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July 08, 2013

By Doveed Linder

In this interview, Philadelphia light heavyweight Dhafir ďNo FearĒ Smith (26-24-7, 4 KOs) discusses his experiences in training camps with Andre Ward, Adonis Stevenson, Gennady Golovkin, and Sakio Bika, his 2010 win over Jeff Lacy, what its like to have his pro record, and more.

Doveed Linder: Most recently, you worked as Sakio Bikaís sparring partner in preparations for his fight against Marco Antonio Periban for the vacant WBC super middleweight title, a fight that Bika won via majority decision. What was your assessment of Bikaís performance?

Dhafir Smith: I thought he performed really well. [Trainer] Kevin Cunningham is changing his style up, making him more of a boxer/puncher instead of a wild banger. He was doing that a little bit in the last fight, but he had to really push it because it was a close fight. This was my first time working with Bika. Heís a very strong fighter and he throws a lot of body shots. But I knew going in that I would be able to handle it because Iíve been in a lot of major camps.

DL: Youíve been in camp with Andre Ward [the true world super middleweight champion], who you also fought at one point [Ward won by TKO6 in 2007]. In your eyes, what makes Ward so effective in the ring?

DS: What makes him effective is he has a great trainer in Virgil Hunter. Heís one of them old school trainers that teaches the basic stuff over and over. He gets it in your head. And Andre Ward is just gifted. Heís a smart fighter. He knows what to do in that ring. Heís just like another [Floyd] Mayweather. He knows how to adjust to all styles and I donít see anyone beating him at 168 or 175.

DL: When youíre in camp with fighters who you have previously fought, as was the case with Andre Ward and also Adonis Stevenson [Smith lost to Stevenson in 2008], is it ever awkward to work with them and help them prepare for fights?

DS: No, not really. They must have known they were in a good fight with me if theyíre gonna call me and have me in their training camp to get them ready. Itís nothing personal. They pay good money, so why not go out there?

DL: Were you surprised that Adonis Stevenson knocked out Chad Dawson in the first round?

DS: Yeah, I was real surprised. Stevenson has problems with boxers and I thought he would knock Chad Dawson out late. I didnít think it would happen in the first round. Chad Dawson is done. Heís a shot fighter.

DL: Adonis Stevenson is regarded as one of the biggest punchers in boxing, as is Gennady Golovkin who you have also been in camp with. Who is the biggest puncher youíve been in the ring with?

DS: Gennady Golovkin.

DL: How does Golovkin do against [world middleweight champion] Sergio Martinez and Peter Quillin?

DS: He knocks both of them out.

DL: It seems that Ward and Golovkin could be on a collision course. Who wins that fight?

DS: I really canít say. When I was in camp with Golovkin, a reporter asked me what would happen if they ever fought. I said I didnít know. I would just want to watch the fight. I love watching two great fighters fight each other.

DL: Whatís your take on Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez?

DS: I think Mayweather is gonna outclass him. I donít think Canelo is ready.

DL: Is it fair to say that your unanimous decision win over Jeff Lacy in 2010 is the highlight of your career thus far?

DS: Yeah, thatís very fair. Everybody respected me before that. But after I beat him, I got even more respect. Nobody thought I was gonna beat him. Even some people from my gym didnít think I was gonna win. But I proved everybody wrong. Iím an underdog in all of my fights and I like being the underdog. For that fight, I won the Bennie Briscoe Award in Philadelphia. I got ďUpset of the YearĒ. That award is to honor the name of Bennie Briscoe. He was a hell of a Philly fighter.

DL: Whatís next for you?

DS: Iím gonna go into training camp with Sergey Kovalev who is about to fight Nathan Cleverly [for the WBO light heavyweight title]. And then Iíll be fighting probably on September 13th. I donít know who Iíll be fighting, but it will be for a belt. I want to fight the guys in the top 15 to top 30. I donít want to fight these up-and-comers who want to say they beat the guy who beat Jeff Lacy. They want to make a name off me and the [judges] end up robbing me. I feel like half my losses are wins. I feel like all of my draws are wins. I should have over 30 wins, but Iím not upset about it. I love my record. Everybody knows who Dhafir Smith is all over the world. And Iím going to start upsetting people again as soon as I get a shot.

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