suddenly, Smith had arrived, and a few months later he was the hand-picked opponent to face the great Bernard Hopkins, the 51-year-old legend who needed a dance partner for what he says will be his final fight.Philadelphias Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) liked Smiths aggressiveness, the fact that he had a good record and that he was a young, hungry fighter -- but one the future Hall of Famer would be favored to defeat.And so they quickly made a deal -- a very easy one to do, both sides said -- and Hopkins will bow out -- win, lose or draw, he claims -- after their scheduled 12-round fight on Saturday (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at The Forum in Inglewood, California.Joe Smith, Jr., dares to be great. But this is something thats important to me, to end it my way and go up against not a cream puff, Hopkins said. I could have picked anybody to have went in there, and it would have been a joke, but Im not going to do that to my legacy. I have too much pride as a man, and thats why I chose the most dangerous opponent out there that really nobody wants to jump over and fight. I love the challenge, and Im taking the challenge head-on.The co-feature will pit 24-year-old featherweight up-and-comer Joseph JoJo Diaz (22-0, 13 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, against Horacio Violento Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KOs), 26, of Mexico, in a scheduled 10-rounder.In the opening bout, cruiserweight world titleholder Oleksandr Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs), 29, the 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist for Ukraine, will make his first defense and his American debut against Thabiso The Rock Mchunu (17-2, 11 KOs), 28, of South Africa.The low-key Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), who born in 1989 -- the year after Hopkins turned professional -- is well aware that this fight represents the opportunity of a lifetime.If he wins, its even more career-making than the victory over Fonfara. If he loses, well, he lost to one of the best fighters of all time and will have raised his profile and have made a nice payday in the process. It really is a no-lose situation.Its a privilege to be on this card, Smith said. To take on a legend like Bernard is an opportunity I would have never expected. That said, come fight night, that wont matter because itll just be me and him in the ring. My team and I have been training to take on any of the styles Bernard may bring. Im excited for the night to come, and Im ready to put on a great show.DeGuardia, Smiths longtime promoter, has been nothing but respectful to Hopkins, but said he believes Smith can pull off another upset. He praised Smiths determination and his working-class spirit.I am proud to be associated with this fight. DeGuardia said. Joe Smith Jr. is symbolic of the American spirit. He gets up every morning working that sledgehammer, working with the union. Hes a proud member of the laborers union, Local 66, and hes going to bring over that hard work and dedication into the ring, and I think everybody is going to see a great night of boxing. After Joe Smith Jr. wins this fight, many doors will open, but he has to get through Bernard Hopkins first. Once he does that, every door in the world is his.I know were going to be seeing the final night for Bernard, and its going to be something really fitting, that a legend like Bernard is going to be taking on a young, hungry lion like Joe Smith, Jr. I think Bernard certainly deserves a lot of credit for taking on Joe Smith, and hes really going to be in for I think maybe a little bit of a surprise, the same way Fonfara was when Joe upset him and knocked him out this past June in the first round.Smith said that while he is grateful for the opportunity, he will not be in awe of Hopkins come fight night, nor will he get caught up in the hoopla surrounding his farewell.I just look at the person in front of me and just know that I need to do everything I can to beat that person, whether its a legend or a nobody, Smith said. Theyre there to hurt me and take everything I worked for. Thats how I look at every fight. It doesnt matter who he is.Air Jordan Shoes From China . The winner Saturday will remain in the elite 10-team field next year. "We talked about wanting to be disciplined and stick with our game plan and good things will come," Draisaitl said, who had two goals for the victors. Cheap Air Jordan Authentic . Meanwhile, there were huge victories for Sunderland and West Ham over fellow relegation rivals, leaving the battle to avoid the drop up for grabs with the bottom 11 teams separated by just six points. Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored second-half goals to seal a fourth straight victory for Chelsea, which climbed above Arsenal and Manchester City in the standings ahead of their games on Monday and Sunday respectively. . Roman Josi had a goal and an assist to lead the Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night. Wholesale Nike Air Jordan . On Saturday night, the normally free throw-challenged centre did just that. Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2 1/2-minute stretch, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 122-111. Wholesale Air Jordan Free Shipping .05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal. The designation was released Monday after the deadline passed for NFL teams to use franchise or transition tags on players becoming free agents.Much like the actual ladder, ESPNs AFL Power Rankings for this week has Adelaide and Sydney finishing in the top two spots to claim home qualifying finals. Unlike the ladder, however, its the Crows who top our form table.While the Swans got the job done against North Melbourne in Tasmania, it was a less-than-convincing win against a struggling side, and the Crows were impressive in a finals-like atmosphere during the Showdown against Port.Hawthorn look likely to scrape into fourth spot on the ladder, but their recent form has left a lot to be desired - as reflected in the Power Rankings. If their patchy late-season results continue this week against Collingwood, they could drop as low as seventh on the ladder and relinquish the double chance.As for the Kangaroos, they remain 10th in the Power Rankings after a third-straight loss; North fans may only be buoyed by the fact thheir spot in September is secure after Melbourne capitulated against Carlton.dddddddddddd. ?Unfortunately for both the Dees and the Saints, they remain above the Kangaroos on the ESPN table but are certain to miss finals despite being in much better late-season form.LegendForm: The higher the number, the better a teams recent form.Draw: The higher the number, the easier a teams upcoming draw.Fitness: Determined by the number and quality of fit players available. A list in good shape is ranked around a 7; a list missing three or four best-22 players might be considered a 3 or 4.X-Factor: The number and quality of genuine match-winning players.Attack: Potency of the teams offence.Defence: Ability of the team to prevent the opposition from scoring. ' ' '

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