Thursday, 13 July 2017 18:19

Smith vs Barrera odds: Risky business for young stud?

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When light heavyweight contenders Joe Smith Jr (23-1, 19 KO) and Sullivan Barrera (19-1, 14) do battle Saturday, the A-side fighter with all the momentum will be the underdog.

Yes, Barrera will be the favorite.

The bout will serve as Smith's first since his impressive knockout win over aging fight legend Bernard Hopkins December 17 on HBO. Of course, prior to the Hopkins fight, Smith KO'd sturdy contender Andrzej Fonfara in the first round.

The 27 year old Smith is red hot but oddmakers tell us 'not for long.'

Smith vs Barrera odds

Joe Smith, Jr +250
Sullivan Barrera -300

Joe Smith, Jr +180
Sullivan Barrera -230

Joe Smith, Jr +257
Sullivan Barrera -293

Per Bodog, a successful $100 wager on Smith would generate $180 while a $230 bet on Barrera would yield a $100 return.

Smith must be wondering what he must do to get a little respect.

... Or maybe Barrera is that good?

Keep in mind, prior to facing Andre Ward in March 2016, some insiders feared Barrera could derail Ward's upcoming bout with Sergey Kovalev. In fact, Egis Klimas, manager of former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, warned fans and the media his fighter could be facing Barrera instead of Andre Ward.

"Let Ward first beat Barrera [before we start talking about Kovalev-Ward], Klimas told ESNews.

"This is a very difficult fight. It may happen that Kovalev would eventually fight with Barrera, and not with Ward."

Ward, of course, would go on to win a unanimous decision, 117-108, 117-109, and 118-109 but Sullivan was, by no means, embarrassed.

Hailing from Cuba, the 35-year-old Barrera is not light on polish and has amateur victories over future professional world champions Mariano Natalio Carrera, Chad Dawson and Beibut Shumenov.

Is Team Smith biting off more than it can chew?

The case against Smith vs Barrera
Joe is riding high... Why risk short-circuiting his momentum by putting him in a low reward/high-risk position? And that's what appears to be the case here.

The case for Smith vs Barrera
That stated, it would have been unwise to put him in the ring with an opponent like Adonis Stevenson, Artur Beterbiev or Jean Pascal at this moment; especially given there's not a lot of public demand for those bouts.

Barrera is the next level down and a win over the dangerous Cuban would certainly place Smith among the light heavyweight elites.

It should be a fine fight that will answer some questions about both quality contenders.

Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.