Joe Smith Jr. The Union Laborers Champ!
The NY Post reports that Boxing title contender still has his day job pouring concrete
Joe Smith Jr. found boxing in a very familiar manner. As a 13-year-old growing up in Shirley on the South Shore of Long Island, Smith was the oldest of seven brothers and one sister, and wasn’t afraid of a good scrap with anyone inside or outside of his family.
So when his mother sent him to live with his father, the first thing Joe Smith Sr. did was take his teenage son to a boxing gym.
“He saw I was getting in fights in school and outside of school, so he brought me to the gym,” Smith Jr. told the Post. “He said, ‘If you want to fight, you can fight here.’ I ended up doing pretty good against a guy who had been in the gym for a few years. I’ve stuck with it since.”
Smith is 27 now and faces the biggest fight of his career on Dec. 17 when he steps in against Philadelphia native Bernard Hopkins. HBO will televise from the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., in what is expected to be the final fight of the 51-year-old Hopkins’ legendary career.
Smith views it as the launching pad for his career. A victory would position him for a chance at a light heavyweight title and lucrative purses in future bouts.
“Each fight I win brings more opportunities,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what I get out of this one. I want to get a title shot as soon as possible. That’s the main goal. Get the title shot and make some money.”
Making money is important. Smith has spent the past eight years as a Union 66 Laborer when he’s not training for a fight. It’s a job he was glad to have after the birth of his daughter Leanna, now 8.
“It’s labor work,” Smith said. “Patching concrete, pouring concrete, smashing down walls with sledgehammers, digging up dirt, all kinds of jobs all over the Island from here to the city. It’s tough work. But there are good people there who try to help you out.”
Many of his fellow union members from Long Island to California will be in Inglewood supporting Smith (22-1, 18 KOs) when “The Irish Bomber” takes on Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), who is fighting for the first time since losing to Sergey Kovalev in November 2014.