Dhafir Smith may be the best fighter with 20+ losses on his resume in boxing today. Taking fights on short notice and without a proper promotional/managerial entity behind him has cost Smith in the past but he hopes to have better luck when he faces Umberto Savigne this Friday, Nov. 30 on the undercard of Joan Guzman-Khabib Allakhverdiev. The WBA Fedelatin light heavyweight title will be on the line, which Savigne picked up in his last fight against Richard Hall. Anyone who has seen Hall-Savigne will tell you that it was entertaining, Smith included. But what Smith will also tell you is that he wasn't impressed by what he saw.
Dhafir believes he has the tools to take his Cuban opponent to school, just like he did Jeff Lacy 2 years earlier. Ironically Smith retired Lacy in the same state he's going to fight Savigne, Florida. After defecting from Cuba, Florida became Savigne's adopted backyard. But as the hometown advantage didn't help Lacy, there's no reason to assume it will do any better for a man that's never been outside of 6 rounds. Smith on the other hand has been past the 6th round 17 times in his career and 10 rounds or more 6 times. Savigne- Smith is scheduled for 10 rounds.
But perhaps Savigne is counting on a knockout as he's stopped 7 opponents in his 9 victories. It is however unlikely he could stop someone as defensively savvy and durable as Smith. In 55 fights Smith has only been stopped 4 times, only 2 of which have happened in the last 8 years. Those TKO defeats came to the likes of Adonis Stevenson and Andre Ward, arguably today's best puncher and overall fighter in boxing respectively. Since then Ward and Stevenson have both employed Smith as a sparring partner. As a matter of fact, Smith was Ward's chief sparring partner leading into the Carl Froch fight and is scheduled to return to the Ward camp for the Kelly Pavlik fight next year.
You see, some fighters are just better than their records indicate. Anyone that has fought Dhafir Smith will tell you that he fits the bill. But Smith is tired of not getting the decision he deserved. He's ready to break out and Umberto Savigne will be the next step, a step that leads toward reigning WBA world champion Beibut Shumenov. Smith wouldn't be the first guy to become world champion after a whole bunch of losses, either. Hell, Smith wouldn't even be the first Philadelphia fighter to do it. Freddie Pendleton had 17 losses when he won the IBF lightweight title. When I caught up with Smith at Shuler's gym last Friday we discussed all that among other topics:
So don't be surprised if Dhafir "No Fear" Smith, reigning Pennsylvania State light heavyweight champion, pulls off yet another upset in his 50+ fight career. Umberto Savigne is inexperienced as a pro and his record is impressive in win/loss ratio only. Savigne went life and death in his career best win against an old Richard Hall and was knocked out in 2 rounds by Harvey Jolly. Even if you didn't know the circumstances of Smith's defeats you'd still have to consider him a live dog is in this fight.