The State of the Game 2005
Terry Smith's first venture into a feature bout on television left him with a dissatisfied taste in his mouth. Taking a fight on short notice against unbeaten Calvin Brock on NBC, Smith had Brock in trouble early, but could not finish the job and allowed Brock to take an unanimous decision. Tonight on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, Smith gets another opportunity to prove that he is a rising prospect in the heavyweight division as he takes on Fernely Feliz.
For Smith, the road has been long and the defeat to Brock could have made people a little skeptical of his skills in the ring, however Smith is quite skilled when it comes to boxing. He did not have the greatest amateur career, but he did compete and gained experience.
As a professional, Smith has labored on off television bouts for the majority of his career, taking on several opponents that he did not have any idea about. He says the same thing about Feliz.
"I am not real sure who Feliz is," states Smith.
Smith, who has been preparing for this fight in Miami, does know who Feliz is and remembered so after being informed that Feliz was also a sparring partner for James Toney, just as Smith was for a time.
"Now I know who he is. Yeah, James used to beat that guy all around the ring. I am ready for the fight and I cannot wait. It is an opportunity that I have to take advantage of."
Against Brock, Smith also wanted take advantage of his first national performance, but was unable to get the result he wanted.
"You know against Brock, I took that fight on short notice. I was able to hurt him early in the fight, but instead of throwing straight punches, I started looping my shots and tired myself out. I have asked several times for a rematch, but they keep refusing. All I want is the exact same time to prepare as he has. That is all I ask."
A few fights ago it was Brock that shined on ESPN, knocking out Clifford Etienne, but most still see Brock as a work in progress. Tonight it will be Smith's turn to show the world that it is his name that should be at the top of the prospect list.
"I feel good and I know that this will be my time to show that the Brock fight was not the real Terry Smith. I can do much better than that performance."
Brock also knows that Terry is a talented fighter and even eluded to it before they fought saying that he had to be careful of Smith, and that he knows that in boxing it could be Smith that comes back to win a world title first. Smith's fight on ESPN can lead to better things, just as it is doing for Brock who now how has a fight lined up with Jameel McCline, a fighter that Smith himself would like to fight.
At the time of the McCline-Toney fight, Smith was at Wild Card sparring with Toney as he prepared for McCline, and when Toney went down with an injury, Smith's name was mentioned as a possible replacement but nothing every came to light. Smith went back home to Arkansas and waited for a call. He had a fight scheduled in Little Rock, and shortly after was put into another bout. At the same time, Brock was preparing to face Serguei Laykovich and Smith was on his way to spar with Serguei with one intention. He wanted to knock Laykovich out to prove he was the one that should have been in the Brock fight. Before he could get there though, Laykovich pulled out with an injury and Duncan Dokiwari was said to be the replacement. Smith went on to face his next opponent, and when Dokiwari turned the fight down, Smith was put in on short notice.
This time around, there is not a short notice. Smith has been training and training hard to not let this opportunity pass him buy. His opponent has been set for a while, which is also a new concept to Smith who says some times the guy standing across the ring from him is a stranger. At the end of the night, Smith hopes to deliver a fight for the fans. A fight that will place him in the heavyweight mix, and a fight that the fans will say "Hey, Jermain Taylor is not the only quality fighter from Little Rock, Arkansas."
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