Exactly one week after accepting the most difficult fight of his nine-year pro career, Steve Geffrard easily made weight late Friday afternoon in Verona, New York.
Geffrard came in 1½ pounds below the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds for his shot at Joe Smith Jr.’s WBO belt on Saturday night. Smith, who will make the first defense of his title, officially weighed 174½ pounds, exactly one pound more than Geffrard (173½).
The 31-year-old Geffrard, of Boca Raton, Florida, replaced heavy-handed Brit Callum Johnson as Smith’s opponent on eight days’ notice. Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) withdrew from his fight with Smith last week because tested positive for COVID-19.
Smith (27-3, 21 KOs), of Mastic, New York, is listed by numerous online sportsbooks as a 12-1 favorite to defeat Geffrard in a 12-round main event ESPN will televise from Turning Stone Resort Casino. Geffrard (18-2, 12 KOs) has won 18 straight fights since he began his career at 0-2 in 2013, but he’ll take a steep step up in class when he challenges Smith.
The 32-year-old Smith won the then-vacant WBO light heavyweight title by out-pointing Russia’s Maxim Vlasov in his last fight, which took place April 10 at Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Smith, who edged Vlasov (46-4, 26 KOs) by majority decision, was supposed to make his first title defense versus another Russian, Umar Salamov, but Johnson replaced Salamov (26-2, 19 KOs) as Smith’s opponent in mid-November because visa issues prevented Salamov from traveling to the United States.
The weights for the five Smith-Geffrard undercard bouts are listed below.
ESPN (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT)
Abraham Nova (20-0, 14 KOs), Albany, New York, 126¾ pounds vs. William Encarnacion (19-1, 15 KOs), San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, 127 pounds, 10 rounds, junior lightweights.
ESPN+ (7:45 p.m. ET; 4:45 p.m. PT)
Omar Rosario (5-0, 2 KOs), Caguas, Puerto Rico, 139¼ pounds vs. Raekwon Butler (4-1, 2 KOs), Brooklyn, 138¼ pounds, 6 rounds, junior welterweights.
Jahi Tucker (5-0, 3 KOs), Deer Park, New York, 146¾ pounds vs. Akeem Black (6-4, 2 KOs), Chicago, 145¾ pounds, 6 rounds, welterweights.
Troy Isley (3-0, 2 KOs), Alexandria, Virginia, 156¼ pounds vs. Harry Keenan Cruz Cubano (6-2, 2 KOs), Jacksonville, Florida, 156¼ pounds, 6 rounds, middleweights.
Lyubomyr Pinchuk (13-2-1, 8 KOs), Lviv, Ukraine, 194½ pounds vs. Jose Mario Flores (8-2-2, 4 KOs), Woodbridge, Virginia, 197½ pounds, 8 rounds, cruiserweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.