Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) Philly boxers Jessie Hart and Anthony Caputo-Smith will get a chance of a lifetime when they both appear on the undercard of the mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hart (16-0, 13ko’s) will take on Mike Jimenez (17-0, 11ko’s) over 10 rounds for the vacant USBA super middleweight title
“My eyes got big and I was like, ‘For real?’ I originally had a fight on April 10 and Bob Arum said it was canceled,” the 25-year-old Hart would say when he originally got the news he would be fighting on the card.
Hart’s father is Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a 1970s middleweight contender, who once fought Marvin Hagler.
The younger Hart was a standout amateur, going 85-11 and winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and USA Nationals. He just missed out on a 2012 U.S. Olympic berth on a double-tiebreaker and is considered a hot rising prospect.
Caputo-Smith’s path is a vastly different, as he has been a club level fighter for several years now. There was talk that he would retire a year ago, but he has still taken fights — mostly losing lop-sided decisions.
The 30-year-old Smith (15-4, 10ko’s) has dropped four of six, and has been stopped in two of those loses.
However, a very good pay day and an opportunity for of a lifetime, could not be missed by Smith, who to his credit has taken fights on short notice.
“This is huge,” Smith said. “It’s a big fight before one of the biggest fights in history. “
The cruiserweight Smith will take on Las Vegas-based Chicagoan, Andrew Tabiti, who is a rising prospect and walks into the ring with a 9-0 mark with nine knockouts, over eight rounds.
There is a slight fighter’s chance for Smith because Tabiti has never fought an opponent with more than eight fights and has only faced five fighters with winning records.
As for a Mayweather-Pacquiao prediction by the humble Smith.
“I was pulling for Mayweather,” Smith said. “But Tabiti is trained by Mayweather’s father, so now I’m rooting for Pacquiao.”